Still Our Friend

Filmmakers Kickstart doc on late North Bay musical hero

The North Bay’s Logan Whitehurst was many things. He was a son, a brother, a multi-instrumental musician, a wildly creative singer-songwriter, a bandmate and an indie-rock inspiration to many. But more than anything, Whitehurst—who died from brain cancer in 2006 at the age of 29—was “Your Friend, Logan.”

Those three words were how Whitehurst signed all his correspondences, and they’ve inspired young filmmaker Conner Nyberg and producer Matlock Zumsteg to collaborate on making a documentary, Your Friend Logan: The 4-Track Mind of Logan Whitehurst, which is currently raising funds through a Kickstarter online campaign that ends on Feb. 29.

“I met Logan in, it must have been 1998,” Zumsteg says. “He gave me a copy of his first album Outsmartin’ The Popos on cassette tape. I listened to it and I was amazed. It was like I had met Weird Al or something. His music is so full of fun and whimsy.”

Zumsteg, who is a sketch and improv comedian with the Natural Disasters, became fast friends with Whitehurst.

“He was somebody that I really admired,” says Zumsteg.

Musically, Whitehurst was best known as the drummer for Petaluma-based bands the Velvet Teen and Little Tin Frog, and his solo project Logan Whitehurst & The Junior Science Club, in which he recorded and played every track and instrument.

Outside the North Bay, Whitehurst’s fans include radio-legend Dr. Demento, who called Whitehurst’s 2003 album, Goodbye My 4-Track, “the Sgt. Peppers of comedy music albums.”

At the time of his death, Whitehurst was on the verge of breaking out, and for years Zumsteg has wanted to find a way to get the word out on Whitehurst’s music.

Cut to Greenville, South Carolina, where a young Conner Nyberg discovered Whitehurst’s music online by chance in 2013 and became obsessed with his songs about happy noodles and robot cats.

Now 20 years old and about to enter film school, Nyberg knew—even at age 13—that he wanted to find out more about Whitehurst by making a documentary. In doing research, Nyberg met Zumsteg, and the rest is history.

Nyberg plans to interview dozens of people who knew Whitehurst best and incorporate original animations and rare archive material to create an intimate and celebratory film.

“This seems like a great opportunity to share Logan and his story,” Zumsteg says. “What Logan left behind is so beautiful.”

‘Your Friend Logan’ is accepting donations on Kickstarter.com through Feb. 29.
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Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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