Recently, Melissa had a chance to speak with John Garcia of Kyuss fame and the present vocalist of Vista Chino. Let’s read along, shall we?
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME, JOHN. I’M HUGE FAN AND THIS REALLY MEANS A LOT.
You are very welcome. Thanks you so much for your interest. I really appreciate that.
YOU RECENTLY SIGNED WITH NAPALM RECORDS AND YOU’RE RECORDING A SOLO ALBUM. WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO GO WITH NAPALM?
Vista Chino was signed with Napalm, so they had the first chance to pick up the record. I’m certainly glad that they did. You know, I have a great relationship with them. They’ve done nothing but great for me. They share the same passion that we all have for this record. But to answer your question, they had the first option and I’m certainly glad again that they picked it up.
SO YOUR NEW ALBUM WILL BE RELEASED IN AUGUST. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO TOUR?
Yes. I’m gonna be touring in Australia, leaving mid-September. Actually, I think it’s September 8th. We’ll only be down there for a very short jaunt, only four exclusive shows, then we’ll be on our way back and then we’ll be rehearsing for the European run, which is over 30 dates so we’ll be gone about 45 days. So we’re getting into a heavy European tour schedule and one that I’m looking forward to doing. I’d love to be able to tour the States and I’m working on it. So yeah, standard touring, working and writing the next record.
I UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’VE BEEN WANTING TO MAKE THIS SOLO ALBUM FOR A VERY LONG TIME. SO, WHAT TOOK SO LONG?
Um, what took so long? (laughs) You know, I don’t know. I was saying “yes” to a lot of projects and saying “no” to these songs that I’ve held onto for so long. This was something I’ve always wanted to do but I just couldn’t make it happen. I became my Chinese Democracy, if you will. It was just….always put on the back burner. And eventually I got tired of saying “yes” to all these projects and decided to say “yes” to these songs that I’ve developed a personal relationship with. It just took me 20 years to get it done. What a relief! You talk about pent up energy! This is a little bit of a monumental moment for me to finally have this come full circle.
SO IT’S LIKE A SENSE OF FREEDOM TO YOU?
I couldn’t put it better. Boy, let me tell you! I mean, it’s not like I was locked up like a ball and chain with Vista Chino or Hermano and Unida. I love those guys. But it does feel liberating to do everything yourself. Everything…..from writing the record with my co-writers to getting great song submissions from Danko Jones who wrote “5000 Miles”, and covering the song “Rolling Stone” by this band called Black Massif. I’ve good a good team. I got a great publicist, got a great record label, I’ve got a great touring manager. At this time, that’s all I need. I don’t need anything else right now and I’m very happy and very pleased on how they’re all doing.
I ALSO NOTICED YOU HAVE ROBBY KRIEGER FROM THE DOORS PLAYING ON “HER BULLETS ENERGY.” SO, THAT’S PRETTY CRAZY! HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?
Yeah, that is crazy. In the studio, we were looking at songs and we knew “Her Bullets Energy” was going on the album. It was my producer’s idea, Harper Hubb, and he said, “Hey man, I hear some Spanish guitar on this track.” And I said to him “Harper, I think that’s a great idea. Who do you know who plays Spanish guitar, because I don’t know anybody who plays Spanish guitar?” He goes, “Well, I know Robby Krieger”. And after I fell off my chair (laughs) I ask him if he thinks he’d do it. So he’s like “Let’s ask him!” So the first piece of the story is, getting Robby the track. The second part was, if he liked it. And the third, most important part…..if he’d do it. And the next thing we know, we’re in Robby’s studio in Glendale, California and we lay down this awesome track. It not only made the track better but he made the entire record better. I gotta give credit where credit is due, my producers did an excellent job and they were equally as passionate about the music as I was. When we started, I made a promise. I’m not going to do anything else. I need to do this. We worked long and hard on this record and I’m proud of it.
OH, THAT’S AWESOME. ONE THING THAT I REALLY LIKE ABOUT THE ALBUM IS THAT YOU WORK WITH SO MANY PEOPLE THAT YOU’RE ALREADY FAMILIAR WITH. YOU GOT DAVE FROM HERMANO ON GUITAR, A FEW DIFFERENT GUYS ON BASS. DID IT MAKE IT EASIER FOR THINGS TO COME TOGETHER AND TO RECORD?
Yes, certainly. When we were putting these songs together, we’d sit down with Harper and we all worked together. It was a group effort. Some of the songs changed dramatically and some of them stayed pretty damned close to the original composition. It was very refreshing to know Dandy Brown, Dave Angstrom, Danko Jones, Damien Harrison from Slo Burn, Chris Hale from Slo Burn. The relationships were very familiar. I’m very fortunate and very blessed to have worked with these guys.
I REALLY DIG YOUR COVER ART. THE IMAGERY OF AN OPEN ROAD GIVES THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU’RE DOING YOUR OWN THING. IS THERE ANYTHING SYMBOLIC BEHIND THE ART?
Yeah. I’m very proud of where I’m from. I wanted something that resonated with my daily environment. That big sheep – not a sheep, just want to clarify – is indigenous to two mountain ranges near where
I live. And it’s a beautiful, regal, unbelievable animal! One that demands and deserves respect. So, that resonated with me. I should mention the artist – Sam Yong, out of Melbourne, Australia. You can look him up on Facebook. Unbelievable! He drew that sheep completely for this project. What an honor, such an awesome artist. And then, having this come together with Jared Conner, another unbelievable artist out of Austin, Texas, so you got two amazing artists working together on the opposite ends of the world. And oh, you talk about luck and fortunate. Jared Connor put everything together and getting them to my house. You literally have to take a dirt road up a mile and a half to get to my place and that resonated with me. So, that open road, open desert road, definitely did that. It’s home. So when you listen to the record and see that visual and feel that.
COOL, IT KINDA TIES EVERYTHING TOGETHER
It ties everything together. Once again, I’m very proud of where I’m from. It just made perfect sense.
COOL. OKAY ONE FINAL QUESTION. IF YOU COULD COLLABORATE WITH ONE MUSICIAN – ALIVE OR DEAD - WHO WOULD IT BE?
That’s a cross between two of my favorite singers, Ian from The Cult who is still alive…and Jim Morrison. Why? As a singer, I’m just a fan of singers. I’m a fan of vocals. And I think those two individuals would be quite something to work with. Ian’s my idol, so it’d be nice to do something with him. And Jim, for obvious reasons. To work with a poet like that would be a dream come true, I’ve played with his guitarist.
JOHN. THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR TIME
Yes! Thanks a lot, thanks for the interest.