Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
(Thanks to D. Mcallum for the inspiration/ideas)
A musical legend within the genre of Stoner rock John Garcia has recently released his debut solo album which is a collection of songs deeply rooted in what he does best-I had the pleasure of recently discussing it with him-a humble and very genuine guy .
John”Mark? Hi, thank you so much for calling me back-I really appreciate it”
That’s OK, You have your debut solo album coming out so lets just start with the obvious question. After so long being in bands what prompted the move to make a solo album?
John”Mark I have always wanted to do one-ever since I can remember, since I was eighteen/nineteen years old I have wanted to do a solo record. Through that time I have collected songs throughout all the years. These are not B-sides, these are not leftovers. These are songs that were close to me and that I had a relationship with. After a while I just got tired of saying “yes”to other projects”I wanted to get this monkey off my back. This was something that I am very passionate about. This is personal to me. Its just taken me this long but it was just out of sheer exhaustion of saying “yes”and me me kinda feeling bad for these songs.”
What does that then mean for the bands Vista Chino, Unida and Hermano?
John”It doesn’t mean anything for them. (laughing) I mean that with all due respect. I don’t plan on deviating from my current position anytime in the near future Mark. I like where I am at, I am very happy with where I am at and I am going to stay here. I leave that as an open-ended question because I go where my gut tells me to go. So we will see….
Is there any future plans to record with these bands again?
John”as of right now”?
John”No, as of right now-no. There is no bad blood, lets make that clear. I love those guys, I love those bands. You know there might be a time, where I reach out to them and say”Hey, lets do another record. They might say “No, I’m busy”. So you know I’ll have to wait. There is a double-edged sword there.”
How did you approach the writing of this record ?You have said to me earlier that it is a collection of songs that you have actually had for quite some time?
John”Yeah, well these are songs again that I have collected throughout my career. I have held onto these songs. These songs are special to me, I am passionate about these. It is a personal record. How I came about it and doing song selection from the forty four that I collected from throughout all the years. My producers Harper Hug, Trevor Whatever and I sat down and we did song selection and musician selections for each individual song, and the show was on the road. I mean it was difficult doing it that way, taking all these songs from different eras and different times of my life and trying to make it sound conducive-and not to mention that we didn’t have a band. These are all different musicians playing on different songs so we had to make it conducive. That is where Harper Hug’s magic Harper is kind of magical in a weird sort of way (I call it “Huggy Magic”)You know when he puts his spin on things and he makes it sound conducive. It was recorded within in one month although the collection of songs was a span of twenty years. Once we had the songs and the music selected it only took a month to record that. What a great thing.”
Following on from what you have been saying-There are many guests playing on the record , the one that everybody is going to pick out is and find intriguing is Robbie Krieger of the Doors..How did his involvement come about ? Obviously you were aware of his history but was he aware of yours?
John”No, I don’t think that he was aware of any band that I have ever played in my entire life. Again when selecting the songs we knew that “Her Bullets Energy”was going on the record-we knew that for sure. My producer said”I hear a Spanish Flamenco Spanish guitar on this track”I said that’s great I love that idea.”Who do you know that plays Spanish Flamenco Guitar”He said “Robbie Krieger”I said “Do you think that he would do it”? He said well “let me get him the track” He got him the track to see if he liked it. Would he play on it-that was a different story. Next thing you know we got him the track and he said yes”Man yes I will play on it” Not only did he make the song better, but he made the entire record better. There is a standard that we needed to set when you have somebody like Robbie Krieger on your record. We wanted to make it a good record,not just because of that but because we are all just as equally passionate and as vested in this record. The producers were just as much as I was. So were the musicians they were just as passionate about the laying down of their tracks as I was singing. It was really cool and a united front that we took this project on with full steam and with a lot of passion.”
I have listened to the album extensively-and there is a more straight forward classic rock feel to this album was it a conscious decision whilst writing to distance yourself from the writing process of Unida for example?
John”Yeah, totally Mark that is a very fair example, a very fair observation. We knew we had a specific theme/concept for this record. The concept was simplicity. ”Lets keep this record simple”,l lets just strip it-we knew that we wanted to make just a rock record. That one was for sure. We knew what my history was, we knew that but the songs and turning them into what they are right now-that was the fun part. That was the real enjoyable part of being in the studio, and having the red light turned on and “OK we are recording”what is it going to sound like. Well we knew that we wanted it simple, we knew that we wanted to make a rock record but “What was it going to sound like”That is the fun part of having the songs create themselves and take on a life of their own. That is exactly what this record did. They wrote themselves and they took on a meaning of their own. We are just kind of their slaves.”
You have mentioned that you have several guests playing on the album but you are known also for your love of Ian Astbury and the Cult, what is it in particular about him that has inspired you as a musician?
John”He is a little bit of a teacher. I grew up listening to the Cult. I used to sing Cult songs so I would sing ”She sells sanctuary” and “Lil Devil” and “Wild flower”,”Bad Medicine waltz”and “Wolf child blues”,”Nirvana”and “Big neon Glitter”. To name a few-I would sing those songs, and I would sing them over and over again. I was kind of schooled by Ian you know and he sings with passion. He sings with heart,and he is my idol. There is something about him and Billy and that writing team ….especially when they had Les Warner and Jamie Stewart for the Cult days. For the early Cult days as far as Cult”Love”-Let me tell you that was my favorite era of them. You know eighty five-mid eighties and I mean I am still inspired by him. Take a listen to “Flower”-(from new solo that opening guitar I mean if that is not the Cult, I just don’t know..you know what I mean. I am inspired by the Cult and so when Mark Diamond came to me with that riff and it had a reminisce of the Cult “I really like that”That sounds like the Cult I’m in”I am not ashamed to admit that, that I am a fan of that. It is not that I am copying them I am just influenced by them and I like their sound. There is nothing wrong with it.”
Would you ever have any plans to cooperate musically with Ian?
John”No, I would always love to work with Ian. If he asked me to go underwater basket weaving with him(laughs)I would.”Yeah sure lets so it”that’s how much that he means to me.”
OK just touching on a subject outside of the new album and its release. How did it feel after many years taking to the stage with Kyuss Lives and bringing the legend back to life for it to end with court actions?
John “Well it was great to breathe new life into the songs and to see the people and the supporters come out and support the band. It was great. To end it with a law suit was unnecessary, (sighs)but you know Mark I don’t sit there and I don’t think about that much. I am very proud of the musicians that I played with in the past and that includes Scott Reader and Josh Homme. Even though they did sue me, it doesn’t make a difference to me. I have moved on and honestly there is more important things in my life that I am thinking about right now as well I should. Like my kids education, my relationship with my wonderful wife and that’s important to me. I keep my eye on the ball. All that other stuff is childish really and I don’t have time for it”
Did it ever make you want to stop or did it spur you on towards where you are now with the solo record?
John”Yes, it did make me want to stop it really did. Hey Mark I don’t like a speeding ticket let alone a federal lawsuit slapped upon me at the door. I don’t like that. I am an emotional guy anyway and Josh got what he wanted. Josh got exactly what he wanted, and” Perfect, I’m happy for him”I wish him nothing but the best and the same with Scott Reader.”
What are your touring plans when the album comes out-and will it be exclusively songs from the solo album that you will be playing?
John”No, it’s not going to be. I am going to be playing a lot of ”Sky Valley”, a lot of ”Blues For the Red sun” ”Circus leaves town” I might even throw some “Wretch “in there. I am even throwing “Sloburn” in there. And of course, and of course my new record. I have got to throw that in there, that is the whole reason that I am going on this super long extensive tour. I have four dates in England, that I am doing at the beginning of December. The dates are going to drop on my Facebook page very, very soon. Keep an eye on the John Garcia page- I am going to tour, and I am going to do another record Mark. That’s what I am going to do.”
Just anticipating my next question will this be another solo record or back to do some band projects?
John”No I’m very happy with where I am at right now. Mark I feel liberated, I feel like a tremendous amount of freedom-I feel that this is great. I’m digging this. This is great to have this sense of just freedom. It’s not like I was locked away before. I don’t see myself deviating from this any time in the near future, I am just going to stay right here.”
John that just leads nicely into my final question how does it feel to still be doing what you love after all these years?
John”Lucky and appreciative. I feel very lucky that I am talking to an almost complete stranger at the other end of this line about something that I have just created. How could I not feel a sense of appreciation, and a sense of me going ”wow, this is amazing”, this is phenomenal man. I appreciate it you know. The sense of appreciation, my sense of thankfulness and of how blessed I feel is nuts.”
John I think that just about wraps this up, it’s been great talking to you. I love the album.
John”Mark, thank you very, very much I really appreciate that. You have a good rest of your day, and thanks for calling me back. Thanks for your patience with me, I really appreciate that. Have a good evening.
John thanks again- Hopefully I will get over to one of those English dates. Bye.
‘JOHN GARCIA’ is available on CD, Vinyl and Digitally on Napalm Records on August 4, 2014
PRE-ORDER HERE: http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=