Albert Garcia is a homegrown musician whose roots in punk were established at the same time our town was becoming a hub for the burgeoning counterculture. However, talented musicians are constantly pursuing new paths and destinations, which led Albert Garcia to his latest endevour. The band’s name, Guaqeros, directly translates to "grave robbers," but Garcia insists that he’s only digging through the artifacts of music lost or forgotten.
Sorry we don’t have an embed available, but you can still listen to the album.
When and how did the Guaqeros come to be?
I’d played bass for years, punk rock mainly, and finally got me a left-handed guitar about 10 years ago. I started learning some of my favorite songs: Stones, Supersuckers, Johnny Cash, etc. I figured I’d put a set together to play either by myself or with others. After being in bands since I was 15, it was nice to not have to fit rehearsals and shows in with three or more other peoples’ schedules, and just kind of do it as I please. I started playing with another local musician, Tony Warner, and we put together a set and played around a bit a couple years ago. I got bogged down with other projects, writing, and work, and we just sort of faded out. Fast forward a couple years and a new enthusiasm set in, along with other players in the game.
How did you get funding for the recordings? Is radio play a possibillity in the future?
A good friend and Fullerton local, Matt McKenzie, has been very supportive over the years, even way back in the insane punk days. He offered to help finance a recording of my version of the Clash’s "Guns of Brixton," sung in Spanish (Armas de Brixton), if I would get my ass into a studio. He has some connections we’re looking into (I’d rather not jinx anything yet) to get the song remixed and released as a single.
Half of your current ep are covers (two songs), and they both share a message of dissent against the actions of govnerment. What made you guys choose Fortunate Son by CCR and Guns of Brixton by The Clash?
I’ve been playing "Fortunate Son" since I was with a group, All Systems Gone, in the late ’80s. Frankly, it was a simple song to learn, and no matter what decade the lyrics are applicable, whether the dying fields are in Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq again, Afghanistan, or who knows where next. "Armas de Brixton" came out of my love of the Clash and my admiration for Paul Simonon as a bassist. When I realized how easy it would be to perform it in Spanish, it just clicked. Admittedly, I don’t speak Spanish. I had a good friend, along with my Dad, help me with the proper translations.
What kind of bands have you played in previously? Is Guaqeros a new style for you to play?
I sang for a garage punk band when I was 15 in the mid-’80s. Eventually I got into a band in LA, the Living End, in the early ’90s. We earned great reviews, packed shows at all the old Hollywood joints – Raji’s, Club Lingerie, Coconut Teaszer, etc. – did some national tours, and when that fizzled out I joined the singer and drummer in a band called Damnation. We toured the states several times, made it to Europe twice. We played our last show in Berlin, 2004.
At that point we had already milked what we could out of our scene- you’re kind of painted into a corner when you play evil punk/metal. Getting older led us to more dynamics and introducing other influences into the music, more rock and Americana sounding. We added percussion and keys and recorded under the name "Bloodjunkies" for a year or two. It was refreshing to play for people closer to our age and not moshing about covered in fake blood (though those days were indeed a blast). That’s where I got the idea to just strip it down, play some guitar, and bring out some of my all-time favorite songs and originals in a more laid-back format. I had been a bass-player for so long, I felt like giving another position a shot.
I came across the term "Guaqeros" while conducting research for my Master’s in anthropology. It literally means "grave robbers" and is used to describe looters of archaeological sites in Central and South America. Because of my tendency to learn forgotten or obscure songs, I thought the name was rather apt.
Who's in the band's lineup, and are you looking to audition new players?
I was getting guitar lessons from a local musician and music teacher, David Kurtz, and decided he’d be a great fit, and we started preparing for the recordings. The two of us make up the core, performing as a two-piece or (budget and space permitting) have other musicians on board. I enlisted an old friend, Tino Marrufo, to play percussion/drums on the ep. I’ve known him for years, played shows with him in a couple other bands. A truly gifted musician – both these cats are. I’m lucky to have them on the ep. They really add a unique vibe to the whole thing. I’m not looking for other players right now. I’ve been playing long enough to know already who I would like to play with. As word gets out and hopefully interest piques, we’ll do shows with more musicians sitting in.
Or if no one’s available, I’ll just play by my lonesome, banging away on my old left-handed guitar.
Check out Guaqeros at its upcoming show during the Art With an Agenda exhibit, July 6th 2012 at PAS Gallery. Starts at 6 p.m.
223 W. Santa Fe Avenue, Fullerton CA 92832