John Garcia long ago cemented his legacy as one of the most recognizable and powerful voices in the rock music. If his career only consisted of his work with Kyuss he would still be a legend. But when thinking of John Garcia’s career you have to mention his vocal performances with his other bands, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano and Vista Chino as well. The dudes voice is literally a stoner rock soundtrack and is all over some great songs. His unique style and grit are a stoner rock signature that over the years many have tried but can never duplicate.
In recent years Garcia has embarked on a solo career and in 2014 dropped a very nice debut self titled record. The album featured a ton of guest appearances by high caliber musicians including former band members like Nick Oliveri (Kyuss) and Robby Krieger from the Doors just to name a few. Next Garcia took an acoustic trip with versions of songs from his solo stuff along with some fresh arrangements of Kyuss classics on the Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues. This album also features Ehren Groban (Guitar), Mike Pygmie (bass) and Greg Saenz (percussion) who of course are now known as the band of gold.
So let us now look at the latest release from Mr. Garcia. Dropped on January 4th 2019 through Napalm Records the third installment of the Garcia solo run is an absolutely beautiful record. The album which is simply titled John Garcia and The Band Of Gold was produced by the one and only Chris Goss and features 11 tracks. First off, Garcia has put together an amazing band whos chemistry and style gel perfectly. Look no further than the albums opening track Space Vato for direct evidence of this. The 2:45 instrumental track sets the tone with a slow swelling intro before it kicks into overdrive with Mike Pygme killing it on some tasty and ripping bass runs. Greg Saenz drumming style pushes the song forward dropping snare hits like shotgun blasts. Riff master Ehren Groban plays with a very fluid and smooth style. The three together make a heavy monster beautiful.
The album then drops into a swanky little groove called Jim’s Whiskers that features some killer riffs and solo work by Ehren Groban on guitar. It doesn’t take long to hear those classic Garica vocal pipes and he sounds as strong as ever. He has such a great natural tone that was made for stoner rock rock grooves. The next track Chicken Delight has such a great feel and groove to it. Vocally Garcia creates a really cool dynamic that creates some killer tension over the music. He uses his voice like an instrument that helps shape the over all feel. I love how aggressive Saenz drumming attacks the groove on this track but still manages to stay laid back while punching the riffs home.
This album is full of killer riffs and plenty of heavy. My Everything is another strong track that has the band of gold laying out the perfect foundation for Garcia to paint over. The songs breakdown has some real nice guitar work by Groban. Don’t Even Think About it is another track that has The Band Of Gold laying fire while Garcia does his thing. The main riff has a serious hook to it while Pygme and Seanz hold down a heavy gut punching groove. The vocals have that classic Garcia tone but also sound fresh and energetic. Again, Garcia creates very interesting dynamics that had to the already strong melodies. What Garcia does vocally amazes me. The way he uses is range and natural tone add so much depth to the music. What he does is very subtle, but it takes true skill and craftsmanship.
By far my favorite track on the record is Apache Junction. This little chem is a chugging masterpiece. I love the feel of this tune. The Band Of Gold shine on this track while Garcia belts out over the top with grit and an amazing vocal tone. The guitar tone sounds tits and I love the really subtle and intricate parts of the riffs. Seanz holds it down while Pygme and Groban drive it home. Again, The Band Of Gold just have that special magic. They just capture a certain feel and attitude that sounds so natural.
I’m a big fan of this record and can easily see it being on a lot of best of lists at the end of the year. I think Garcia sounds great and has put together an amazing band that is clicking on all cylinders. I also have to say these are just great songs. I’m a huge fan of what I call the feel. It is hard to put in words but you know it when you hear it, or should I say feel it. This record has it. It sounds so natural and pure. Nothing is forced or fake. There is something so magical when a band can have such strong chemistry and connection. In my opinion Garcia, Groban, Pygmie and Seanz together have that magic. My hope is that we will get more new music from Garcia and The Band Of Gold in the future.