John Garcia: « I’m on a mission »

When we called him on the phone, John Garcia was getting ready to go on a camping trip in the mountains with his family and enjoy a “well-deserved break”, as he put it. Admittedly, the man whose voice has graced the music of several brilliant stoner rock bands (namely Kyuss, Unida, Hermano and Slo Burn) has been rather busy lately. After a hard battle to reform Kyuss – which led to legal action from his former colleagues Josh Homme and Scott Reeder – and an album released under the name Vista Chino, John Garcia is back with that solo album we’d been expecting for so many years. The small tour he did with Unida, and which stopped by Hellfest, was just the icing on the cake. The hectic Kyuss Lives! episode obviously made him want to focus on himself, and on the simple yet important things, like his family or the songs he loved but had put into a box. “I’m on a mission”, he says again and again in the second half of this rich interview. And the goal of this mission is simple: to find happiness.

It’s a truly generous interview this self-described musical explorer gave us. Always honest and passionate, sometimes moving, John Garcia first talks about his newly-released solo album, then gradually lets us into his life and personality. We talked about “his desert”, as he likes to call it, about Josh Homme and Scott Reeder, about his future as a solo artist, and about his various bands. Although the interview is quite long, you should enjoy it from start to finish if you like the man and his music.

« That’s exactly right; you hit the nail right on the head. You said “explore”. That it Nicolas! You got it! You understand! »

Radio Metal : I saw you a few weeks ago with Unida at the Hellfest. Wasn’t it a bit frustrating to be playing at the same time as Black Sabbath, as, I guess, a fan of the band but also because most of your fans are also probably Black Sabbath fans too?

John Garcia : Yeah, you know, what can you do about that? I wanted to leave the stage and go see Black Sabbath [laughs], you know what I mean? But hey, I’ve played in front of all crowds, whether it was five people, fifty people, five hundred people, five thousand or fifty thousand, and I still enjoy being up on stage. The year before I think we went up against Kiss, or something like that, and the year before that we went up against Judas Priest. So, I’m used to it and I love the Hellfest, it’s a great environment and there ardae a lot of good bands, Black Sabbath being one of them. So it is what it is.

And, by the way, what motivates you to do some shows with Unida every once in a while, as the band is not very active?

Yeah, every once in a while we’ll pull the car out of the garage, so to speak, and we’ll go on the road for not extensive tours. But this was just a little ten-show jaunt. We’re not… We did release Coping With The Urban Coyote with a live record, so there was a little bit of promo for that. I still enjoy very much playing with Arthur (Seay) and Mike (Cancino) on the road. This time we had Curt Christenson from Dixie Witch and it was great to share the stage with him. It was a little bit of a bittersweet feeling because it was almost a farewell tour, so to speak, due to the fact that I’m really concentrating on my solo record now. I don’t plan on doing another Unida record, a Vista Chino record or Hermano or Slo Burn or Kyuss Lives or any one of my numerous projects. I don’t plan on doing any of that. I’m very happy, Nicolas, of where I’m at right now and plans have already started for my next record.

You’ve had so many bands throughout the years, so why did you specifically want to do a solo album and a solo band?

That’s a good question! [Laughs] You know, I had a collection of songs that I’ve held on to for many years. This collection of songs, they were not b-sides or leftovers, these were songs that were very personal to me, that I had personal relationship with and that I was passionate about. And, frankly, Nicolas, I just got tired of looking at them in this dusty old cardboard box in my bedroom. Ever since I was 18 or 19 years old, I’ve always wanted to do a solo record. Why now? I don’t know. I think it was out of pure exhaustion of leaving these songs alone and looking at them for so many years. Again, I’ve wanted to do this for many, many years and I’m very excited about this. It was just time. It was time to do it and to liberate these songs, give them the freedom that they deserve. That was the major backing behind it, in giving them the freedom.

There were talks of this solo album for many years. How comes it took you so long in the making actually?

Anybody who knows me knows that I don’t like to stand in one place for very long. So, I had the Kyuss run, a small little Slo Burn run, a Unida run, Hermano run… It’s great to share the stage and create with those guys but all throughout of my career I collected this group of songs and I wanted to release them. Now is the perfect time. I don’t know if that answers the question or not but, again, I was passionate about this. That’s the main driving force: the passion for these songs, the passion to play them live and have people feel what I’m feeling when I go out there to perform them.

You said that you had a personal relationship with these songs; can you develop what you mean by that?

You know… [Thinking] That’s a good question. These are songs that make me feel. I’m a fan of music. I’m a fan of songs. I don’t care if it’s Mötley Crüe or Earth, Wind And Fire. If a song makes me feel, or brings me back to a summer Sunday when I was eleven years old, kissing my Mexican girlfriend behind my grapefruit tree in the backyard, that’s what I mean and how that made me feel. If a song touches you and makes you feel like « Wow! Holy shit! », if it gets you to some place, if it gets you out of that long hard day of work when your boss just got done screaming his ass off at you for a fuck up or whatever, if it gets you to your class, if it gets you to school, if it gets you past a summer, if it’s a soundtrack or part of a soundtrack of a summer that you’ll never forget in your entire life, that’s what I mean by that. When I was writing these songs with my co-writers, I had that relationship with them. That’s what I mean by having that personal relationship and being passionate about it. They made me feel. They made me feel happy. They made me feel sad. They made me feel something I’ve never even felt before. That’s what I mean.

« If there’s a rule book that tells me that I need to be in one band or two bands or three bands or a hundred bands, I threw it out the window a long time ago. »

At one point this solo band was supposed to be called Garcia Vs. Garcia, why did you change the name?

Garcia Vs. Garcia had come to be my Chinese Democracy, if you will, and I kept on trying to promote it and get it out and say « Yeah, it’s coming out! It’s coming out! It’s coming out! » I decided that I needed a fresh new name. It was my solo project and Garcia Vs. Garcia was just me versus me. There was a constant battle to try to do veterinarian medicine (note: John’s worked as a veterinarian surgeon and diagnostician and is an animal passionate), my family life and to do music. And it’s still somewhat of a constant battle and it takes an incredible amount of communication and organizing to have the moons aligned, if you will. But after so many years of promoting it that way, I never got it out. So I said « Well, I’m just gonna call it John Garcia and release it. Done! » So it was more of a frustrating thing where I just stopped calling it that, and lo and behold, it came out!

There’s a whole bunch of musicians guesting on this album. Did you want to make it more than just a solo record and gather around you some of your dear friends, like making it a sort of family album?

No, you know, this record was very specific in a concept. The concept was keeping it simple. Nicolas, I wasn’t looking to change or reinvent the face of rock n’ roll. I was looking to make a simple classic rock record, with songs that were passionate to me. So, when choosing these musicians, everybody was handpicked and hand selected for each and every song that they played on. And these musicians showed up with the equal amount of passion that I had for these songs. Even the producers, Harper Hug and Trevor Whatever! This is a special project. You have Robby Krieger (The Doors), Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator, ex-Kyuss, ex-Queens Of The Stone Age), Tom Brayton, Marc Diamond (The Dwarves), Dave Angstrom (Hermano), Dandy Brown (Hermano), Chris Hale (Slo Burn), Damon Garrison (Slo Burn) and myself (note: non-exhaustive list), all in a room at different times. Man, it was exciting but also very enjoyable to do it that way. And again, I give credit where credit is due, and these songs couldn’t have come out the way that they did without this incredible group of musicians. So I thank them and I owe them for this record.

By the way, you’ve been invited in the past on some other musicians’ records, and like I said you did many bands over the years. So is collaboration something that’s important for you, to explore as many chemistries as possible?

That’s exactly right; you hit the nail right on the head. You said “explore”. That it Nicolas! You got it! You understand! Because it is all about exploration! It’s about being exploratory! If there’s a singer’s rule book, I don’t have it and I don’t want it. For me that is the rule book, it’s being exploratory and going off on different tangents and avenues, and writing and co-writing with other musicians. That, to me, is my plight. Look, I’m not a guitar player – I play guitar very primitively – so I gave my ideas to my guitar players, to this very talented group of musicians, and they turned the songs into what it is! But I love being exploratory and having challenges. I mean, for Christ sake, look at a song like “Born Too Slow” by The Crystal Method (note: album Legion Of Boom, 2004), that’s a techno band! When Ken (D. Jordan) and Scott (Kirkland) from The Crystal Method reached out to me and said “Hey, we want you to sing on this song”, I said: “Do you know what I do? Do you know what type of genre I play? Because it’s not techno! It’s not dance music!” And they said: “Yep! We know exactly what it is! We know what you do and we want you!” So I played on a song called “Born Too Slow”, which I co-wrote with those guys, and six month later it won an award at the American Dance Music Awards for best single of the year. And I’m like: “Wow! Maybe I’m in the wrong genre! Maybe I’ll go into dance!” [Big laugh] Jokingly, obviously, jokingly… But that’s what it is! Same with Arsenal! The Belgian group Arsenal (note: John collaborated on their Lotuk album, 2008). Look at a song like “Not A Man”, that was very challenging to me. I like when I get those challenges. So, again, this record is just a direct result of me being exploratory and you get it!

Is this actually why you want to stick for a while with you solo band, because it gives more of that kind of exploratory freedom?

Nicolas, it doesn’t only give me freedom, it’s liberating! I feel liberated! I feel like chains have been lifted! Not like [laughs] any of my other bands were like my ball and chain. Don’t get me wrong! And please don’t take that out of the context! But, you know, in a weird sort of way, I feel that I could do this and I could do this on my own. My live band is great; they’re all looking forward to come to Paris, France, and playing this November, which we’re going to do. The date are about to be posted on my Facebook page hopefully in the next couple of weeks. Again, the Vista Chino car in parked in the garage, so is the Unida and Hermano cars. I’m taking my car out for a nice long drive and I’m not gonna park it any time in the near future.

Amongst the guest present on the album, there’s Robby Krieger, guitarist from the Doors and I believe that the Doors have had a big impact on you, can you tell us more about that?

When selecting these songs, it was my producer’s idea Harper Hug. He looked at me and went: “Look, this is the only acoustic track on this record. Let’s make it special and I hear a Spanish guitar.” I said: “Harper, that’s a great idea. Who do you know that plays Spanish guitar?” And he went: “Well, I know Robby Krieger…” And I went: “Well, are you joking?” And he said “No… Look, don’t get your panties in a twist over this. Let’s reach out to him, let me call him. Let me get him the track and let’s see if he likes it. That’s the first part of the puzzle. If he likes it, then that’s cool, and the final piece of the puzzle would be: would he do it?” Next thing I know I was in the studio in Glendale, California, and we’re recording that song. We’re talking about a monumental moment. We’re talking about a moment I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. This was one of those moments. This is what I’m talking about makes me feel, what he did makes me feel… What does it make me feel like? That’s a feeling I’ve never felt before! That “Wow! Holy Shit! What is it? This is phenomenal! This is great!” Man, he just made this track – not to mention the entire record – better. So, I thank Harper, I thank Robby, they’re just absolutely two awesome people. I can’t talk highly enough about them both.

« I feel liberated! I feel like chains have been lifted! Not like [laughs] any of my other bands were like my ball and chain. Don’t get me wrong! And please don’t take that out of the context! »

There’s animal on the album cover – I’m not sure if it’s a deer or a goat or…

Yeah, you know, you’re right: it’s not a goat. It’s a bighorn sheep. There’s a big giant difference between goat and a bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep are indigenous to where I live. I see them all the time. I’m very proud of my desert, so I wanted something that was from here. I’m from here. The bighorn sheep is from here. The open desert road… Nicolas, I’ve got to drive up a mile and a half of dirt road to get to my house. This is a direct result of that.

Is this animal actually representing you?

That’s a good question. Well, let me tell you Nicolas, the artwork on the record was just as important and I was just as passionate about it as I was for the music. The gentleman – and I’m going to go into a different avenue here – who did that illustration, who drew that for me, is a guy who’s name is Sam Young (note: from Melbourne, Australian). He did this illustration specifically for me. In the bighorn sheep’s horns there are cholla cactus, cholla flowers, desert verbenas… I gave him very specific directions and so I had him illustrate that piece of it. The second part of it was Jared Conner from Austin, Texas, who did the entire layout. So I had one artist on one end of the world, one artist on another end of the world and they came together and they did this unbelievable album cover for me. But bighorn sheep is indigenous and I think it is a perfect representation of me and of what I call “my desert”. So hats off to them, I gotta give them credit. They’re just unbelievable artists. So that illustrates the bighorn sheep and how beautiful and majestic it is, and having it be transparent over an open desert road, I think it defines where I’m from and how personal this record is.

You said that you were already writing you next solo album. Will it be in the same vein?

Yeah. You know, I… [Hesitating] I’ve got something really special in store for this next record. I haven’t even told my wife about it because I was rehearsing last night with my guitar player Ehren Groban and we’ve had a great idea. I slept on it and this morning I still think it will be something really cool and special. I can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, but yes, the next record will be a rock record but there will also be something very special involved with it as well. Yes, same vein [as my first solo album], same amount of passion, same love and it’s happening.

Do you intend to have that many guests again?

I had a meeting with that guitar player in Sweden this morning by the way, and he recently sent me a song and I really liked it. So the collaborating has already begun. I don’t see as many guests on the next record as this one. I’ll have the band do the majority of the songs. [Drummer] Greg Saenz, [bassist] Mike Pygmie, [guitarist] Ehren Groban, this is my band now. So we’ll be doing most of the musicianship ourselves.

And how did you pick them actually?

Ehren Groban, he plays on a good part of the record and he also plays in a local band called War Drum. I wanted somebody who’s – again I go back to that word – as excited and passionate as I am about this project. If I asked somebody and the response was « yeah, you know… I don’t know, I’ve got… » I’m like: « OK, done. » That’s all you need to decide. That’s it. So Ehren was right there and was really involved. He wanted to be a part of it. Mike Pygmie wanted to be a part of it as well, so did Greg Saenz, he really wanted to do that. They were passionate about it. And you know what Nicolas? Here’s another key, probably the most important part: they’re all local. They’re all desert locals. I don’t have anybody from Timbuktu fuckin’ playing guitar – pardon my French or pardon… whatever, you know what I mean [laughs]. I don’t have to fly anybody in and I don’t need to fly anywhere! We’re all locals and we rehearse in Palm Springs. We rehearsed last night! I can leave my house and be there in twenty minutes. I can call them up and go « I’ve got this riff, what are you doing on Saturday night? » « Oh, you’ve got a show with your other band War Drum? Alright, cool, I’ll go and see you guys play and then let’s go to the rehearsal room. What do you think? Yeah? Ok, I’ll meet you there! » And the fact that they’re all local and we can work closely together was a big part of it too. It’s a small desert and all the musicians kind of know each other, so I reached out to them and we did some auditions. We tried out some different drummers. And Mike, Ehren and Greg had that passion, the energy and the commitment, and they wanted to do it. So that was important.

Is it a little bit like going back to your roots, to how you made music at the beginning of Kyuss for example?

Not really. This is a brand new endeavor. This is something that has a totally different energy. I’m more passionate about this because this is my own thing and I put myself underneath the microscope. This is something new and fresh and I want to keep it that way. I like the feeling that this gives me, because it’s unfamiliar; it’s not a familiar feeling. This is uncharted territory for me and I really like it. Again, I go back to that word « liberated » and « freedom ». I feel that!

I was rather thinking about the fact that your musicians were all local and that it was easier for the band, like it probably was at the beginning of Kyuss…

Oh, yeah, you’re right! Absolutely! A hundred percent. Even in Vista Chino we had to fly Bruno (Fevery) from Brussels; he had to go from Antwerp to Brussels and then from Brussels to Los Angeles and then Los Angeles to Palm Springs. That’s a big deal and we had him for a limited amount of time. Sometimes I’d go to my friends’ house or studio and there’d be a band in there rehearsing and, honestly, I kind of felt jealous; I was like “I wanna rehearse! I want a band to rehearse with! I miss that! I miss rehearsing on a regular basis.” So it’s good to have the guys here.

« I look at the desert and I see life! The emptiness is what makes it so full of emotion and beauty! »

You’re one of the biggest figures of the genre we now call desert rock. But what do you, yourself, put behind this term? What does this music symbolize to you?

Desert rock, stoner rock, whatever type of rock you wanna call it – for me, personally, I call it stoner rock – I’ve embraced it! I have. I’ve come to accept the term “stoner rock”. There was a time in my life when I didn’t like that word, but I’ve learned to embrace it and I’m proud of what people want to label it! Again, label it what you want. How do I feel about it? I’m lucky to still have people follow me at my age and where I’m at in my career. I’m appreciative of the fact that I still have supporters, people still buy records and come see me share the stage with whoever may be. I’m lucky! That’s what it comes down to. I don’t put a lot of thought into the terms “desert rock” or “stoner rock”, I don’t. To me, Nicolas, I’ve said this a thousand times but what’s important to me right now in my life is being a father and a husband and this little journey that me and my family are about to take for the next three days up to the mountains, to kind of unplug; I’ve been looking forward to this for a very, very long time. Those are the things that I think are important to me and I don’t sit here and ponder on the differences between stoner rock and desert rock or rock n’ roll or who created it, because I’ll tell you what: we did not create this. We rode on the coat-tails of bands like Cactus, Buffalo, Leaf Hound, Deep Purple… Oh, here’s one for you, how about Black Sabbath! These are the true generators, the true instigator, the true roots of desert rock or stoner rock. It just skipped a couple of generations and we’re another band that is a part of that scene. And it still survives because of bands like Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu… So, hey, we’re just part of it!

Your music is very much associated with the landscape of the California Desert. But how inspiring was actually this landscape and environment for you? You mentioned earlier how important it was for you…

Yes it is and I’m very proud of my desert, but I’ll tell you something: if there’s a void in your heart, in your gut, and it needs to be filled, it doesn’t matter where you are, where you’re at or where you live, you’re gonna find a way to fill it. Whether it’d be the south of London or the south of France or the deserts of Australia or South Korea, wherever it may be, if you have that void, you’ll find a way to fill it. To me, the desert’s my home, I was born and raised here – actually I was born in Arizona, the Arizona desert, I never remember living there, I just remember growing up here in the Coachella Valley. I’ve written outside of this desert, I’ve written in a hotel room in Australia, I’ve written in a hotel in Paris before. Whenever you get inspired, you start writing ideas down. The roads are a great place to write, but I do the majority of my writing right where I’m in right now, in my bedroom, at my desk, looking out to the desert. I’m very at ease here. How much of it is a part of the sound? I don’t think any of it is. This is my own personal view, my personal opinion. It is what it is and I don’t try to sit here and over romanticize the desert. It’s the desert! Some people come out here and see beauty. Some people come out here and go: “Well, what is there out here? There’s nothing out here! I don’t get the mystique of the desert! I’m leaving!” “Well, good! Get the fuck out and stay out! We don’t want you here any way!” [Laughs] And I mean that kindly! But it’s true, up in the high desert people want to be left alone! They don’t want outsiders coming in to the desert. And we get a lot of that, we get a lot of producers, directors and Hollywood people that come out here and say that they found the desert or whatever. Some people come out here and see nothing; I look at the desert and I see life! The emptiness is what makes it so full of emotion and beauty! That’s what people don’t see when they come out to the desert, they don’t get it. But how much of that is attached to the music? You know, very little.

You sometimes have a very soulful and peaceful, almost meditative way of approaching your music and behaving on stage, if that makes any sense to you for me to say that. Where does that soulfulness and peacefulness come from?

[Hesitating then laughing] I don’t know, Nicolas! That a good question… You know, hey, I’m still very unaccustomed to answering questions that make me wonder like “Where does it really come from?!” And I don’t sit here and go: “I wonder where I’m channeling all this passion from!” [Laughs] I don’t sit there and ask myself those questions, but, you know, it’s the love of music! I still genuinely enjoy getting up on stage and performing and sharing the stage with these great musicians. I’m very fortunate and blessed. I blame a lot of passion on Ian Astbury from The Cult. He’s my idol, I’m not afraid to admit it. He’s great singer and songwriter. He’s in a weird sort of way my teacher too, without him knowing. So I’m inspired by him a lot.

Peace is actually the name of Vista Chino’s album. Is this a word that actually summarize your personality or what you’re striving for?

Yeah, at the time when we put it out, that’s what we wanted. That’s what we want. That’s all we want. Through what we had gone through, to make that record coming out the other end was exactly that: it was peace. So it was very appropriate for the name of that record.

These past years you tried to reform Kyuss which ultimately led to founding Vista Chino. But are you disappointed that Josh Homme had never wanted to be part of all this, preventing a real full blown Kyuss reunion to happen?

Yeah, there was a point where I was disappointed, but now I just don’t care. It’s not worth the time and energy. Again, I’m more concerned about what type of fishing bait I’m gonna use when I take my kids fishing this week-end. I just don’t put that much thought into it, I’m more into thinking about my family, my wife and my home life. And I’m on a mission. Nicolas, I’m on a mission for zero drama. I see drama coming, I just turn away and I bail. I don’t want anything to do with one guy on one side of the fence, the other guy on the other side of the fence, and both of them got sticks and they’re sitting there poking at each other. Poke, poke, poke, like they are on a playground at an elementary school. I don’t want any of that. They can have it. They can have it all. Life’s too short. There are more important things for John Garcia to be concerned about than just complete total absurdity stuff like that. So, that, I definitely do not put too much thought into.

« I might just do an underwater polka record, for all I know, if that’s where my heart takes me! »

And what actually is your current relationship with Josh?

There’s none. You know, Nicolas, I wish him the best. I wish Josh Homme and Scott Reeder the best! I wish them long, healthy, fantastic, prosperous lives! I want nothing but the best for them. That’s it. And I mean that! I just let by gones be by gones, let it go and… Hey, you never know what happens in the future! I’m very lucky to have shared the stage with Josh and Scott, I appreciate that. What kind of stung a little bit was my relationship with Scott Reeder. Scott and I were really tight. So that one stung a little bit, that one hurt a little bit. Scott Reeder is the best bass player I’ve ever played with in my entire life. And he’s one of the best bass players in the entire world. And our friendship, we were really tight; we used to hang out all the time. I was over to his house every single day for years. But sometimes people grow apart and this is a direct result of that. Maybe, down the line, we can get back to that relationship, but he’s got his thing going on, I’ve got my thing going on. And again, I’m on a mission. My mission is: zero drama, freedom, family. That’s it. That is my mission. And Nicolas, guess what: guess who’s really happy now? Guess who’s really, really, truly, for the first time in a long, long time, with zero drama? Me. Man, I’m happy! I’ve got two wonderful kids, I’ve got the best wife in the history of mankind [laughs] and, you know, this is a special moment. This is a monumental moment for me and I want this to last for a very long time. It’s been great! It’s been so great to get to this point and finally release the solo record. People know that I’m passionate about this – that’s the constant word but it’s true! When I spent half of my day doing press yesterday, I’m realizing a lot of these stuff when people ask me these questions about what drives you, where are you at in your life, are you happy, what about this, what about that… I’m like: “Wow!” I need to really think about some of these things because I don’t sit there and ponder about them and sit on my back porch. [Instead] I’m playing Lego games and putting together Legos with my son. That’s where my head’s at. And going to rehearsal at night and barbecuing and swimming and prepping for camping… That’s keeping my eye on the ball! Everything else is secondary and I’m just lucky to be a part of it. I’m still lucky to be talking to almost a complete and total stranger on the other end of this line about something that I just recently created. That blows my mind!

You said that you wanted to concentrate on your solo band and I think I’ve read somewhere that the guys from Vista Chino, Unida and Hermano all wanted to make new records, but you had refused to do that in order to focus on you solo band, but aren’t they all a bit frustrated by that, actually?

Well, I don’t… [Laughs] I know that Arthur and Mike are not. I just saw Arthur a couple of days ago… They’re patient with me. They’re patient with their singer! Same with Dave Angstrom. Dandy (Brown) and Dave are getting together sometimes in the next couple of month. Dandy’s going up to Colorado and they’re gonna start the writing process for the next record. I told them: “Hey, look guys, it’s gonna be a while…” And they seem to be totally cool with it. They know that when I’m ready, [if they are ready too], then great. But if they’re not ready, then I’ll have to step back and figure out what else I’m gonna do. I move from one thing to the other really quick and they’ve been very supportive to me. If I were to say: “Hey, Mike and Arthur, I really want to sit down and do another record with you guys, can we start working?” They’re gonna tell me yes or no. I’m hoping that chances are they would say yes. Same with Hermano. I don’t know about Vista Chino. I don’t know if that’s ever gonna happen again. Right now, Nicolas, I doubt it. That was this very special project… But it’s also just another project that I did. I mean, there’s Kyuss, there’s Slo Burn, there’s Unida, there’s Hermano, there’s a solo project, there’s Vista Chino… Jesus, how many bands have I played in in my entire life?! Some people might consider that to be watering my career down. I don’t care. Where’s the rule book that says you need to be in one project and one project only? And if there’s a rule book, I threw it out the window a long time ago! “Well, you’re whoring yourself out!” “What do you mean I’m whoring myself out? You mean: you think I’m whoring myself out! Me, I go where my heart and gut tells me. So while you’re so consumed…” – you know, speaking to this other journalist, not you – “…while you’re so consumed thinking that I’m whoring myself out, you need the drama, or the so called drama in my life to make yours more complete? Is that it? Because I don’t feel that way!” “Yeah, but you are John, you are whoring yourself out, you just don’t see it that way.” “You see it that way. I don’t see it that way.” And again, if there’s a rule book that tells me that I need to be in one band or two bands or three bands or a hundred bands, I threw it out the window a long time ago. I go where my gut and heart tell me to go and I’m gonna continue to do that, and for me it’s all about being explorative and exploratory. This is a direct result of where my life takes me. I get bored if I stay in one spot! I’ve had a fruitful career! I’m thankful for that! I might just start another ten bands! Who knows? Nicolas, I might just do an underwater polka record, for all I know, if that’s where my heart takes me! But, again, I’m on a mission right now. My mission is zero drama, freedom, liberating and to continue with this great writer that I’m working with right now, Ehren Groban, my guitar player. I have a lot of good things in store and it’s an exciting time for me. Sorry for that long winding answer!

[Laugh] No problem! Many people have been wondering about that unreleased Unida album called The Great Divide (but also known as For The Working Man). Are there actual plans to release it someday?

I would love to! I really would! Obviously that’s gonna take me and Scott Reeder communicating (note: Scott played bass on the record). Never say never! I’d love to release that record. We’ll see. I don’t know. Again, I’ve got bigger fish to fry. Right now, again, I go back to that word: “mission”. There’s not any more room where I can fill up my schedule. My schedule is so booked right now. It’s starting to take just a little bit of a tiny toll on my family time but I can’t let this animal get too out of control, so I’ve got to put the reins on and say: “Wow, wow, wow, wow! Just slow down a little bit John! Don’t neglect the important things.” So I try to keep my eye on the ball.

You colleagues from Slo Burn have founded a new band called Brave Black Sea, have you heard it?

I have heard it! And I just invited them to open up for my record release party here in the desert. I stayed in contact with Chris Hale, he plays on my new record by the way! I stayed in contact with Damon Garrison, he plays on my new record by the way! And of course, my old buddy who I have a big respect for, Alfredo Hernandez. So I would love to see them and I’ve heard their music, I think it’s very tasty and very creative. I’m a fan! So yeah, I’ve heard of them, very familiar, those are my friends and I support them.

Interview conducted by phone on July, 18th and 19th 2014 by Spaceman.
Transcription, introduction and questions : Spaceman.

John Garcia official Facebook page : www.facebook.com/JohnGarciaOfficial

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