Amongst the adventures, beers, tunes and fun of Desertfest London I had the chance to have a catch up with the lovely John Garcia. Relaxing at his hotel on Saturday afternoon after the show with Slo Burn the night before. I was able to steal 15 minutes of his time to have a nice little happy chat before he had to go back to the Electric Ballroom in Camden to do it all again his own band. Here is what we talked about.
I am here to have a chat for More Fuzz. More Fuzz is like a Stoner Rock website for the Fuzz addictsA guy called Tanguy started it in France, and it’s got bigger and bigger and bigger.
Yeah, you know, I don’t know how to really say this but I’m more into kind of like, believe it or not, if I’m looking at the website I’m probably looking at like cooking shows or fishing channels or something that has to do with Skylanders or something that has to do with Taylor Swift because my daughter likes Taylor Swift, my son likes Skylanders and I like to cook and I like to fish. So, the whole music thing for me has kind of taken a little bit of a backseat when I’m at home and I tend to steer clear away from music a little bit when I’m at home and I’ll turn on some jazz before I turn on, you know, Monster Magnet for sure. But I’ll have to check it out.
Well everyone loves you on it. If you look at it, your head will probably explode.
Alright, hahaha! Well you know, I don’t take myself that seriously by any means. I’m a husband, I’m a father and that’s number 1 on my list, as well it should be.
Last night you were really awesome though…
Cool neckless, gee willikers that things awesome.
Thanks! I made it.
That’s cool, right on! Very cool.
Last night I feel that you rocked it, and I think everyone else in the room did as well. Got some really cool photos of you. How does it feel to be back at Desertfest?
I’m lucky to be here Jess, you know, I’m really really lucky to be here. My career, I’ve been very lucky. So, to play with Slo Burn one night and then my band tonight, it’s kind of a monumental moment for me. Something that I’ve never done before, ever in my career. So, I’m stoked to be here – I’m a little foggy this morning, because there was a celebratory drinking and stuff like that, but I’m slowly waking up. I go on in a little less than six hours. I’m excited about it.
Take it easy beforehand, have some tea, relax.
Speaking of Slo Burn last night. Reuniting has made so many people happy. Just being able to have the chance to see you again. Not only is it really cool that you are here doing it twice, but people are feeling very excited about the shows that you are going to do. How does it feel playing with them again, separate to your own band?
Well, yeah. I’ve answered that question 3 times in the past hour and a half. 4 times actually I think. These guys are great, to be able to share the stage with Chris and Brady the original 3. We started that band together. So, it’s emotional, you know, it’s an emotional thing. I love those guys and Slo Burn’s a big part of my life. Even though we only had a 4 song EP out, a lot of people don’t know we actually had a full record worth of material and we played that material last night, along with a couple of new tracks that we’ve written when we’re rehearsing in Palm Springs. So I’m lucky, I’m really lucky. So how does it feel? It feels amazing. It’s something that I don’t take for granted and I’m very appreciative of the fact that I was able to do this.
Looking back, you know 20-20’s always hindsight and there was a lot of work involved with this, a lot of different moving parts and the real heroes that are kind of behind the scenes that nobody really sees are my kids and my wife. I spent more time away from them, rehearsing in Palm Springs with both acts and that was a lot of hard work and that makes it harder on her as well. Not only am I away from my best friend, but I’m also away from my wife and my kids. So, looking back I probably wouldn’t have done it like this, but it’s so hard to say no.
It’s like Desertfest, two nights; one night with Slo Burn, one night with my band; can it be done? I love challenges, I love challenges! That’s what it was to me, it was a challenge. The people that deserve the most credit; Wendy. Wendy Garcia. She’s the one that is responsible for this. Not to sound that I’m pussy whipped, that she controls my life, but we’re a unit and Wendy Kathleen Garcia, I have my right arm dedicated to my wife. She’s the one that needs to be thanked for all of this. Again, there’s a difference between being pussy whipped and…. I told her the other night, last night or the night before, you know I said I just want to let you know, I just want to say thank you, thank you for letting me continue on my career. She’s awesome!
John Garcia @ Electric Ballroom, Desertfest London
I wanted to ask you about that, because you’re always talking about how important family life is. I ‘ve watched interviews and you talk about how your family is super important which is beautiful; but how do you keep the balance when you do actually commit to it on the road? Because music is your life, but also your family. How do you do it? Addicted to your phone?
This wonderful little device right here.
I was touring, Jess, when, you know, I had to put pounds into a phone booth. That’s how long I’ve been touring, you know, I’ve had to put literally Deutsche marks, or guilders, or lira, or franks in a phone booth to call home. To do that when I was 18, 19, 20 years old, and now I can just call ’em and it’s Saturday morning and Marshall’s running around and he’s doing his homework and I can do his homework with him, I can sit down and have breakfast with them. So, it’s become a godsend and without this little piece of technology, I’d be a fucking wreck.
Speaking about little Marshall, I wanted ask you about the song “Little Marshall“. It’s beautiful, I love it and I was wondering have you ever played it live/would you ever play it live? or is it something that’s more special for you?
We tried! We tried to play it live and it fell apart. Ha, I don’t know what happened. “Little Marshall“, the guitar on that song; it was Ehren, Ehren played guitar on that song but for some reason the band could not get that song to groove. So we did a valiant effort, but that one is probably just going to be; well, it’s out of print now. Napalm is not going to make it anymore.
With Black Mastiff.
Yeah, along with Black Mastiff, Great band.
But yeah, it’s about Marshall, but probably it will never see the light of day live.
Fair enough. I thought it was more ‘I’ll keep it for myself,’ but it’s ‘I can’t play it.’
It’s more we can’t play it.
We’ll just pretend it’s the more romantic idea, that it’s just for you.
Yeah, we’ll go with that. *laughs*
I wanted to ask you about your thought process of how you choose the songs to put on the Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues. There’s a whole bunch of cool songs on there, and re-working some of the old stuff with new stuff. How did you decide what you were going to re-do and what you liked putting on there?
So, the way that that happened was when we went on tour, we started off with a collection of songs. Some of them worked out fine, some of them didn’t work out fine, but you expect that. Going into the studio, you have a collection of songs and not all of them are going to make it. The songs that did go well live, those were the songs that we wanted to put on the record. The challenge of turning “Green Machine” into something like this, like it is on the record; or the challenge of turning, you know, “Gardenia” into something like this was a challenge and that’s half the fun of being in the studios, is working those songs out like that. It was literally; not to get too technical; a list of songs that we’re going ‘alright, this one for sure, we have to have this one for sure..’ We wanted some new material on there as well, so some of these acoustic songs, that are on there, were written electrically. So we turned the electric songs into some acoustic songs and some brand new songs that actually we’re playing electrified tonight, like “Don’t Even Think About It” or “Kylie” and a couple of other new ones. So, we’re stoked!
I’m stoked! I’m very excited.
I was wondering, out of your whole career have you got one song out of everything you’ve ever done; one song that literally makes you feel ‘I’m awesome!’ You know, one song that makes you happy you just did it. Have you got anything like that?
No matter what, “Green Machine” always brings back a really cool feeling for me and its how people respond to that song that I enjoy; and people still enjoy hearing it and I still enjoy playing it. We’re going to have some Kyuss tonight, for sure there’ll be some Kyuss tunes. We’ll play some JG tunes, we might even throw a Hermano song as well, but that’s the beauty of being a solo artist, is that I can go back to my musical career and throw down some other music. So, it’s still fun for me, but” Green Machine” is always a cool one to play.
The sound of your voice is very iconic (and amazing), but nowadays a lot of bands in the genre, you can tell that they will sort of appropriate, like pull a little bit of the Garcia feel. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. How do you feel about bands doing that these days?
Well you know, I’m honoured and I’m flattered and that’s really cool. I mean I did that, you know, I did that with Ian Astbury. There was no question; I fucking wanted to be Ian Astbury, I did that too, and kids are going to do that and I’m not afraid to admit it. He’s my idol. I think you can hear it. My wife will say to me, ‘man, that sounds like Ian Astbury right there.‘ Because I grew up, he taught me how to sing, you know. From the southern death cult, to the death cult, to the cult electric, those were records that changed my life. He made me want to sing. So, I’m honoured and I think that’s cool. All I can say is I did the exact same thing, so fucking more power to ’em!
Yeah! Wicked.. So, is there anyone now that you would really really like to work with now? Someone that you would fanboy the hell out of and think that would be so cool?
Yeah, I’d still like continue to work with Robby Krieger (The Doors). You know, what a legend and how rad and awesome that is. He kind of stemmed; he was the conduit for the acoustic record, when I was working with him on “Her Bullets Energy” for my first electric record. He’s a rad dude, that guy is. This other journalist was talking about the word legend and legacy and that word being loosely thrown around, and me being lumped in with some of that stuff, and I’m like ‘no no no, I don’t take myself that seriously.‘ I’m more concerned about being a father; I’ll put myself in the father/husband category, let’s do that. There’s always room for improvement, I can be a better dad, I can be a better father, I can be a better husband, there’s no question in my mind. Either you want to do that or you don’t want to do that; I want to do that.
Robby Krieger, getting back to him, I would love to do a record with him; would love to do a full-blown, killer, kick-ass, rad acoustic/electric record with him. But I’m very happy on my current path and I’m going to concentrate on my current path. I really want to surround myself with a couple of people right now that have a shared interest and a shared passion for the road I want to go down. So, I want to try to broaden my options. I’m going to go in the studio with the intent of making a heavier record, a faster record, a more melodic record with the guys that I have right now. I think we’re well on our way to doing that. To answer your question; I kind of bounced everywhere; Robby Krieger would be my guy.
That’s ok its awesome. It doesn’t have to be instant. It can be one day. It is your fanboy moment.
It was a ‘fan boy’ moment that’s for sure, no question. I mean the guy, he’s a real living legend, because it’s Robby Krieger! I mean he shared the stage with Ray Manzarek and John Densmore and Jim. When I first met him, he was like “I read the lyrics; he’s like what does it mean?” [referring to “Her Bullets Energy“] I wasn’t expecting to hear that from Robby, but he’s genuinely into lyrics and meaning. I had to say, first of I’m not a poet, I’m more of an abstract storyteller and this is more of a classic love story gone wrong; and he goes, ‘oh..‘ So, phew fuck, I dodged a bullet, because my lyrics they are abstract.
I don’t want anybody to try to decipher them, because they are bizarre and they mean something to me and you know, they mean something different to me than the average listener. I always tell the listener whatever it means to you, wherever it takes you, let it take you there; try not to decipher my stuff, because it’s abstract. Coming from Robby Krieger, that was a tough one; it kind of made me think about the song a little bit more and the deeper meaning behind it. There are some fictional aspects as well as non-fictional aspects to that story that directly involve me, my life and some of the relationships I’ve been in in my life. So, it made me think about that song in a different light, having somebody, a real true living legend asking what’s it about; thinking ‘fuck, ok, you really want to know what it’s about and really want to talk about the definition what’s behind these words, ok, well.‘ Again, it’s simply, I’m no Jim Morrison, it’s a classic love story gone wrong and that’s basically what it was, but there are some aspects of my own life in that story. Which everybody has, I think everybody’s kind of gone through that. Anyway, sorry for that long drawn out fucking answer.
I liked it, it’s cool. I think I’ve ran out of time, but I’m stealing you.
Well thank you Jess. I appreciate it.
Thanks for answering my questions.
I know you’ll of been asked a whole bunch of the same questions again and again.
No, the only one really is the Slo Burn one.
Everybody’s going to do that because it’s so exciting.
Well thank you for that, I appreciate it.
But thanks for that!
Cool Jess, thanks!