Tag Archives: unida

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!!!

YOUR COOLEST T-SHIRTS EVER

My wardrobe is basically stuffed with jeans, sneakers and t-shirts. I think my appearance hasn’t changed much in 12 years because to be honest I love my style, and fortunately I don’t have to wear uniform neither dress code is applied in the company I’m currently working for, thus I’m lucky to dress as I please all the time.
 
I reckon t-shirts are also a project of your personality (here I come again, in Dr. Melfi’s style). Some don’t pay much attention but I really do, and I’m capable of stopping a stranger on the street  just to know where he bought it or just to say I love the band in the tee.
 
Bands and films make up my collection and I’m very proud of many of them, for sentimental value or just because I’m huge fan of something.

 
I’ve never counted how many I have, some of them are forgotten in boxes at my parents’ basement, some of them do not fit any longer, and others are so old they have holes, but I’m not in the mood of throwing them to the bin or tearing them for cleaning purposes as our mums love doing.
Would you be able to name your favorite t-shirt ever? I’m not, but feel really curious about yours…
 
Due to my musical nature and reminding of High Fidelity, I’m gonna create another list of my Top 5 t-shirts in chronological order. It doesn’t mean these are the best designed ones, they might not be my favorite ones,  but I’ve chosen them for being attached to certain moments in my life. Let’s see the outcome:
 
·         SUPERMAN: I really loved this one when I was a kid but actually wasn’t mine, it was my father’s, although eventually I inherited it. In Summertime I used to wear it as a dress and somewhere there are pictures I’m like 3-4 with my super dress. Note this was late 70’s, early 80’s and Superman was the first hot superhero on screen.

·         ANGRY CHAIR: I bought this t-shirt through one of this music catalogues, and receive the t-shirt like one month later than you sent your order. Back in the 90’s purchasing like that used to take ages you to be able to wear your piece. It’s not that  the tee was beautiful or super cool, but it was Alice in Chains! And wasn’t the classic Dirt cover hugely printed either. It was an ugly bloke sat on a chair and on the back there was a handprint with something written on it. White, with not very big images, I think it’s the t-shirt I wore most in my entire life. I didn’t throw it away, don’t think I lost it either, probably it’s at my parents’. Someday I will take a deep breath and will spend few hours at the basement opening boxes accompanied by some music and beer. It’s going to be a hell of experience, because I’ve got stuff there for many years.

·         SEND ME MORE TOURISTS…THE LAST ONES WERE DELICIOUS: I know you can’t believe it but yes, I’ve had one funny t-shirts no matter I hate them. Those tees with “funny” message, they can make you laugh sometimes but just for few seconds, and seems there’s been a wave of them…but I felt in love with this one. Gotta say it in my favor it was genuine and super kitsch, and I customized it. We’re talking about a 3D rubber shark coming out from my chest with the jaws open. Customization consisted on inserting half G.I Joe figure as if the guy was being devoured trying to escape hopeless. People loved it. In order not to ruin the rubber I used to wash it seldom, and poor t-shirt was full of wine stains, for those were my calimocho years.

·         UNIDA, COPING WITH THE URBAN COYOTE: For a long time, the band named KYUSS were sort of Gods to me, everything related was under my scope, and once they split ways, projects with their former members were to be adored too. Unida was John Garcia’s project after amazing Slo Burn. I could see Unida in 1999 and their stage performance was unbelievable. I thought that was the closest I was going to be from Kyuss, however once I ended up with Garcia having beers, Alfredo Hernandez and I shared weed joints at a basement and was able to see him rehearsing and I was introduced to Josh Homme by Dave Wyndorf one year later. And in June, Kyuss Lives plays in Azkena Rock Festival. Still, I love the t-shirt just the same, just saw a guy once wearing the same but I can assure you he wasn’t Spanish at all. Sometimes, having a unique t-shirt pleases a lot!

·         AMERICAN PSYCHO: I read Brett Easton Ellis’ major work in 1995 and was completely demolished by Patrick Bateman, in fact developed certain obsession for serial killers and used to write lyrics inspired in him for my shitty band Brain Farmers. We had a song called Psycho Killer, quite dark (shit! This has just come to my mind after 16 years!), and as far as I can recall, it was a hunting and a killing. Anyway, Mary Harron’s American Psycho put flesh and appearance to Patrick Bateman, by means of Christian Bale, even though portrait depicted wasn’t as extreme as in the book, there’s no doubt book was fine adapted, and Bateman became one of my personal favorite (anti) heroes and an icon. As I have plenty of time to squeeze my brains and translate my stuff into this blog, one day I will talk about my friend Patrick. Three years ago, , I found my t-shirt at Generation Records in the Village, in Manhattan, when I saw Mr. Bateman from Pierce & Pierce, standing right in from of me, ready to be put on, and realizing that it was my size, got crazy of happiness.

 
While writing the list, I’ve realized my t-shirt acquisition rose the most defined my likes were evolving, remembering when I was an early teenager my tees were plain ones. Once I started becoming fan of bands, they changed immediately. Film t-shirts came not so long ago, but cannot complain about my collection, covering from Scarface to The Thing.
 
Anyway, I’d love to know about your stuff, thus I encourage you to write your comments and share part of your personality here.