Juke's Eric Garcia on Musicians Playing Only for Fame: "You Are Pretty Much an Asshole"
Juke not only has an incredibly solid musical name, it also creates soulful, countrified blues with an international twist. And their music works everywhere, from the Lowes Hotel on South Beach to the home of Fort Lauderdale rock, Poor House. They even just returned from playing at the humongous Wanee Music Festival in Northern Florida. Frontman Eric Garcia's ability to get nuts on the harmonica makes all feet tap and every head sway. Garcia, who also works as the booking agent at Will Call Miami, talked to us about writing songs about lunch and how he's the weakest musician in the band.
New Times: What genre would you say describes your music? How would you describe it?
Eric Garcia: I'm not really sure still. I wanna call it "modern blues" but even that term sounds old and lame! Pretty much, we've agreed that it's just rock 'n' roll with a harmonica in it. Traditional blues fans don't dig us for the most part, but we still lose gigs to places cause they aren't looking for a "blues band."
You have a few albums out, right?
We have two releases actually. Lungbutter was released in 2007 with me and my old lineup. Last year we released Down Low Cool. It's got the current lineup and some newer songs, but it doesn't really capture our live energy. We recorded a recent show that came out nice, but I think we might record a few more and put the best all together for a sweet live release by the end of the summer.
What are your musical influences?
Everyone in the band pretty much has different influences. Evan, Brian, and Taylor (guitarist, drummer, and bassist, respectively) all graduated from UM's music school. I'm easily the weakest musician in the band. I also listen to a lot of older, obscure music that they had never heard of till they met me, so that actually has become a cool thing to see how they absorb and interpret where I'm coming from. The Red Devils and the Devil Makes Three are two very opposite influences of mine that happen to only share the word "devil" in their name. We cover a couple of their songs, cause no one around here knows who the hell they are, and we do them our own way anyhow.
What gets you writing music?
The muse is a slippery thing that is not to be taken for granted. I've gone on nice streaks that I can't stop writing and then gone creatively retarded for months! I've had a lot of death and such happen to me. I've always liked to keep it a little dark, if possible, anyway, cause happy songs have always kind of bored me.
If someone is in the right mindset, can write, and isn't too hard on themselves, I think they can write about what they had for lunch as eloquently as they can about a stupid breakup or something.
What are some more immediate goals you have as a musician?
Get better. Especially at guitar and songwriting. Actually, I really have been ignoring my harmonica playing for years, and I'm starting to fall back in love with it again. It's kind of cool to rediscover something that you have been doing for 25 years!
What about longer term goals?
Just to be making a living through original music. I think that's all anyone who loves this can really ask for. If you really want and expect to be famous for your music, I think you are pretty much an asshole and in it for the wrong reasons. Maybe someone didn't get enough hugs growing up, huh?
What is your favorite song?
"Sande's Song." It's a song I wrote about my mother and her Alzheimer's that killed her about four years ago. It's easily the best song I have ever written.
Juke. 11 p.m., May 11, at Poor House, 111 Southwest Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-522-5145. Admission is free.