Getting Twangy with Davíd Garza

Davíd Garza weaves easily through the crowd at the Continental Club on South Congress and heads to the small “employees only” area near the stage. To say he’s a regular within Austin’s local music scene is an understatement. Garza’s been putting out music every year since his undergrad years at the University of Texas in 1989.

It’s during those early days that Garza made noise with early outfit Twang, Twang, Shock-a-Boom. Now he, and former Twang, Twang mates, Jeff Haley, and Chris Searles have re-recorded their first cassette, Me So Twangy.

Garza stands in Continental’s back room. It’s a room that’s crowded with water bottle cases and coke refrigerator stored with Cheez-Its. Even with the sniffles, he radiates energy, all wide-eyes and the occasional fidgeting with his black, almost chin-length hair.

As employes bustle in and out, and the opening act plays, he tells me what it’s like to play with Haley and Searles again, why he’s happy he’s terrible at painting and how he wants to nothing more to be an agent of good vibes.

AUSTIN VIDA: The re-release of Me So Twangy  was pretty buzz-tastic in Austin. Were you aware of this kind of excitement?

DAVID GARZA:   It’s weird, you know, cause a lot of people can’t believe they’re seeing this again. It’s like a high school flashback for a lot of kids, which is cool. It’s neat to talk to people… ‘i was seven years old when my brother brought this home from UT for Christmas, and now i’m 27…’ it’s just really strange, but that’s neat.

AV: It has been a good 20 years since you’ve played with drummer Searles and bassist Haley, what’s that been like?

DG:  Yeah but we’re old enemies too, you know? Like all great friends who have anything that is meaningful, you definitely disagree and you never want to see them, and you don’t see them. I didn’t see those guys for years. You know 20 years is a long time and we were only together for about a year, so there definitely stretches of time where we didn’t have anything to do with each other.
AV: So why now?

DG: Well it’s the time, and you can’t argue with time. And there are very few things in this life that any of us have done for 20 years, you know, being as young as we still are, and I think it was worth celebrating. It’s been worth getting back and seeing these old guys, it’s like you’re old high school pals.

AV: For the people out there just hearing of Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom, what does the name mean?

DG: It doesn’t mean anything, it just means music, exactly. That’s what those words mean, it just means music and it’s nothing like, ‘oh it means anything.’ It’s completely meaningless, and it’s just about the energy of acoustic music at a time when–i mean the late 80s was filled with a lot of  hair metal and stuff and I was really wanting a different type of classic songwriting, like Los Panchos and Buddy Holly, so it was just a neat thing to go for.

AV: You’ve been a pretty prolific solo artist since the group disbanded. So when you look back at these old tracks, what do you think?

DG: I’ve changed a lot, i think. When I go back and play some of these old songs, I can  definitely see it’s kind of like ‘oh my god i wore those jeans? wore those shirts?’ And the same can be said with writing songs, you know? Oh my god, I wrote those chords, what was I thinking? And the lyrics, oh god, yeah. It’s like reading old letters to girlfriends you know that couldn’t believe you wanted to be around.

AV: Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom disbanded shortly after some label interest. Do you regret not keeping it going?

DG: Well I knew, in my heart, I knew that I didn’t want to be in a band. I was the one that was writing the songs. I’m not a good co-writer, and I knew that was part of what being in a band was about, you write with your band members. I know I have my own vision, I know exactly what I want to do and this is not it, it’s one of the things I do and it was really difficult to throw, what someone would say, throw something away like that. But for me, I just chose a different path and I’m always going to be on that path.  But the cool thing about the fact that me, jeff and chris are still all friends is that we can still make music again without it being weird.

AV: You’re a pretty high energy person. What do you do to kind of shut the world out and slow down?

DG:  Really painting is that for me. It’s good to be bad at something. It’s important to be bad…oh I’m terrible at it but I love it. And sometimes, there’s little breakthroughs that actually things work like ‘oh, wow, I could draw an ear today,’ you know? Instead of ‘why can’t I just draw this?’ It has nothing to do with music and I get to rest my listening ears. I get to not be doing music, just doing something else. I can’t just sit and do nothing, life is too short. I just can’t. I mean watching a great film would be the equivalent of doing nothing. But even that, I don’t veg or turn out. I’m just not build that way.

AV: What can people expect from David Garza?

DG: I’m always writing, always working, always playing. Hopefully more songs that no one would have thought to hear, and they’re not easy.  You go to dig for them and work and bring harmony, literally, to people’s sphere. That’s all I want, just good energy out there in the world. There’s enough discord and enough dissonance and enough funkiness out there that I want to bring something cool to the world.

Angela Maldonado

Senior Editor – Angela Maldonado hails from Selena Town, aka Corpus Christi, but has made Austin her home since 2002. Her background is in journalism and radio, formerly serving as a producer for NPR’s Latino USA. In her stint with the show, she interviewed some awesome bands and had a nice chat with Joan Jett. In her previous life as a media gypsy, Angela wrangled huge inflatables on radio remotes, ran live broadcasts, promoted books and worked as an editorial assistant at the Austin American-Statesman.

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