Josh Logan isn’t a classically trained musician. For that matter, he openly admits that he’d probably struggle to be even a suitable guitarist for any band where he wasn’t writing the music. But there’s one place where the former frontman of The Blind Pets and current Chief White Lightning ringleader really stands above the rest of the Long Beach music scene: hummus merchandising.
As Logan puts it, he was “the bean dip man” and could sell people hummus-based products they didn’t know they needed. But one odd job wasn’t enough to keep his music career afloat before moving to the South Bay from Austin early last year, so he also built signs for disc golf courses, booked and handled the soundboard at a venue, directed music videos, ran a screenprinting business, and sold enough weed to buy the silver van that currently serves as Chief White Lightning’s distribution headquarters and primary method of transportation.
Now that he’s become one of Long Beach’s most charismatic figures, Logan has put a halt on his cannabis-dealing ways to focus on his music — which may be the only thing keeping him on the right side of the law.
“I always thought if I didn’t find music, I would be in prison or something,” Logan says. “I’d be robbing banks, because I’m fascinated with that for whatever reason. It’s just cool because it’s like getting over on the system, the insurance takes care of them, nobody dies, and it’s all good. My grandfather was in the Chicago mafia, and my great-grandfather was a Tennessee moonshiner, so I have crime in my family.”
Months before he’d be ready to give up his unlawful business but just after being laid off from slinging hummus, Logan found himself growing bored with his hometown when SXSW rolled around in 2016. While working in a tent as a screenprinter for a guacamole company in Austin, the talkative musician struck up a conversation with one of Long Beach’s strongest developmental forces, Michelle Molina. At the time, the struggling musician wasn’t sure to believe Molina’s promise of a concert slot in Long Beach, but the Millworks matriarch not only made good on her word in the coming months but also ended up helping to facilitate Logan’s relocation.
“[Molina] added us to a show at Alex’s Bar and paid us out of her own fucking pocket — which is huge if you’re a musician on tour,” Logan says. “If you could find one person in 15 cities who would do that, your band would be successful. Not only did she do that, but she bought a bunch of merch too. Then she flew me in a couple of times to see how we’d work together, and then right at the same time as I signed to a label in LA, she gave me a job. It was serendipitous. The universe was pulling me here.”
Now firmly settled in his Long Beach surroundings, Chief White Lightning can focus on his self-titled debut record (out now on El Camino Media). With tracks ranging from a tribute to Logan’s Snoop Dogg-loving single mother to “a sad bastard’s love song” about wanting to rescue a beautiful gas station clerk from her mundane reality — only to realize she’s quit her job when he next returns to the convenience store — the songwriter continues to push toward his goal of using his tunes to take some of the sting out of mundane life.
“Art takes these idle thoughts that you have that are constantly rolling through your head and shows you some translation of that feeling,” Logan says. “Listening to music keeps the demons out — or in, wherever you want them. That’s my whole goal with music in general. I want to take that person whose working a shitty job in Whereverville and make their lives cool for 3 minutes and 25 seconds.”
Chief White Lightning performs with Devil Season, The Entire Universe and BoyToy at the Wayfarer, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, www.wayfarercm.com, (949) 764-0039, Friday, July 6, 8 p.m. $5, 21+.
To order a copy of his new self-titled album, click here.
Josh Chesler used to play baseball for some pretty cool teams, but now he just writes about awesome stuff like tattoos, music, MMA and sneakers. He enjoys injuring himself by skateboarding, training for fights, and playing musical instruments in his off time.