DJ Logic has become the Wayne Gretzky of the jazz and jam band scenes. He is one of those gifted musicians that has the incredible ability to make all the musicians around him a better player. And Gretzky is famous for the exact same thing – turning the average hockey players around him into great players.
Not only could Gretzky score a gazillion goals by himself but he also was the consummate playmaker. He set up his teammates so they scored a gazillion goals too. Logic both takes the lead and sets up his bandmates. He’ll scratch a sick solo on his turntable or set a psychedelic mood with his trippy sound effects. But when he wants his band mates to shine, he lays down a thick groove for them to work off of and do their own thing.
Recently, he has become the sun at the center of the jamband solar system at the dawn of the new millennium. Jambands have become planets orbiting around and being drawn towards Logic. He certainly has taken the jamband scene by storm as the list of bands he has already played with or has upcoming gigs with is a who’s who of the scene. Deep Banana Blackout, moe., String Cheese Incident, MMW, Karl Denson, Illuminati, Disco Biscuits, Marc Ribot, Joshua Redman, John Scofield, and Oteil Burbridge. His show with the 17 piece jazz big band Illuminati had him dreaming, “One day I will have my own orchestra – Orchestra Logic.”
Most people became aware of DJ Logic through his work with MMW. But Logic has actually been a part of rock and roll since 1989. In that year he joined Eye and I, a band that was part of Vernon Reid’s brotherhood of black bands, the Black Rock Coalition. The alternative rock band was signed to Sony 550 records and Melvin Gibbs, future bassist of Project Logic was also a member. The band went on tour opening for such bands as Living Color, Ice T’s Bodycount and the Psychedelic Furs.
“This was all going down just as I turned 18,” Logic said about this early experience. “Instead of going to music school, I had all these great musicians like Vernon Reid and Melvin Gibbs teaching me by ear, really helping me to see my turntables as an instrument in itself. It took me to a whole new level.”
Within the next two years both Eye and I and Living Color broke up. Vernon Reid invited Logic to join him in My Science Project and several other bands. Bassist Melvin Gibbs went on to join the Rollins Band. One night while Logic was with Vernon Reid, Billy Martin was in the audience and invited Logic to open for MMW at their Shack Parties at the Knitting Factory in New York City. Logic eventually became the unofficial fourth member of MMW.
DJ Logic is now the leader of Project Logic, his own band featuring Melvin Gibbs (bass), Skoota Warner (drums) and Casey Benjamin (saxophones). Their self titled debut album has just been released on Ropeadope Records. Luckily, I had the opportunity to do a phone interview with Logic just as his schedule was about to become extremely busy. Project Logic just finished up a month long residency at Wetlands. And the band is about to begin a national tour. Project Logic’s futuristic sound of psychedelic funky grooves is about to leave the Big Apple and spread across the rest of the USA.
AJ: So, how does it feel to be the most in demand musician in the scene right now?
Logic: It’s been great. I’ve been real busy and I’m just enjoyin’ the ride.
AJ: I feel that you really bring out the best in the other musicians. Why do you have such a great effect on other musicians?
Logic: It’s mutual. They bring out the best in me as well. I also think that I give a lot of freedom in the groove. I let everybody do their thing and egos are usually not involved. I guess my laid back approach to life carries over to my music and folks just catch on.
AJ: What is the effect of so many different musicians coming in and out of the band? What are you learning from all the bands you sit in with or all the musicians sitting in with Project Logic?
Logic: The effect is that I feel blessed to learn from all these cats. And I get the best of all worlds by sitting in with other bands. It’s like learning from all the great masters. Everybody has a lasting effect on me…for better or worse.
AJ: Are you making a specific effort to play with as many jambands as possible?
Logic: Nah, I don’t even know what a jamband is. People call my manager and ask if I want to play. And if I’m around I just say yes because I love to play. It’s like when I used to play basketball. I don’t care who I’m playing with, I just love to be on the court.