Video: John Garcia – Her Bullets Energy, Upcoming Euro Tour Dates

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John Garcia (ex-Kyuss,Vista Chino, Hermano, Unida, etc) has released a music video for “Her Bullets Energy,” featuring Robby Krieger of The Doors guesting on the song and appears in the video. View it below.

Garcia has also announced an upcoming summer European run:

Jun 19: Schmittner Open Air – Schmitten (DE)
Jun 26: De Vorstin – Hilversum (NL)
Jun 27: Race 61 – Finowfurt (DE)
Jun 28: Klubsen – Hamburg (DE)
Jun 30: Underground – Köln (DE)
Jul 01: Glocksee – Hannover (DE)
Jul 02: Garage – London (UK)
Jul 03: Vooruit Balzaal – Ghent (BE)
Jul 04: Rockwave Festival – Athens (GR)
Jul 05: Schlachthof – Wiesbaden (DE)
Jul 07: Club Vaudeville – Lindau (DE)
Jul 08: Strom – München (DE)
Jul 09: Rockhouse – Salzburg (AU)
Jul 10: Stoned From The Underground Festival 2015 – Erfurt (DE)

John Garcia -Steak -Komatsu: Live at Academy 3, Manchester, UK

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Stoner rock legend John Garcia has been extremely prolific of late. In addition to touring with Kyuss bandmates in Vista Chino, John has found time to record his first solo record which he is in town to promote.

Before we are greeted by the voice of the desert, it is time for support acts Komatsu and Londoners Steak to strut their stuff.

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The former possess some huge riffs but are let down by vocalist Mo Truijens who, despite his best efforts, drops a couple of notes. ‘Lockdown’ is the highlight of their set; all pounding drums and throbbing bass but it is an efficient not spectacular performance from this Dutch outfit.

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Steak features Desertfest organiser Reece amongst their number. So it is little surprise that they deliver a convincing take on the genre. Dishing out waves of fuzz from recent opus ‘Slab City’, their set is a swaggering assault on the senses which will win them many friends amongst the faithful gathered here tonight.

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Garcia and company are fired up. The set blends John’s solo material, the inevitable Kyuss classics and some charming rarities which are lapped up by the rabid crowd. ‘Tangy Sizzle’ features some punishing low end bass and a fantastically tight rhythm section capable of improvising exquisitely without indulging in showboating.

New single ‘Rolling Stoned’ garners a similar reception to ‘Inch Man’ delivered with that trademark howl but the real highlight is how John delves further into his catalogue as opposed to re-hashing Vista Chino’s recent touring set.

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Crowd energy is constantly high but pop of the night is reserved for Slo Burn classic ‘July’ with Garcia visibly impressed by the number of fans who know every word to even this obscure gem.

The solo material allows Garcia to flex his songwriting muscles, demonstrating his capability outside of working with the colossal talents of Messrs Homme and Bjork. The fact that new Vista Chino material is looming on the horizon will make it very interesting to see if John’s solo work has any impact on the direction his main group will take.

A true legend of the genre, Garcia brings the sand and spirit of the desert to a cold English night.

8/10

WORDS: ROSS BAKER

PHOTOS: LUKE DENHAM PHOTOGRAPHY

Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band – Black Flower Power

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Known for his work with Kyuss in the 1990s and more recently with Vista Chino, Brant Bjork, likewise his bandmate John Garcia, will release the solo album Black Power Flower under the flag of Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band, via Napalm Records.

Without wanting to compare artists and albums, Brant Bjork also wished to create more personal music with this new album, but on the contrary of John Garcia, Bjork goes more stoner and more traditional within the genre than Garcia went on his solo endeavor. ‘Controllers Destroyer’ opens the record in a conventional way with fat riffs accompanied by reminiscences of the doom sound, but ‘Stokely Up Now’ gets a rockier orientation giving the song a wider soundscape not being so muddy and somehow claustrophobic as usual. However, both directions aren’t always kept away from each other since the track ‘Budha Time (Everything Fine)’ is a fusion between stoner rock and rock’n’roll: if the strong guitar is doing its role in a supportive manner, a cleaner one is constantly breathing solos.

The album also has room for experimentation outside the stoner regular sonority as we have twin-guitars in ‘Ain’t No Runnin’’ and some guitar effects like wah-wah in ‘That’s A Fact Jack’ alternating with heavy riffs and a strong drumming work offering more vigor to the chorus. And finally, a shy desert psychedelic passage is delivered in the last song ‘Where You From Man’ because of the repetitive and somehow hypnotic canvas personalized by the well-paced drums and the several effects played in the guitars.

It seems that after a controversial period between the attempt to re-ignite Kyuss and the lawsuit by Josh Homme (QOTSA), the ex-members of that iconic band are at last enjoying the fruits of their work and reaching the success they deserve for the long time career they’ve built with sweat. Now, let’s wait for another Vista Chino album…

 

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7.5/10

Brant Bjork And The Low Desert Punk Band on Facebook

 

DIOGO FERREIRA

Steak – Slab City

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Fuzzed up London based Stoners Steak peddle a distorted sound that smacks you upside the head with its rumbling bass and muscular grooves. ‘Liquid Gold’ is built on walls of powerful desert style psychedelia with the eerie compressed vocals of Kippa adding a menace and paranoia to the trip which many acts have side stepped in favour of good-time party rock.
That’s not to say Steak don’t make an enjoyable headshaking racket. The nimble fretwork here recalls players like Nebula’s Eddie Glass with a molasses thick Sleep texture to the driving riffs that powers Slab City.
Like many Stoner releases it would have been impossible not to mention Kyuss but for John Garcia adding his distinctive vocals to album highlight ‘Pisser’. You can almost hear the smiles of the band members as Garcia’s unmistakable contributions gel with the delicious riffs.

That Harper Hug (Unida producer) and Garcia’s Unida bandmate Arthur Seay are involved in the recording makes for little surprise but while they clearly have friends in high places Steak’s songwriting is lean and trimmed of the indulgent jam sections which many act of this ilk languish in. It’s unashamedly retrospective in approach harking back to the late nineties in the same fashion which acts like Witchcraft take inspiration from the 60s and 70s. Secret track ‘Old Timer D.W.’ also features some nice Led Zep slide guitar.

Unquestionably metallic, there are no bluesy jams or instrumental break diluting the potency of their delicious riff driven assault. It’s uncomplicated and go for the throat approach won’t change the opinions of those not enthralled with stoner rock but one which fans of the acts referenced here will lap up.
‘Slab City’ won’t expand the profile of the genre but it is delivered with a loving and faithful zeal which you can’t help but fall for. Sure all the flavours of this platter will be instantly familiar with fans of the genre but no less juicy and tender. A lovely rendered depiction of the Palm desert filtered through gritty London charm Steak are doing what they love and doing it in style.

7/10

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WORDS ROSS BAKER

A Sense of Freedom – John Garcia

 

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As the frontman of Kyuss, John Garcia helped define stoner rock. Since their breakup he’s had success with the likes of Slo Burn, Hermano, and last year’s excellent Peace (Napalm Records) album with former Kyuss bandmates in Vista Chino. Finally, after 20-odd years in the business, he’s putting out a self-titled solo album. Ghost Cult’s Dan Swinhoe talks to John about how it feels to get a life-long project off his chest.

I heard you put everything else on hold for your solo album?

That’s right. I’ve been wanting to do this for a very long time, and I’ve literally have put this on hold myself for years. My former managers didn’t want me to do this, they wanted me to put it on hold, and I got tired of saying no to these songs. I had this collection of songs that I literally looked at every morning. I had this cardboard box that I kept of songs that were very close to me, they were very personal songs that I liked and had a relationship with, and felt bad for them. I was exhausted of saying yes, yes, yes to fucking everything else and I finally had to say yes to this group of songs. And I got to tell you, you talk about a sense of freedom and a feeling of being liberated – those are not even the words to explain how happy, excited and passionate I am about releasing this record.”

I’ve been working very hard on this project for a long time and it feels good to be where I’m at right now and all these other bands, all these other cars if you will, are parked in the garage. The Vista Chino car’s parked in the garage, the Unida car’s parked in the garage. Hermano, Sloburn, all these little projects that I’ve got going, they’re all parked. And this car that I’m in right now is fuelled up and she’s purring like a kitten. And I’m gonna take her out for a nice long drive, and I don’t plan on parking her any time in the near future, and it feels good.”

 

John Garcia album cover

So how long have you had this solo album in the works?
I’ve been wanting to do this since I was about 18 or 19 years old, and I’m going to be 44. You talk about pent up energy and pent up feeling and emotion- that’s a long time to have held on to some of these songs. I wrote ‘Her Bullets Energy’ while living in Palm Springs with Nick Oliveri, and if someone were to tell me that at 19 years old, “Hey kid, you’re going to release this song and Robby Krieger from The Doors is going to play Spanish guitar on it,” I would have told them, “You’re out of your fucking mind, go jump in a lake, there’s no possible way.” and here we are, me at 43 that song’s about to be released, it ends the record and Robby Krieger is playing Spanish guitar on it. Talk about a special moment that I will never ever forget.”

‘All These Walls’ is a rework of an old Slo Burn demo, ‘Cactus Jumper’. How did you pick which songs to put on the album and which to leave off, and how many are left in that cardboard box?
When I co-wrote ‘Cactus Jumper’ – now ‘All These Walls’- with [Slo Burn bandmates] Chris Hale, Damon Garrison and Brady Houghton, that was special to me. We got together at this little Mexican restaurant in Palm Springs about 5 years ago and I told them that I wanted to put this song on my solo record. For some reason I felt a connection with that song and I thought, you know what, I’m gonna redo this one, this is a song that speaks to me, that’s personal to me.”

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I have a total of about 44 songs, and I picked out 14, and only 11 of them made it. So there’s quite a bit more. There’s no rhyme or reason behind this collection. I didn’t get methodical. It just made perfect sense to have this group of songs be sequenced the way that were and have them be given a shot to have new life brought back into them at my age. This group of songs is a collective thing but songs that were very special to me and I knew eventually I wanted to release, and if I ever were to release a solo record this group of songs needed to see the light of day.”

This is obviously a very personal project but you’ve got a cover on there and Danko Jones wrote a song for you – was it difficult to give up places on the record if you’ve got others waiting to be heard?
Danko Jones wrote ‘5000 miles’ specifically for me about 10 years ago. What an honour and privilege to have someone like Danko write a song specifically for me. We always had these conversations when were on tour together of me releasing a solo record and so he took our conversations and recorded this very crude demo while he was on his balcony and he sent it to me. I immediately fell in love with it and there it went on a CD in my little cardboard box, and there it sat. I knew I was going to get to it and eventually I did.”

 

I’m a fan of songs and I’m a fan of music. I don’t care who wrote it. If I like it, I’m going to most likely cover it. I got a chance to see band called Black Mastiff out of Canada when Vista Chino rolled through town and I fell in love with one of their songs [‘Rolling Stoned’] so much that I had to put it on the record. If I could sing like Philip Bailey from Earth, Wind and Fire chances are there was gonna be an Earth, Wind and Fire song on this record. My next record could be 100% full of covers. If a song touches me and it moves me, chances are I’m gonna cover it and I’m gonna sing it. I personally don’t seen anything wrong with that.”

Was it different recording as a solo artist as opposed to a band?
Yeah it was, because each musician was hand-picked for a specific song. I’m not a guitar player, my guitar playing is very primitive, but my ideas come down and if I give my ideas to Dave Angstrom [Hermano] like I did with ‘My Mind’, it turns it into something that’s special. There’s not just one group of guys that I worked with, there’s 10 or 15 guitar players and it was an honour to work with every one of them. Dave Angstroms, Eric Belt, Danko Jones, Robbie Krieger, Nick Oliveri, Chris Hale, Damien Garrison, Mark Diamond [The Dwarves]. These are great players and I’m very honoured to play with them in the studio for this collection of songs and I think record would not have been nearly as good without these guys.”
Was it hard to get that continuity throughout the album?

The conducive part of it was obviously my voice and the percussionist Tom Brayton. Those two pieces made it more conducive because all these collection of songs were from spread out throughout my career from 20 years old to 10 years old to 5 years old to a couple of years old so it had to flow, so we tried to make it sound it wasn’t recorded in different eras. It was a very conscious thing what we wanted to sound like something with flow, and conscious of keeping it simple.”
That’s where the producers and the passion came in. the musicians were just as passionate about the songs as I was, as the producers were, so that made it really, really easy to go in and record. Again credit where credit is due, Harper Hug and Trevor Whatever at Thunder Underground made it all happen. I couldn’t have done it without them. It’s great to have producers that are equally passionate about the songs and the music as I was.”

How long did recording take?

It took a year in the planning to due scheduling the players, but start to finish, once we started tracking it took about 30 days. I could have stayed in there for another month but at some point in time you lift your hands up. At that time we were going, “What about this other mix, what about this mix,” and we were thinking if we keep on finger fucking this thing we’re gonna ruin it, and I think at the end of the sessions we looked at each other we went, “Ok, let’s just get it out.”

Does the personal nature of the album mean there more pressure or less pressure than normal?

Super excited is not the word. I feel like I’ve got handcuffs off me. Not like I was being held hostage by anybody else or another band, but in a way like why haven’t I done this before? A big monumental moment is upon me and I’m basking in it. I’m nervous, but it’s a good nervous. I’m exposed, not under a cloak of a band name, but just my own first and last. But there is an excitable nervousness back behind it. It’s good, if I wasn’t nervous about it, I would be worried.”

Some people are not going to dig it, and it’s not their thing, and that’s alright. I’m not looking to change the face of rock and roll with this record, I’m not looking to become a rock star, I was never one to begin with, I don’t want to be one, and I’m not backstage thinking I am one. That doesn’t interest me. What interests me is creating and being on stage.”

It’s been about a year since Vista Chino’s album Peace came out – was worth all the legal troubles you had about the name now you’ve got some hindsight?
Let’s reword it- would I do it again? No. Because the shit I had to go through behind the scenes – I don’t want anybody to go through that. If I would have known the amount of hurt and heartache that I was about to embark on, no fucking way I would have done it. Absolutely not a chance in hell, I would have went in the other direction and never looked back.”

But we did it. All the shit we went through, we pulled it off and nobody was going to stop us. We were on a fucking mission. There was no question about it, we knew we couldn’t just say, “Ok, later, I’m done.” We knew we were on a mission and had to do it, there was no turning back. We were on a strict hard-core mission to get that record done and we did.”

Is it still hard to think about?

I don’t even think about it anymore. All of that stuff is in the past fully and I’ve moved on a long time ago.

John Garcia on Facebook

 

DAN SWINHOE

 

John Garcia – John Garcia

John Garcia album cover

 

As the voice of Desert rock, John Garcia‘s CV is pretty impressive. He’s fronted a fair few classics with the likes of Kyuss and Slo Burn and shown he’s still got it following last year’s almost-Kyuss album with Vista Chino. But up until now he’s never struck out on his own.

 

Now after more than 20 years John Garcia the solo artist has brought out a self-titled album (Napalm). Featuring guitarist Robby Krieger of The Doors and recorded at his Horse Latitudes studio in Los Angeles, the album features songs that Garcia has collected through the years but never released. The results are a bit of a mixed affair all in all.

 

Opener ‘My Mind’ is a belter, Garcia’s gritty and instantly recognisable vocals cut across simple but dirty guitars with a huge chorus that sticks in your head for days. But unfortunately the album rarely gets as good again. A cover of Black Mastiff‘s ‘Rolling Stoned’ follows and has an enjoyable stoner vibe but is largely uneventful, and ‘Confusion’ lacks any kind of drive.

 

As a whole there is less of a stoner groove and more of a fuzzy 70s hard rock feel about the album. While some of the slower songs work, ‘Flower’ and ‘His Bullets Energy’ show off Garcia’s soulful yet raw vocal style, these quality numbers are outnumbered by the more laidback ones, meaning there often feels like a lack of urgency to the record as a whole.

 

Despite the fair share of average moments there are some real highs. The stomping Danko Jones-penned ‘5000 Miles’ is probably the albums best song with its bluesy gallop, while ‘All These Walls’ (a re-recorded version of a Slo Burn demo) and ‘SaddleBack’ are brimming with the kind of energy that’s lacking elsewhere.

 

While not up there with his classic releases, John Garcia is a solid if unspectacular affair with some real moments of quality but plenty of uninspiring ones too. Fans will lap up another helping of Garcia’s impressive vocals, but anyone hoping for another dose of Kyuss-inspired psychedelia will be disappointed.

 

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7.5/10

John Garcia on Facebook

 

DAN SWINHOE

 

 

Desert Rock Lifers: An Interview With Vista Chino

 

The legacy of popular desert rockers Kyuss spans nearly 25 years and attracted a vast audience for its distinctive riff oriented sound. From songs such as ‘Thumb’, ‘Green Machine’, and ‘One Inch Man’, it all featured a style that is distinctively made in the desert. In 2010, band front man John Garcia did a European ‘Garcia Does Kyuss tour’, sparking renewed interest in the band since their untimely demise in 1995. Drummer Brant Bjork and bassist Nick Oliveri both jumped on stage and did ‘Green Machine’ and ‘Gardenia’ with Garcia. This appearance led to a Kyuss Lives! tour in Europe later that same year and leading throughout 2011 across the globe. The band then announced a possible album under the Kyuss Lives! moniker. Following that moment, former members, guitarist Josh Homme and bassist Scott Reeder filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Kyuss Lives! members in March 2012. This suit attempted them to stop using the Kyuss Lives! name. After the lawsuit stopped them from using the Kyuss Lives! name to record a full length release, Garcia and Bjork revamped under the Vista Chino moniker and recorded their newest release, Peace. Garcia spoke to Ghost Cult Magazine about the lawsuit, restarting as Vista Chino, having new members and life in the desert.

You put on a killer set in Los Angeles. How did you feel about the show?

It was a fun night. I always enjoy playing LA. It’s our hometown so to speak. Thank you. I appreciate that.

How does it feel to finally get the Vista Chino chapter of your life going after everything that’s happened?

It feels really good. What a relief. It was a long hard road, and what it comes down to is the record. That’s why we’re here and it felt good to have a nice, fresh, new beginning and start. As you can imagine, it was welcomed and it feels good.

After what’s happened this past year, was it more frustration on your part over what Josh and Scott did, or was it disappointment with the way this whole thing unfolded?

It was both and extends that to super broad spectrums. It was a bummer. Nobody wants a lawsuit against them. It’s like somebody poking a stick at you. It was a major bummer for me and my family. Again, how awesome to have a fresh new beginning and moving forward. It was necessary. All of that doesn’t deserve the word secondary, because it truly is bullshit. What it comes down to is the record Peace, and that’s what we want, and that’s what we have now. It feels really good.

Were the songs on Peace songs you had brewing before the legal mess began?

I started getting into empty rooms with Brant and Bruno about the time of the beginning of the lawsuit. But it became to a screeching halt once we found that Josh and Scott were suing us. Instead of being in the studio and writing where we wanted to be, we had to do depositions. The appropriate verbiage is everything came to a screeching halt. We had to hold off and jump through some hoops to get to Brant’s studio up in Joshua Tree, where we recorded it. It was a long, hard road, but we eventually got there. When you have a void and it needs to be filled, you will find a way, no matter what you’re going through in life. It’s a necessity and that’s what we did.

Brant produced the record?

Brant Bjork produced the record. I think he did a great job.

What was it about him producing the record? What did he bring to Peace? You had Chris Goss produce for a long time in the old days.

We thought about Chris Goss and Joe Barresi, and a few other producers. We knew what we wanted. It’s not like we’re in our late teens and 20s going through the emotions of capturing that live sound onto tape. We needed somebody to get us there. They were the perfect conduit – Chris and Joe Barresi. But after being in the music business for so many years, you know what you want to sound like, what you want to hear, and what you want to feel. We thought we should very well to do it ourselves. I told Brant to get us there. Everything that you hear on the record was meant to sound as you hear it. If you hear an overdriven distorted vocal line, that’s meant to be there. Find that and exploring that is where the real fun comes in. It’s finding that one particular take and one particular sound that marry well with the guitar, bass and drums, and the rattling in between. After that, it goes into the gambling moose. That was meant to be there. The amount of trust Brant put in me to sing some of his melodies and lyrics, and the amount of trust I put in Brant as a producer into this was equally as heavy. It goes back to the trust thing. I trusted him, he trusted me, we all trusted each other. Not being in the environment for over 15 years and having Bruno [Fevery] in the mix, and having Nick [Oliveri] come in and Mike Dean. Even Brant played bass on this. It was an experience.

You mentioned Bruno, who you worked with in the past. What was it about him that made you want him in Vista Chino? He’s almost like a desert guy who’s not from the desert.

Bruno’s a personal friend of mine. We played together in another band from Belgium called Arsenal. I had already had a relationship with Bruno. What is it about Bruno? It’s his heart. It’s his character. He’s a really sweet guy all the way around. He’s a kind, cool, gentle human being. That’s what I found in Bruno that made our relationship click.

He used to play in a Kyuss cover band years ago?

You know I think he did. I think he did play in a tribute band to Kyuss. One of the main guys in Arsenal, a guy by the name of Hendrik Willemyns, had hired Bruno and he was part of Arsenal. Hendrik came up to me and said ‘you know John. If you ever wanted to play some Kyuss songs and needed a guitar player – that’s your guy.’ I went ‘thanks dude, I’ll keep that in mind.’ That wasn’t high on my priority list at that time when I was playing with Arsenal. I always remembered that and when I started doing Garcia Does Kyuss, he was my first pick and my only pick. I got really lucky with him.

He’s almost like a desert guy who got lost and ended up in Belgium in a weird way.

He’s definitely got the character of a desert guy for sure. It’s a big part of it.

On bass you have Mike Dean. How did he get into the mix considering he’s in Corrosion of Conformity?

When Brant and I knew we had to find a replacement, I told him who was at the top of my wish list and he told me who was at the top of his wish list, and we talked about it. Mike Dean was a perfect match. Luckily he said yes. Brant Bjork, more than me, was a massive C.O.C. fan. He used to draw pictures of Mike Dean on his Pee Chee folder back in high school when I was sitting with him in detention for crying out loud. So it was very clear that we should go with Mike and we’re very lucky. I can’t talk highly enough about that guy. He’s super intelligent and a pretty melodic bass player.

Is Mike a full time Vista Chino member?

Mike’s got commitments too, and he’s still very committed to C.O.C. I know he has some commitments coming up. As long as he’s got some down time we’re very happy to have him. We’re going with the flow now and right now there’s nobody else but Mike Dean. We’re trying to nail down as many dates with Mike, and he’s very much a part of Vista Chino. It’s an open ended question and I’ll leave it open ended for now.

How was the US tour? It’s been a while since you last toured the US.

It’s been a while and under the name Vista Chino there’s some people not knowing about it. There were a few shows that were lackluster attendance wise. Not too many. Whether it were for five people or 50 people or 500 people, when I look over and see Mike Dean and look behind me and see Brant Bjork, and look over to my left and see Bruno Fevery, these guys bring it no matter what. That’s our plight. We very well could still be playing in front of five or 50 people, but we don’t care. We’ve done it before and we’ll keep doing it. It doesn’t make a difference to us. We’re gonna be doing it anyways. It feels good when it’s that much more intimate.

Who came up with the name Vista Chino?

Vista Chino is a street in Palm Springs. We’re very proud of where we come from. Even in Kyuss, it was a big part of who the band was and we’re very proud of not being from Los Angeles. Nothing against LA…although it’s two hours away, it’s still very alienated from that scene and what the city is. When Brant came up with that name, it immediately resonated with me because it was home. As well as the artwork, it’s desert graffiti from where we’re from. The day farmers are very much where we’re from. The name resonates with us and it makes perfect sense.

What do you think makes Palm Springs so magical? Prior to Kyuss, most people’s connection to Palm Springs was Frank Sinatra.

Yeah you’re right! Frank and everyone in The Rat Pack used to frequent out here all the time. Even Humphrey Bogart to Marilyn Monroe all used to come and hang out. There’s Old Palm Springs which is awesome. I love going to where Frank used to hang out and listen to that type of music. Either people get the desert or they don’t get the desert. They come out here and say ‘what’s so magical about this place?’ They see nothing but barren, lifeless death. There’s nothing here. There’s that mentality and there’s people who get the desert. Being born and raised in the desert, I see nothing but life. When I drive through Death Valley, a lot of people see nothing but baroness and death. I see so much life and there’s a certain beauty about the desert, and a certain feeling and emotion that resonates with me. I once moved to Los Angeles for a veterinary diagnostic career, which I was and still am into. I immediately knew I made a mistake. We kept our home out here and I spent about a year out there to finish my commitment. Upon moving back to the desert, what a sigh of relief came over me. I’m not one to say that I go out to the desert, eat a bunch of peyote and turn into the shamanistic Jim Morrison guy. I’m not like that. I’m not a poet. For me to articulate how the desert makes me feel or what’s so special about the desert, there’s only one person who could articulate it better than me – his name is John C Van Dyke and you could pick up his book, appropriately titled The Desert back in the early 1900s. Him and his mule explored the desert from Southern Colorado down to New Mexico and Arizona and spent a lot of time in Death Valley. He put the desert into words that I’m still trying to define in my head.

Aside from Vista Chino, you relaunched Unida. Is this correct?

Well I wouldn’t say relaunching. I would say taking her out for a ride, kind of dusting her off for a bit, putting some gasoline in her and taking her out for a spin again. But it’s fun. I play in a lot of bands. All of them sit in an idling. Depending on my mood, it’s fun to revisit to sing those songs again. To sing “Black Woman” and “Wet” and some of the songs that Unida does is fun for me. I like Arthur [Seay, guitarist] and Mike [Cancino, drums], and I’m super privileged to play with such great musicians. I’m very fortunate to find people like Arthur, and even the guys from Slo Burn like Chris [Hale, guitarist] and Brady [Houghton, drums]. I’m still in touch with them. They’re coming to my son’s fourth birthday party at a park in Palms Springs this Saturday. I still see and talk to these guys. It’s cool to revisit and go back sometimes.

What other bands are you playing with?

I played in Kyuss, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, and Vista Chino. I get offers all the time from bands to sing on their stuff. Some of them I can do. Some of them I’m not interested in doing. Mad City Rockers in Italy, The Crystal Method out of Los Angeles…believe it or not I’ve done stuff with them…Danko Jones out of Toronto, Canada. Those guest appearances along with the bands I just mentioned. It’s still fun for me and it’s a passion. I’m lucky to have a wife that allows me to be in that type of an environment I’m in on a nightly basis when I’m on the road with any of these touring acts. My family’s the unsung hero here.

You mentioned the veterinary career. Are you still doing that?

No. I live vicariously through my wife. She’s still in the field. She always tells me ‘anytime you want to come back, you’re more than welcome to…’ That’s also a passion of mine as well. Being a veterinary technician and doing an emergency C-section because a 120 pound Irish wolfhound is in breach at three o clock in the morning – that still interests me. Doing that is still a passion of mine. Maybe one of these days I might go back. I don’t know. I’m committed to Vista Chino and we’re about to embark on a long 40 date tour over in Europe and I leave in less than two weeks. We’re in a good spot now.

vistaChino

Vista Chino on Facebook

Rei Nishimoto

Vista Chino – Peace

Vista-Chino-Peace-800x800Reunions can be wonderful things. Bands get to re-live the halcyon glory of days long past, riding a wave of rose-tinted nostalgia from critics who still wax lyrical about their seminal debut album some 20-odd years ago, and for fans who lap up the chance to see their heroes in the flesh and hear the old classics they know and love so well. New material is an added bonus, for often these reunited acts are content to let their existing body of work do the talking, and fear the criticism of a far more critical audience with shorter attention spans than those before. However, these glory-filled reunions can go badly wrong, as Vista Chino discovered recently. Continue reading