POP MUSIC HAS ALWAYS HAD ITS sound factories, but this is a little extreme. Down in rural Winder, Ga., some 40 miles northeast of Atlanta, mechanic Jack Logan, with assists from coworker Kelly Keneipp and other friends, has been mass-producing songs with a nuts-and-bolts efficiency any Tin Pan Alley cat would envy. Ditties such as “Aloha-ha” and “Female Jesus,” cuts released just as they were recorded in Logan’s kitchen and other home studio settings, have caught the ears of college radio listeners and lo-fi rock fans. Last year’s debut 42-track double CD, Bulk, scored a surprising four-star review in Rolling Stone and a rare, page-one rave from Billboard, and landed Logan and Keneipp an invite to appear last week on Late Night with Oman O’Brien.
“Kelly goes into the kitchen and comes up with the verse-chorus structure; then I write the lyrics on the spot,” says Logan, 35 and the vocalist, explaining how he and guitarist Keneipp, also 35, collaborate. “We do six or seven songs in a couple of hours.”
It’s no wonder the pair are so workmanlike: By day, Logan repairs swimming pool pumps for $8 an hour at the Doraville Electric Motor Service in Atlanta, and Keneipp refurbishes refrigeration units. Off-hours they retreat to Logan’s place, where, with the help of assorted musician friends, they have taped over 600 songs in the past eight years. “This is just something we do on weekends,” says Logan, “the way other people play golf.”
High school pals from rural Law-renceville, Ill., and inspired by punk rock’s do-it-yourself ethos, Logan and Keneipp made music together during college (Logan attended Illinois State; Keneipp, the University of Illinois). After moving to Georgia in 1985, they began making home tapes and performing locally. Among their fans are R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck and Soul Asylum producer Peter Jesperson, who chose the tracks that appear on Bulk and calls Logan “one of the best songwriters I’ve heard.”
There’s more to come. Since Bulk’s release, the team has written 100 new songs. “We’re going to keep doing it just like we always have,” says Logan. “Record it, listen to it—which is the kick—and add it to the shelf with the rest of our stuff.”