Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal of Metal Assault recently conducted an interview with former KYUSS and current VISTA CHINO frontman John Garcia. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: I feel that [the debut VISTA CHINO] album is a continuation of the KYUSS legacy in many ways. Is that how you would put it, musically?
Garcia: Yeah, I think the record has some KYUSS blares in there, and I also think there's a bit of exploration in there as well. Looking at the record and how it was done, it was done very organically, old-school on a 2-inch tape. Singers don't record on a 2-inch tape anymore. They just don't do it. But we did it that way. I sang out of one of Jim Morrison's U87 microphones, looking at the Joshua Tree rolling hills. The amount of trust that we put into one another to do each of our individual jobs, it was fulfilled. You can hear that. There's always going to be people that don't like it, that think there's going to be a next KYUSS record. Well, that's fine. People have their opinions about it. For me, I love songs like "Adara", "Dargona Dragona", "As You Wish" and "Sweet Remain". From a singer's point of view, those songs remind me of KYUSS, but when you listen to songs like "Barcelonian", "Planets 1 & 2" and "Mas Vino", that's what I mean by exploration. So there's a lot of feeling and emotion. I think people are going to put their label on it, put their own stamp of appeal on it, and that's totally welcomed. We're just all really proud of the record as a whole, so that's my take on it.
Metal Assault: This genre of music, stoner rock, I think it's kind of popular these days, at least in the heavy rock and metal circles. A lot of bands are playing this style. I guess it's is a good time for you to do this, in that sense as well.
Garcia: Yeah! I don't think Brant Bjork [drums], Bruno Fevery [guitar] and myself ever set out to change the face of rock 'n' roll or stoner rock. Stoner rock has been going on since forever. If you take a look at bands like BUFFALO or LEAF HOUND, that's more stoner rock than stoner rock itself. [laughs] I mean, those are the true grandfathers of this genre of music. Either you get it, or you don't. North America doesn't get it, Europe gets it, Canada gets it, and so do Australia and South America. But some places just don't get it and North America is one of them. As far as the current state of stoner rock goes, I don't really listen to much of stoner rock anyway. You'll be surprised by what I listen to. I listen to anything from Rihanna, believe it or not, to Bob Marley and everything in between. Occasionally from time to time I'll put in some LEAF HOUND, BUFFALO or SABBATH, when the kids are off at grandma's house and Wendy and I are here are the house hanging out, doing what we do. It's always fun to spin some records. But to answer your question, I don't think there's ever really a "good" time. It's just our time right now.
Metal Assault: That's very well put. You mentioned the lineup. Has Mike Dean [CORROSION OF CONFORMITY] also worked on the album or has he just been a touring member 'till now?
Garcia: You know, VISTA CHINO is a three-piece band with me, Brant and Bruno. It always will be. I think Nick Oliveri is an honorary band member and Mike Dean is an awesome part of this and an honorary band member. But also, Mike Dean has another band that he's fully committed to, an awesome band that we respect, called CORROSION OF CONFORMITY. So, he's got some obligations that he needs to fulfill and right now we're just lucky to have him.
Metal Assault: I interviewed him last April when C.O.C. were playing in Southern California, and he told me at the time that he was going to play some shows soon with VISTA CHINO. What was it like jamming with him?
Garcia: Mike Dean is an amazing bass player. What can you say about Mike Dean? I mean, he turns these songs into his own, and he brings character, emotion and personality to these songs. He's not just some robot up there playing note-for-note of what Brant did or what Nick did. Mike Dean plays on the record as well. So he has turned those songs into his own and I have nothing but absolute mad respect for him. On the other side of the coin, as a human being he is one of the nicest guys I've met in my entire life. Very intelligent, very smart. I can't talk highly enough about him.
Read the entire interview at Metal Assault.