Review: John Garcia – John Garcia (2014)

The voice of Stoner rock goes it alone.

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John Garcia is a man who likes to keep busy. Since the end of the band where he made his name, stoner legends Kyuss, nearly 20 years ago, the frontman has formed a number of bands such as Vista Chino, Hermano and Unida. However, this is the very first solo outing for the 44 year-old.

Garcia had worked on a solo project for a number of years under the moniker “Garcia Vs Garcia”, which was originally supposed to see the light of day back in 2008, but this being the music business, things rarely run smoothly. So it’s with some excitement then that we finally get to hear the legendary frontman out on his own.

In February of this year Garcia revealed, via Facebook, that he had signed a solo deal with Austrian label Napalm Records. A few months later and here we are. So, has it been worth the wait?

Opener “My Mind” sees Garcia recount personal battles with those inside his head. A common theme for the stoner generation. It’s backed by some driving straight forward riffing, the kind that Garcia has helped define over the past 20 years or more.

“Rolling Stoned” quickly follows and it’s here that things start to become a little looser and edge into the funky –stoner territory. It’s a blinding track that strides forward with purpose and bad intentions. It’s some 90 seconds into the track before Garcia makes himself known, declaring “If you leave me, I will kill you”.

Tracks such as “5000 Miles”, “Saddleback” and “All These Walls” drive the 4×4 through the desert with the volume cranked up, windows wound down and sand blasting in your face. It’s not all full throttle as more melancholic moments are provided by the likes of the final track “Her Bullet Energy”.  A track that features a cameo by guitar legend Robby Krieger from The Doors and he adds his distinctive and considerable chutzpah to proceedings.

Considering these tracks were written over a number of years and never quite fit in with whatever band he was focusing on at that time, there is a symmetry and clarity about them all. The production seems to follow the Vista Chino method which is by no means a bad thing and Garcia’s voice is as good as it’s ever been.

Overalll, it proves that John Garcia can cut it with the very best, either with a band or out on his own. 

Donnie Rating: 8.5/10