Logan Whitehurst and the Junior Science Club, “Goodbye, My 4-Track” is an Album I Want To Be Buried With

I can totally understand if you’ve never heard of Logan Whitehurst and the Junior Science Club. That’s fine. I can also understand if you’re not into the music that is often played on the Dr. Demento Show. That’s okay, too.

But you definitely need to take a listen to this LP. And you also need to know some of the background behind it.

Logan Whitehurst was the drummer for the indie rock bands Little Tin Frog and The Velvet Teen. On the side, he wrote songs for a solo project called Logan Whitehurst and the Junior Science Club. And in 2003, with help from his bandmates in Little Tin Frog, The Velvet Teen, and members of Death Cab for Cutie, Whitehurst released his solo debut CD, “Goodbye, My 4-Track” on Pandacide Records. It was his sixth solo CD, but it was the first to gain national attention through many of its songs receiving airplay on the Dr. Demento Show.

The songs showed an amazing amount of satire and energy, humor and musicianship, and Logan Whitehurst’s career took off.

Unfortunately, at the same time as “Goodbye, My 4-Track” was released, Whitehurst was battling dizziness, headaches and fatigue.  A visit to the doctor revealed the worst.

He had a brain tumor.

Undaunted, Whitehurst finished the album, and it became an indie rock classic.  If you like songs from They Might Be Giants, Flight of the Conchords or The Four Postmen, you will adore songs like “Do The Confusion.”

Whitehurst incorporated his mascot, Vanilla the Plastic Snowman, into a song that honored the moments of joy and innocence of a winter day.  That’s the basis behind his song “Me and the Snowman,” and it also received plenty of play on the Dr. Demento Show.

The music from Logan Whitehurst’s LP inspired several YouTube tributes and homemade video clips, including this animated clip for “Happy Noodle vs. Sad Noodle.”

And probably Logan Whitehurst’s BIGGEST hit from the CD, “The Robot Cat.”  So when I say RO, you say BOT.  RO-BOT… RO-BOT… Word to the R to the O to the B to the OTC to the A to the T…

But there’s one other track on this disc that, among all the happy songs, gives me pause and thought.  I couldn’t find a YouTube clip for it, but I did find the song online at a Logan Whitehurst tribute site.  The song, “Your Brain Fell Out”, is an audiophonic collage of sound effects, reversed tape, and the plaintive cry of a girl asking, “Where are my shoes?”  Hearing the lyrics to this song, I can only imagine how much pain Logan Whitehurst was going through as he tried to deal with a brain tumor.  Maybe this Pet Sounds collage was his way to take what was going on in his brain and find a way, a prayer, a hope that someday the tumor would leave.

It didn’t.  On December 3, 2006, Logan Whitehurst passed away from complications associated with brain cancer.  He was only 29 years old.

His passing has been felt throughout the music community, both in the indie rock world and in the comic music world.  Today, the “Logan Awards” are given annually to the best “funny songs”, parodies and music videos.  To win a “Logan” is to be associated with a man who put together such wonderful music and energy and did it in such a short period of time.

Which is why “Goodbye, My 4-Track” is such a special CD.  It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s poignant and it’s goofy – all at the same time.

And come the day when I meet Logan Whitehurst on the other side… I hope he’ll take a moment and autograph my copy of his CD.