Eric Garcia on New Album, Leave Uncle Scotchy Alone

Eric Garcia is a staple of the Miami music scene. Whether as a booker, through his band Juke, performing a blues opera, setting up a storytelling night, or even as a longtime contributor for The Jitney, the man is always active. His latest creative endeavor is a solo album he titled, Leave Uncle Scotchy Alone. Before its release on vinyl and streaming, Uncle Scotchy hopped on The Jitney to promote his crowdfunding campaign which you can donate to here.

When did you first fall in love with music?

Eric Garcia: That’s a long story, but as far as Blues, I really fell in love with it when I was 17, as a freshman at the University of California at Santa Cruz. I took acid with my roommate and had a record player. He put on the album Hard Again by Muddy Waters, and I literally lost my mind.

How has Miami influenced you as a musician?

I don’t think that anyone can argue that Miami is known for its Blues scene. But Miami has so much musical talent from all over the world. Some might argue more than it deserves.

I’ve always been super low key proud that my band, Juke, isn’t a traditional Blues band in many ways. Most of the guys I’ve played with in the band have been tremendous musicians, but very few would be considered “Blues guys”.

I think that has led to some nice growth and evolution to the music that I love. The more I let everyone be them, the better the results seem to be. And the more interesting to play and listen to, I think.

What inspired Leave Uncle Scotchy Alone?

A great friend of mine, and original keyboard player in Juke, really inspired it. Ryan Gregg. He’s up in Jersey now, making music and really hustling in a positive way. He has a band as well, but released a solo record of just him on the piano, playing and singing his songs.

It really touched me and made me really listen to his awesome lyrics and absorb them more.

About 6 months ago I quit drinking. Yeah, I know. Uncle Scotchy quits…believe me, I earned the name enough to last the rest of my life. I needed something productive and creative to do. Something in and on my own timeline and schedule.

I recorded the song “40 Mile Gaze” at FazeOne studios with Brian Lange. He’s awesome. Then I really took my time with the rest and recorded the rest at home. Usually late at night when restless.

It was therapeutic.

Can you walk us through the writing and recording process for Leave Uncle Scotchy Alone?

I am guilty of not recording or being a fan of the recording process through the many years of my career.

As far as writing, I have stacks and stacks of songs…finished, unfinished,  some too hard for me to play live, some even forgotten.

I kind of realized recently that I’m not really a young man any more, and maybe I should record them somehow. Any how. As a time capsule. Because that’s really what songs are for most musicians…a time capsule of how you were feeling about something at a certain time and how that feeling sounded to you or through you.

So, when I decided to bite the bullet and actually record myself at home, it took patience. It can be frustrating when learning. Thank God for YouTube. I don’t know how I learned anything before that!

As frustrating as it was, recording mostly just my vocals, guitar, and harmonica is the simplest form of recording. I have a nice mic and nice interface. That’s the most important thing.

It surprisingly wound up being super fun, even though it took forever.

I turned my bathroom into an isolation booth so I could record vocals at night. My window doesn’t close all the way in that room, so I used an old doggy bed I don’t use anymore and like seven rolls of toilet paper to block the window and make it “sound proof”. It’s amazing what you can come up with when you need to. The rest I just recorded in my living room. Fortunately I finished recording before it got hot again, so I didn’t have to keep turning the AC and fans off each time I wanted to lay something down!

Now that this album is almost out in the world, what’s next for you?

I guess I kind of zigged, so now I want to zag.

I have a ton of songs that demand a bigger sound with more musicians that are better than I am.

So the next will be a full collab album.

I’ve been in this music world/business for a long time now. I’ve been fortunate to befriend some incredible musicians whom I look up to.

Some are in Miami, and some are not. Either way, the next record will incorporate different people on each song. I’m pretty excited about it actually. I just need to see this through all the way first, or I get too distracted….like a small cat.

A small cat that has been doing this music thing for a long, long time.

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David Rolland

David Rolland edits the Jitney blog. He is the author of the novels Yo-Yo & The End of the Century.