JOHN GARCIA – The Lone Coyote
January 29, 2017, a year ago
Ex-Kyuss vocalist John Garcia — who many consider to be THE voice of desert/stoner rock — has returned with his all-acoustic sophomore solo album, The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues (released January 27th via Napalm Records). Boasting five new tracks plus four unique renditions of Kyuss classics, “Green Machine,” “Space Cadet,” “El Rodeo” and “Gardenia,” Garcia gives each song his special vocal treatment (minus instrumental “Court Order”). Backing up Garcia on this purely acoustic affair is longtime touring partners Ehren Groban on the acoustic guitar, Greg Saenz on percussion and Mike Pygmie on bass.
The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues (released roughly three years after his first solo album), is like a new book with the songs serving as stories or chapters of Garcia’s past and present life.
“To turn something that was really heavy into the complete other end of the spectrum was challenging,” Garcia began. “It was something that Ehren and I really wanted to do and we achieved that goal by doing different renditions of ‘Green Machine’ and ‘Gardenia.’ A song like ‘Space Cadet,’ I was never happy with the original vocals of that song, so it’s something I always wanted to do and do it where I’m at in my life right now. And ‘El Rodeo,’ that’s just a challenging song to do acoustically. I just wanted to explore these pieces differently and plus help promote my other pieces.”
Garcia’s arsenal of new songs, including the haunting ‘The Hollingsworth Session,’ were the direct result of the whole group throwing ideas into the hat and letting the songs coagulate naturally.
“That’s basically Ehren and I getting into a room together and jamming and having it (‘The Hollingsworth Session’) be a direct outcome of that,” he said. “Ehren is an extremely talented guitar player and songwriter, as well as Mike Pygmie the bass player and Greg Saenz is a great drummer and percussionist. We had a lot of fun. I like the direction we’re going in. All the new songs, they’re just all part of relationships together.”
Part of the charm of The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues is that what you hear on the record is exactly what it was while recording in the studio. With the exception of some overdubbed guitar layering and various keyboard parts, the honesty of the tunes brightly shines through.
“It was done simply, it was not perfect on purpose,” Garcia explained. “All the heavy breathing that you hear and all the rattling of the strings, we could have fixed. But we didn’t want to. Of course we did some layering in there to make it sound live. We had a choice between three guitars; a 12-string, a nylon 6-string and a steel 6-string, and that’s it. We tried to keep it as simple as we could. So I really enjoyed that part of singing and it was challenging for me. To be put in that situation where there’s not so perfect conditions for me. But we pulled it off I think. We set our goal and I think we achieved it.”
The catalyst for creating The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues goes back to Garcia’s first solo album with the track “Her Bullets Energy,” which was performed with former Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger. This track alone set the wheels in motion for Garcia to do a full acoustic album.
“I think it was a catapult to getting me into doing this acoustic record,” Garcia agreed. “This record is not for everybody. It’s not something you can turn on on a Saturday night with a group of friends and rock out to. It’s more for kicking back with your lady when the kids are at grandma’s house and you open up a $100 bottle of wine and hang out and spin records. You have to find the balance. For me, it’s being able to escape; whether it be a bad day at work, or what’s going on politically or whatever it may be in life. If you want to escape and twist one up, put the cans on and forget about shit for at least 45 minutes. That’s what this record’s about, or at least that’s what it does for me.”
A new electric record is already in the works for Garcia & Co. Writing sessions are underway and Garcia is shooting for a summer release.
“We’re starting to get back into writing the electric record, which is in full swing,” he said. “Scheduling has already started for the next record. For me, as well as everybody in the band with the exception of Ehren, we all have kids, wives and full time jobs. The moon has to align for everybody to get their scheduling straight to be able to commit. Whether it be for a few hours, or half a Sunday to get together and write.”
Although there are no plans as of yet to tour The Coyote Who Spoke In Tongues in the States, Garcia plans to take it to Europe, where his music and stoner rock in general are welcomed with open arms.
“For some reason, it’s just more well-received in Europe,” Garcia concluded. “I can go over there and not have to, unlike here in the States, to pay to play. And that’s tough when you have children and you want them to go to college. Europe has always been the home base for the type of music that I play. So Ehren and I are going to tour this record over in Europe at the end of Feb. and the beginning of March. There’s also a handful of shows with Slo-Burn coming up in Europe in the summer. Mostly, I’m just concentrating on doing some live stuff and promoting the acoustic record. All the while having fun doing it.”