John Garcia, A Humble Man...

It's Sexy-Time...

John Garcia’s hanging with his family in California (I can hear children running about in the background) and he’s sincerely pleased that I rant and rave about the new Vista Chino album Peace. Could we say that essentially Vista Chino lives, while Kyuss Lives! is dead? “Yes, that’s right. Kyuss Lives! is over, finished, done and gone out, and we’ve started a new band with Vista Chino with myself and Brant Bjork and Bruno Fevery. We’re here to stay and I love playing with Brant and I love playing with Bruno. I’m inspired by them – I’m a great fan of theirs - and it’s great sharing the stage with them and now, after jumping through a couple of hoops and hurdles, we’re releasing this record so we’re in a good spot. It feels good to be here.”

Without wishing to get all 'fanboy' on you, I LOVE the new album; it doesn’t need the Kyuss Lives! moniker because it stands on its own merits. “I agree. I don’t give a shit anymore. All I care about really is my wife and kids, and the passion that I have for playing in a band with Bruno and Brant and Mike Dean from Corrosion of Conformity, that’s what it comes down to, and nobody has the right to take my joy away – nobody has the right to do that – you know what I mean?" He recounts how they injected a bunch of Vista Chino tunes into a recent set in Europe, and he gets increasingly passionate about how they "marry very well". But don't fear, he adds "We’ll always be playing some Kyuss songs but it feels really good to add some new, fresh music in there. It’s rad and we’re in a good spot.”

Didn’t Nick Oliveri do a lot of the bass work on the album? “Nick did the majority of it but I think Mike Dean does have a track in there; I think he does As You Wish, and so does Brant, Brant’s also playing bass on there so you’ve got three different players on there but Vista Chino is a three piece; it’s me, Brant and Bruno, but we’re super appreciative because Mike Dean, he’s obviously committed to Corrosion of Conformity, but we’re lucky he’s able to do these runs with us.”

Having sung with Kyuss, Slo Burn, Unida, and Hermano, to name but a few of the projects you’ve been involved with, is it a case of ‘I must sing’ or ‘I must create’ for you? He laughs but agrees. “Yeah, now I’ve got another band under my belt!”

It obviously means a lot to him and he struggles to find adequate words to describe the urge. He finally settles on “It’s a passion and I’m gonna be doing it in front of five people, five hundred people, five thousand, fifty thousand…I’m just going to be doing it. The ‘void’ is constant – it’s a constant void - and I need to fill it. It’s in my heart and it’s in my gut and it needs to be filled and I love performing live. I have to admit; I like to sing. I like singing in the studio, I love writing, I love sitting in my bedroom and writing and then going in the studio and creating. It’s fun for me – it’s still fun for me to do that – and I’m passionate about that. It’s like that old saying: ‘do something that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life’ - and I’m right there.”

He also acknowledges “the unsung heroes” that are his wife and kids: “They’re the ones who allow me to do this stuff because it takes a certain type of family to have their dad and their husband be gone for months at a time – and it’s hard on me as well. I’m gonna be 43 next month and I’m still doing it and they allow me to do this stuff and it feels good. It really feels good. My wife is very supportive, my kids are very supportive – we’re all family men – Brant has two wonderful boys, Bruno has two wonderful girls, I’ve got a son and a daughter, and we’re one big happy family and that’s the way it should be. So we’re movin’ and groovin’ and doin’ what we need to do.”

Speaking of grooving; I found there to be a deeper groove to the Vista Chino album over the previous Kyuss stuff. It’s very sexy; did you feel that, or was that just me? “A lot of people were asking when we were doing the record, ‘What’s it sound like?’ ‘What’s it gonna sound like?’ and I was like ‘I don’t fuckin’ know! I don’t know what it’s gonna sound like; I myself am curious as to see what it’s gonna sound like!’ “ He laughs, continuing “I think there’s some remnants of Kyuss in there, Dargona Dragona reminds me a lot of Kyuss, The Gambling Moose reminds me a lot of Kyuss but there’s a lot of exploration on there. You look at a song like Barcelonian and that song, like you said, it’s grooving; it is sexy. That’s the first time that a journalist has put it to me that way but I would definitely agree with that notion. I think there’s a certain amount of class and sexiness and all that with being explorative on these songs and within ourselves and that’s what happened. We trusted one another to do the jobs that we set out to do. Brant trusted me to leave me alone in his studio up in Joshua Tree. I trust Brant and Bruno – I wasn’t even in the studio while they were tracking these songs – so there was an incredible amount of trust for one another when we were doing this, and I think sometimes it marries well and sometimes it doesn’t but when it does you get something sexy like Barcelonian out of it.” He’s well pleased with it. You can tell.

It’s well raunchy. “I would agree with that notion, yes…I’m passionate about what I do and not everybody’s gonna dig it – and that’s cool, that’s alright – there’s always gonna be some comparison with Kyuss. Of course it’s gonna be compared to Kyuss because you’ve got one half of Kyuss in the band! So there’s gonna be some Kyuss layers and a bit of exploration and some of these terms but I’m just so stoked on some of the interest that we’ve gotten. And again; injecting these songs alongside some of the Kyuss songs on [Welcome to] Sky Valley, Blues for the Red Sun, And the Circus Leaves Town live, I have to admit, as one of the band members, it feels really good to get some fresh material in there. It feels great and it’s renewed. I never expected it to feel that way when we started playing some of these songs, I never expected playing these songs to make me feel as good as I did when we started mixing them in. It felt great and as time goes on, and when we come down there in January, we’re gonna be playin’ a lot of Kyuss tunes and a good part of that Vista Chino record so I’m super-stoked to be goin’ down there again, and I gotta tell you, I love Australia, I love Australians. I just can’t wait to go back there and play these tunes.”

I’m highly aroused that Vista Chino will be hitting our shores in 2014 and will definitely be catching these saucy fellows live. You’ve guested with Orange Goblin, Danko Jones,and Mondo Generator to name but a few; do you enjoy getting involved and contributing to other musicians' work? “Yeah, I do. You wanna know why? Because I get bored easily and sometimes it’s challenging when you get a call from someone like the Crystal Method, a techno group, wanting to know if you’re interested in singing a song; ‘Yeah! Let me hear it!’ and if it interests me then I’ll do it. Another band Arsenal, a lot of challenging stuff; I like those challenging projects that are exactly that, they’re challenging to me, and I love to take on projects. I’m not one of those guys that sings in one act and one act only. Fuck! How many bands have I played in over the years?! It’s countless fuckin’ dozens and I still love doin’ it because it’s being, going back to the word, exploratory. I like exploring, I like not being bored, I don’t like sitting in one spot, I don’t like loose ends and I like to explore and if people will have me and I dig ‘em then it's fun to be challenged.”

It’s been great talking to you, mate. “I appreciate the interest and can’t wait to back down there…”

John Garcia, a humble man and all round nice fellow.