Eddy Garcia is in Ministry, Pissing Razors, and Speed Razor, playing three different instruments, no less. He is also a big-time sound man. We interviewed him at Crawdaddy's.
EPMS: How old are you?
Eddy Garcia: Thirty-nine.
EPMS: Are you a native El Pasoan?
Eddy Garcia: No. I grew up in Fort Stockton.
EPMS: What was the first band you were in?
Eddy Garcia: Ex-Con. It was me and my cousin, and a friend named Danny, and a bass player from Juarez called Ralph. We called him 'Pink,' because he liked Pink Floyd. Every Sunday we'd rehearse the same nine or ten songs, about ten times each. Everybody came over, we'd be drinking beer...
EPMS: How did you get into sound?
Eddy Garcia: Out of necessity, playing in cover bands.
EPMS: When was the last time you were in a cover band?
Eddy Garcia: '93, in a band called Backdoor Cyclops.
EPMS: Do you have relatives in music?
Eddy Garcia: Yeah, most my cousins play instruments or are in bands.
EPMS: Why are you in so many bands?
Eddy Garcia: With Ministry I get some awesome gigs. I can tour and pay the bills. i've been a fan of theirs since the beginning, so it's an honor to play with those guys. Pissing Razors is going ten years now. Speed Razor is just like an outlet for me to play guitar on.
EPMS: How much touring have you done with Ministry?
Eddy Garcia: I've done one tour, seventy-one shows in three months. Basically all of the US and Canada. The last show was in Mexico City. They've been around since the late 80s. Industrial metal. Lots of sampling. Sounds you don't hear on a normal metal record. They're pretty much the godfathers of that scene.
EPMS: Is Ministry an El Paso band?
Eddy Garcia: They are now. They all live here but Darrell (James) and Mark Baker, the drummer. They were originally from Chicago. Then they went to Austin for a while. They were going back and forth between Chicago and Austin. They've been here the last two or three years.
EPMS: Why did Ministry settle down in El Paso?
Eddy Garcia: Originally to record at Sonic Ranch. Al liked it here. The weather, the people, the food. It's cheap to live here.
EPMS: What touring do you do besides with Ministry?
Eddy Garcia: I've toured solidly since '91. With cover bands, and Pissing Razors, I've probably been around the states twelve times. Plus Canada, Europe.
EPMS: How much have you toured Europe?
Eddy Garcia: I've done two tours. We recorded our (Pissing Razor's) second record in Germany.
EPMS: What is your favorite venue?
Eddy Garcia: Local? I don't want to piss anybody off. All of them.
EPMS: What's your favorite venue out of town?
Eddy Garcia: The House of Blues in Chicago, and I forgot the name of a place in Montreal. They seat 2600 people.
EPMS: What local venues do you miss?
Eddy Garcia: Sasos. The Attic. Nakyes Stadium. Sasos is kind of where I found my oats. The Attic, me and my brother used to own. Nakyes, there were a lot of great shows there.
EPMS: What kind of venues do you hate?
Eddy Garcia: Pretentious, yuppie, dress-code dance clubs.
EPMS: What is the biggest sacrifice you've made for music?
Eddy Garcia: Don't know. Cars, bikes, being broke and in debt.
EPMS: Other bands have told me of having to eat cold ramen when touring. Have you had such experiences?
Eddy Garcia: Been there, done that. Or not eating at all. It sucks.
EPMS: You play bass for Ministry, guitar for Speed Razor, and drums in Pissing Razors. What's your best instrument?
Eddy Garcia: Drums.
EPMS: Why do you play so many instruments?
Eddy Garcia: Why not? Anything that makes noise.
EPMS: How long have you played each instrument?
Eddy Garcia: Drums, about twenty years. Guitar, on and off, seven or eight years. Bass, about the same.
EPMS: What was your first instrument?
Eddy Garcia: The trumpet. I started in the sixth grade. I played all through high school.
EPMS: What are some of the big bands you've opened for?
Eddy Garcia: Korn, Deftones, Cannibal Corpse, Meshugga, Crowbar, Anthrax, Wasp...
EPMS: What is your favorite local band?
Eddy Garcia: Well, regionally, probably Kryoburn.
EPMS: Which will be the next local band to make it?
Eddy Garcia: Speed Razor.
EPMS: For being such a well-known guy in the local music industry, you are one of the most humble. Why is that?
Eddy Garcia: There's no reason to be cocky. A lot of people have what I call SPS: small penis syndrome.
EPMS: What mistakes do bands commonly make?
Eddy Garcia: Tuning on stage.
EPMS: Give me the basic success formula for a band:
Eddy Garcia: I don't think there is one. First and foremost, chemistry, then a lot of luck.
EPMS: The first time I saw you play was St. Patrick's Day, when you were with Speed Razor, supporting an LA band called Crisis. Had you run across them before?
Eddy Garcia: I've known them for years. I played with them before, in Pissing Razors. When we first got signed, we did a few shows with them. Their drummer is a friend of mine. Justin did a tour with us; he played with Society One.
EPMS: Why do you not have any web sites for Pissing Razor or Speed Razor?
Eddy Garcia: We haven't paid for our Pissing Razors one. We haven't done one for Speed Razor. Basically, we're a bunch of lazy asses.
EPMS: What has set apart your bands from unsuccessful metal bands? What advice could you give other up-and-coming metal bands?
Eddy Garcia: Depends on your definition of success. I don't know, hnestly. It's none of my business to tell other bands what to do, unless I'm working with them. It's up to them.
EPMS: What is a common mistake made by metal bands?
Eddy Garcia: Trying to sound like somebody else, or to copy a certain trend.
EPMS: What music do you listen to?
Eddy Garcia: Stuff that I'm mixing.
EPMS: How many employees do you have at Krank Studios, which is your studio?
Eddy Garcia: One. Me. LOL. I guess Ruben. He sets up PAs and stuff.
EPMS: From where do your sound clients come?
Eddy Garcia: So far, I've worked for bands all over the country. Sometimes they come here. If I'm doing sound at a live gig, I'm obviously on the road.
EPMS: What range of music do you do sound for?
Eddy Garcia: Anything. Whoever pays the bucks.
EPMS: Even pop?
Eddy Garcia: Yeah, as long as I get paid. It's a job. I do prefer metal.
EPMS: What is the difference between doing sound live as opposed to doing it in the studio?
Eddy Garcia: Basically, what you listen to live is big PA systems, versus studio monitors. It's the same principle, but live is more demanding, because you must fix things on the spot. Troubleshooting on the go. In the studio, you take your time, and make sure everything is right.
EPMS: What was your coolest sound gig?
Eddy Garcia: Mixing Skin Lab on the Slayer tour. Because it was arenas, with the same gear every night. 50,000 watts at your fingertips.
EPMS: Why is it that sometimes you can hear the singer just great when he's talking in between songs, but then you can't hear him when he's singing?
Eddy Garcia: It depends. In a small place, with large stage volume, and a small PA, the PA won't push enough for the vocals to be heard. It's a matter of balance. On big systems, it should never be the case, that all falls on the sound guy. Whatever's coming off the stage has to be decent, the vocalist has to project enough for the mic to pick it up.
EPMS: Have you ever been recording a band, and maybe thought they were OK, but when you went back and listened to the recording, you were surprised at how good they were?
Eddy Garcia: That's exactly what happened with Of Graves and Gods. That's why I pushed them on this label. They got signed.
EPMS: What is the best all-time band?
Eddy Garcia: AC/DC.
EPMS: Who are your heroes?
Eddy Garcia: My mom and dad. My girlfriend. My brother.
EPMS: What makes them heroes to you?
Eddy Garcia: My mom, because she always supports me. My dad, because he has never been a quitter. My girlfriend, because she's crazy.
EPMS: What has locally changed since you started?
Eddy Garcia: Original music is a lot more accepted than it was back in the day. Venues that supported it were almost none.
EPMS: What do you like to do outside of music?
Eddy Garcia: Drinking. Working on bikes, cars. Drinking.
EPMS: What do you drink?
Eddy Garcia: Rumpleminz, mostly. It's like peppermint schnapz on steroids.
EPMS: What's your favorite movie?
Eddy Garcia: I like Barfly in This is Spinal Tap.
EPMS: Have you ever been in a fight over music?
Eddy Garcia: Nah. Other reasons, yes.
EPMS: How has technology changed music?
Eddy Garcia: Huge. Basically, any band can record pretty inexpensively, have a good product live, have good equipment, cheap, that sounds really good.
EPMS: How common are in-ear monitors?
Eddy Garcia: I think, with bigger bands, in arenas or large clubs, they're pretty common. In smaller venues they aren't, but they are definitely the way to go. They protect your hearing and allow you to hear what you need to hear.
EPMS: Why do drums sound so different than they did twenty years ago?
Eddy Garcia: Different production techniques. Back then, they were not a forefront instrument. Guitars and vocals were the focus. As long as you had a kick drum, a snare drum, nobody cared about tone. Today, it's been an evolution in how instruments sound.
EPMS: Tell me about working for Kryoburn and Little King:
Eddie Garcia: Kryoburn from Carlsbad, I produced them, they got signed with Continental Entertainment. Their record was released recently. They are doing well, they're charting on Musician's Choice.
Little King tracked at my studio, then was mixed by Terry Brown, who produced the first twelve Rush albums. They seem to be doing good too, in both the U.S. and Europe.
EPMS: What are the different roles of the different positions in sound?
Eddy Garcia: The producer, basically, is the guy in charge of the session. His job is to make sure the creative process is going to fit with what the end product calls for. He can also be the engineer. If there is a separate engineer, he has to make sure the music is recorded properly, to make sure it's going to sound good. The assistant engineer, basically, helps the engineer move amps, edit, run cables, whatever.
EPMS: What changes have you seen in local music?
Eddy Garcia: A lot has changed for the better, actually with Pissing Razors getting signed, At the Drive Inn, The Mars Volta, Sparta, Kryoburn, Of Graves and Gods. That's a pretty good track record. It can always be better. There are a few venues now, the House of Rock and Roll, Murphys Cantina, Mugshots, Bombardiers, Crawdaddy's, Purgatory, Lucky Devils, that's pretty cool. There are plenty of places to play.
EPMS: What is the future for Pissing Razors?
Eddy Garcia: We'll have another studio CD in the coming months.
Eddy Garcia: Thank you.
- Charles Hurley