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Interviews : “I’m just stoked to be part of anything” – An interview with John Garcia

By on March 22, 2018

Kyuss, were and still are a universally lauded musical touchstone. For those who saw the marketing machinations click into gear when one with the surname Cobain launched a million Fender Jaguars into diamond-shaped chord progressions in the early 90’s, it was bands such as Kyuss that provided the welcome aural relief for those with richer and deeper musical inclinations.

That’s not a dig at grunge, the ‘Seattle sound’ or any other musical reference from the era. It simply highlights that if you were a fan of honest to goodness rock’n’roll, chances are you sought… and found John Garcia’s dulcet tones gracing epic Kyuss albums.

There’s nothing worse than false modesty or being falsely humble. Because I’m talking to you right now about something that I helped create… I’m shocked, I really am. Talk to me when I was a mid-20s young punk who didn’t care about anything and I would have probably gone on and agreed with that. I’m very appreciative to the fact that I have played and shared the stage with Josh (Homme- Kyuss, QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures, Eagles of Death Metal), Brant (Bjork– Kyuss, Fu Manchu, solo), Nick (Oliveri – Kyuss, Mondo Generator, QOTSA), the guys in Unida, Slow Burn, Crystal Method and Danko Jones. I’m just stoked to be part of anything.”

That’s Garcia’s detailed and very honest take on my assertion that he is yet to receive his just recognition from the media and even some fans for his outstanding contribution to rock. His next comments were interesting given the pressure many bands received from label types to adopt a more ‘contemporary’ sound during the era and ape the likes of Alice in Chains or Nirvana. For trainspotters, his comments revealed an interesting interaction with a label boss often said to have a fearsome reputation.

Surprisingly Electra (Kyuss’s then record label) steered clear from the music side. They were more into the visuals because MTV was really popping off and if you had a video on MTV it was big. The video for “One Inch Man” (…And the Circus Leaves Town- ’95) they didn’t like. I remember having a meeting with Sylvia Rhone, then president of Electra records. (She said) ‘I don’t like the video’, and Josh going, ‘We need more money to redo the video if (you) didn’t like it’. Her response was that ‘You took the bread that you had, and you blew it and you gave us a crappy video, so you’re going to have to eat it. Sorry, we like the song, but we don’t like it that much where we’re going to give you another $25,000 to reshoot the video’. From my experience they did not bother us at all, nor have I had really any record company or any label tell me, ‘I think you should go in this direction’.”

Garcia is touring Australia on the back of his superb acoustically themed album from 2017, The Coyote Who Spoke in Tongues. An album that contains one of Garcia’s strongest cuts ever recorded (“Kylie”), the decision to rework classic Kyuss material should have given recent arrivals a taste of Garcia’s songwriting excellence. When asked for his opinion on the material he feels is his strongest though, the answer is unexpected.

We’re going to be playing acoustically down there in Australia for these four exclusive shows and two in New Zealand. I’m stoked to say that we’re doing some of these… the stand out would be the John Garcia (’14) solo album. Apart from that, I think …And the Circus Leaves Town comes in a very, very close second, because of my participation in that record. I think I had more to do with that record than any other Kyuss record, so that one I’m partial to as well. Ask me tomorrow and I could give you a different answer.”

To hear the chat with John Garcia in full click here

John Garcia is touring Australia through April.

About

Andrew is a musician who has spent many years performing on the stages of the pubs and clubs of Queensland. A devotee of the broad church that is rock, punk, funk, jazz and of course all genres of metal... he now shares his enthusiasm via a burgeoning pursuit of music journalism. Follow him on twitter @andymckaysmith