Tag Archives: Slo Burn

GARCIA: WHAT HAPPENED?

No doubt John Garcia has one of the most powerful and unique voices in stoner-metal rock. His role as the lead singer and frontman of Kyuss created a pattern and meant a huge influence for many bands and musicians. The legacy left by this band is outstanding and meant the foundings of the style.

kyuss band

Unfortunately at some point, like many bands, members decided to split ways, being Josh Homme the most successful thanks to Queens of the Stone Age, a project whose first album saw the light back in 1998 and has been following a rising career up to the stardom. John Garcia though, throughout these years, has been trying luck with different projects, which were never steady nor constant, and characterized by remaining in a more underground (almost nonexistent) scene.

Many people sure think it’s not fair to compare both artists, but as a fan, in an attempt to understand what’s going on with Garcia, it’s difficult not to do so.

Back in the day, Garcia released with Slo Burn one of the most epic ep’s I can remember, Amusing the Amazing. 4 songs of pure energy and rage, proving there was life after Kyuss, and creating great expectations among fans, who were delighted. Slo Burn kept part of the desert essence of Kyuss, but at the same time it was more metal, and very straight to the face. I missed their last show in London for 2-3 weeks, a pity. I’m sure probably I’d be adding it to my fave shows, but fate didn’t want to favor me this time.

Once the project was over, Garcia set up another band he led named Unida. They only released an album, Coping with the Urban Coyote, which was also terrific. I remember back in Spain, when internet was a modem (not modern)  luxury and downloading a song used to take ages, there was a second album rumored which never saw the light, and there were leaked songs circulating, which were pretty good, actually. I never understood what happened. Again, the project didn’t manage to stand for itself, and the band disintegrated.

At the same time, Homme, who had been collaborating with Mark Lanegan among others, finally created QOTSA, a band which has been rising step by step, with no major quality failures except for the weird Era Vulgaris, but lots of changes in the lineup, which didn’t affect the evolution of Homme, who was and still is in control of everything.

Garcia came up to the ring with Hermano, band which released three albums. Only a Suggestion, the debut, was pretty cool, the second, Dare I Say, is expendable and not quite remarkable, and the third, Into the Exam Room wasn’t that bad. And then again, the union failed. Hermano hasn’t officially split, but hiatus has lasted for long time.

garcia

In the last years Garcia has been attempting to try luck by resurrecting his old projects, including Kyuss, under the name of Kyuss Lives, with Nick Oliveri and Brant Bjork, which was followed by a lawsuit from Homme and Scott Reeder, for bad use of the trademark. I saw them a couple of times at two festivals, and it was a good exercise of nostalgia, obviously, and the band was tight and solid, but…you know, that wasn’t Kyuss. After this trouble, Vista Chino rose from the ashes of Kyuss Lives as a trio, but frankly speaking, the work sounds repetitive and monotonous, and eventually I’ve finally lost my interest completely.

Last week Unida were confirmed as part of the lineup of a Spanish festival and I just couldn’t believe it. Unida again? WTF? John, man, what the hell is going on?

Trying to be as much respectful as possible, these continuous attempts to succeed through the reunion nostalgic effect are, in my opinion, a way to creep after your legacy in a classless way, and I find this whole decline a bit pathetic. I don’t care whether it’s for the money or the success, I thought Garcia was really taking care of his business, trying to go on with his style avoiding becoming mainstream, but now, I only see a caricature of the powerful leader he used to be, and that makes me really really sad.

John, man, what happened?

* Currently listening to Coping with the Human Coyote

ALBUM OF WEEK 15 – …ONLY A SUGGESTION

I used to adore Kyuss, and any single project afterwards, Slo Burn, Unida, Hermano, QOTSAJohn Garcia’s voice was, and still is, one of the most powerful, yet underrated, voices in rock, genuine and unique. Whatever his proposal was, I was up to it. But at certain point I got tired of Kyuss, and especially of the frontman.

I don’t listen to Kyuss albums very often nowadays, and reckon my interest falls directly onto Homme’s QOTSA. How come? That’s good question, and now I know the answer. You remember that funny statement which says something like “I don’t hate Springsteen, but his fans are loathsome”? Well, this is what happens to me. I got tired of Kyuss and Garcia, because of the tedious worship of the diehard fans towards the band. Same happened with Pearl Jam. I used to love them, they were my favorite band when I was 16, and remember myself trying to convert everyone into PearlJamism, till some day, for some reason the existing fanaticism started bothering me somehow, and I went easier. Not that I hate Vedder nowadays, but hmm, I don’t see him as cool as I used to.

Well, many people adoring Kyuss have got stucked in both the band and the style, with all due respect. Of course their legacy is outstanding, they opened a new path and inspired many great bands, but it should fair to remind that bands such as Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Monster Magnet, and many others were their influence. Stoner is nowadays a very generic label applied to any kind of bands, from Down to Fu Manchu, Nebula and Sleep. Well, labeling got crazy at some point and now there are lots of subgenres I can’t recall. I don’t know, I stand for the classics.

I’ve just remembered the first web and forum I subscribed to was stonerrock.com with my real surname, back in 2000, so innocent! Just discovered this site was sucked into the void in 2010. What a shame!

Good ol’ times! When I got back from London in 2000 I was referred as the Stoner girl, however, visiting my mates in  London, I was labeled as Toi the punk rocker, as if the two styles couldn’t  be compatible.

One of my first posts related to the album of the week last year, was related to Amusing the Amazing, that awesome EP by Slo Burn, the first, and probably the best project Garcia carried out once Kyuss were done for good.

Coping with the Urban Coyote, released by Man’s Ruin Records, was the second proposal Garcia surprised us with a new project named Unida. Unfortunately it didn’t last long, although there were many unreleased tracks travelling through internet. Yeah, those times when it took you 3 days to download a song at awful quality. I’m proud and lucky to say I saw Unida performing at the Garage in London, and I still keep a t-shirt, now shrunk, purchased at the show, which years later, was my outfit to see Hermano at Azkena Rock Festival. Never seen anyone from Spain wearing that tee, which makes it kind of unique item for me.

It was 2-3 weeks ago when my friend Xavi, precisely the one who was passing through a crazy Slo Burn mania stage when I wrote that post, visit me at The Hellhouse to have lunch together. While finishing cooking I asked him to play some music, and he chose an old copy of …Only a Suggestion. Needless to say, after listening to it several times in a row on my own, I purchased an original copy.

We were chatting and eating, but I couldn’t help stopping the conversation, and start an off topic regarding how good this album is. As if it was the first time I was listening to it. I’m serious saying at least it was 3 years, even 4, since I hadn’t played it. Don’t ask questions, I felt like an asshole, and had an unusual weird feeling: regret.

…Only a Suggestion was the debut album of Garcia’s most enduring project, Hermano, which I could see on stage a couple of times. With this band, it was confirmed one album/ep sometimes is better than a extended discography, as Hermano’s latest releases didn’t keep at the same level. However these 8 songs, 7 actually, are pure adrenaline. Straight to the point, no concessions, no filling tunes, just the essence of the band at its utmost. Play this album, at eleven, and listen to songs such as Manager’s Special, Senor Moreno’s Plan, or 5 to 5…you’ll shit on your pants, ha!

Thus, after all, I must admit John Garcia, aka Juanico has been, is and sure will be, a reference for many, and one of a kind, so who cares about the bothering fans? Not me anymore. Long live the stoner vet!!!

ALBUM OF WEEK 10 – AMUSING THE AMAZING

I know Amusing the Amazing cannot be considered a proper album, as it only includes four tracks, yet I’ve recovered from the shelf and I’m listening to it with complete pleasure.

Considering last week I chose one of QOTSA’s I’m definitely having a revival of my Stoner days, and yes, both bands are branches of the same mother tree: Kyuss.

Maybe it’s time to talk about Kyuss a bit. I don’t intend to preach on the wonders of the band, but they definitely left a huge mark on me, and many others.

It’ curious though that this is a cult band, totally underground, which never achieved major commercial success, but with the passing of time, were gaining fans all around the world.

I never saw them alive, however I think I’ve seen all their former members playing on stage in different projects, what is out of question is that they all are workaholics and love playing…and I’m grateful for that.

The two main brains here were John Garcia and Josh Homme, and it’s a tale like the way their careers developed once they split ways: Homme leading QOTSA and joining his strength together with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones with Them Crooked Vultures, and John Garcia trying to find his definite project, away from commercial success and recognition, at a minor level.

People adore Garcia, no matter what he does, who he plays with, he’s a true metal head, and will be till the end of his days. From time he gifts us with projects such as Unida or Hermano, but Slo Burn, man, I reckon this should have been the one.

Amusing the Amazing has these perfect four tracks you can listen one time and another, and another…so heavy and powerful, with strong and consistent drums, guitars with distortion turned to 11, and awesome riffs. Then you listen to John Garcia’s melodies and screams and think “Damn bastard! How can you be so good?”

There’s too much hysteric pose regarding Kyuss, I get sick of fans and forget about the band for some time. I’ve even admitted I get tired of Garcia’s voice, but whenever I listen to this ep, as I’m doing at this very moment, you forget about that crap, he’s a fantastic singer for sure.

I hadn’t listened to Slo Burn for aaages, and it’s funny a friend of mine is passing through identical stage, he’s completely Slo Burnian, and we are commenting every day. There’s not much to comment when there are only four songs, but it’s kind of funny because we are like Beavis and Butt-head:

–          The starting of Prizefighter is amazing

–          Yeah man! Fuckin’ A!

–          I said I Pilot I Pilot

–          I said I Pilot the Duuuuune

–          Huh huh! Cool!

–          He he he he! I got it in vinyl

–          You’re a basterd motherfucker!

–          Huh huh! July is cool, man!

–          Yes, it is! I had drinks with John Garcia once

–          What?? Yo, biiiiitch!

–          Huh huh huh! Cool!

Which is my favorite Slo Burn song? Uhmmm, good question, very few options. For emotional reasons Pilot the Dune would be the chosen one, it was kind of single I guess, and first time I listened to it was like a bomb exploding right in my face. However, as I’m listening the ep among 4-6 times a day (yeah! It’s definitely too short), nowadays my vote goes for July.

So that’s it, this is my album-ep of the week, I strongly recommend it to all rock and riff lovers, don’t think it will disappoint you at all, and in case it does, here you are a wall where you can post your comments open to discussion.

Next week I’ll try to choose something more relaxing, or better said, easy listening, although it’s not going to be easy, I’m too active and beside I’m seeing Electric Wizard on stage next Tuesday. Anyway, I’ll try my best.