David Garfield interview, April 29th, 2000

By Kenneth Bremer and Thomas O. Høyer.

David Garfield was in Copenhagen with Karizma on the band’s first European tour, so we caught up with him to talk about Los Lobotomys and his plans for the future:

– Can you tell us a little about how Los Lobotomys started?

That’s a great story because Los Lobotomys was born as an off-shoot of Karizma. Karizma was together for many years with Michael Landau and the band, and we put out our first record, which Steve Lukather played on as a guest artist. And after that he asked if he could play with us at the Baked Potato, so one night he came in and sat in on one song.

He thought it was a lot of fun and would like to play a whole gig so we started our first gig and we just called it David Garfield And Friends, with Steve Lukather and Jeff Porcaro, Nathan East and Lenny Castro. And after we played a few gigs, one night Lenny goes ‘I have a name for this band: Los Lobotomys !’ And that was inspired by the name Los Lobos, who was a band from Los Angeles.

So Lenny came up with the name, we all loved it and started calling the band Los Lobotomys and from there it just became a real band. We were known for being crazy and wild, and we played long songs, intense solos and very hard rock flavored jazz things. We thought the band was very nice, it was more of a jam band whereas Karizma was a band playing more original music.

– Did the formation have anything to do with Landau being out on the road?

No, it was more so that Luke wanted to start playing at the Baked Potato with us. But I think at the same time Mike was actually out on the road, so that is right. But the real reason was that Luke said ‘I wanna play this kind of music’, as kind of an alternative to Toto where he could stretch out.. When we started out it was just an instrumental band, and later it became a little different when Simon Phillips joined and we made the second record and started vocal tunes.

– Do you think of ‘Candyman’ more as a Los Lobotomys record as opposed to a Steve Lukather solo album?

Well, that’s a good question. You see, what happened was that Steve had a contract to do a solo record with Sony, and he liked Los Lobotomys so much that he wanted to use the Lobotomys on his solo record. So it was his deal and his record but he wanted to do it as kind of Los Lobotomys.

We were in the studio, used just the group and we wrote all the music together, recorded it and then it came out everywhere as a Steve Lukather record on Sony. Then we went out on tour, and Steve said he wanted it thought of as a group, ‘I wanna go out as a band and we’re gonna be Los Lobotomys’.

So the big confusion for that whole tour was that everywhere we go, we’re billed as Steve Lukather and then we’d come in and say, ‘No, we’re Los Lobotomys’. What happened was that we released the album in the United States on Viceroy, and then we changed it to Los Lobotomys because it was a band. It started out as Steve’s project but it really ended as being a band project.

– You were recently playing as the Lost Lobotomites. Is that a more permanent off-spring of Los Lobotomys or was it just for fun?

That was because we really wanted to do a gig for the NAMM show (yearly international music instrument show), for the people that were coming. Los Lobotomys’ music had become more of this vocal music we did and we wanted to do more of the old stuff where we played jazz tunes, Herbie Hancock and David Sanborn tunes. You know Sanborn used to come sit in with us a lot in the old days, and Marcus Miller, those kinds of people, Sheila E also. We were more of an instrumental band, so we’d like to do some instrumental gigs.

I wanted to work with Lenny, who was an original member, Brandon Fields, Jimmy Earl, John Peña and Larry Klimas. So we put together two nights of music and we called it The Lost Lobotomites, meaning the guys that were no longer in the band, Luis Conte.

All the guys that had played in the band over the years. I put all these guys together and we played two nights in a row, with more of the old stuff. So I think I’m gonna keep that from now on, when I wanna play the old Lobootmys’ music with some of the guys I mentioned, we’re gonna play as the Lost Lobotomites, as kind of an off-shoot.

– There’s been a lot of musicians around the band, some of the top session players, Jimmy Earl, Will Lee and Nathan East.

Nathan was the original bass player, and then when we went to do the record, he was going to England to do a special project with Phil Collins. Then we asked Abraham Laboriel to do it, and then he couldn’t and so we flew in Will Lee from New York, that was good.

– When was the first gig of Los Lobotomys?

That was 1985. We put out our first record in 1988..

– Are you going to re-unite and play some gigs maybe at the Baked Potato?

I don’t know what’s gonna happen. Luke is so busy with his new project with Edgar Winther and between that and Toto. It’s like, we have to wait for him because Luke is the guitar player of the band. But in the meantime we’re gonna do the Lost Lobotomites, maybe with Steve Farris on guitar.

When Luke is free and we can re-unite, we’ll probably release our live cd that we recorded at the Baked Potato and we’ll probably do some gigs in town. It’s very possible that we might do some gigs outside L.A., but it’s definately been period of time off.

– When the first record was out you had the big band, with Brandon Fields in it. Then it turned more into rock style without a saxophone. Will the saxophone be a part of it again?

Would you like that?

– Yeah, I’d like that!

Me too! Personally, that’s what I wanna do, more of the original, instrumental music..

– In a tune like ‘Big Bone’, there are a lot of important sax parts..

Yeah, exactly. And I wanna play those songs from the first record and we have more new songs. We’ve actually written three new songs, me, Simon and John Peña and it’s really nice stuff. I wrote a couple of my own, and John and I wrote a couple on our own so we have some new songs.

Maybe we’re gonna start working on a John Peña solo project. That’s something we definately have in the works and we’re gonna do a lot of it with Simon and of course we’re gonna get Luke to play on some. We’re also gonna try and get Eddie Van Halen to play on some stuff to. I don’t know what the schedule is like right now, but we’d really like to work with him, and possibly even people like Jeff Beck. Some of the guest appearences, you know.

– If you look at the Larry Klimas album, it’s like the ‘backing’ on that album is something in between Karizma and Los Lobotomys. It’s great to see that it’s still the same personnel going in as a ‘backing group’ for Larry Klimas, it has the same drive and nerve in the music.

Exactly. If we do John’s record, Simon will play on it, Gregg Bissonette, Vinnie, Luis Conte, Brandon, all of those people.

– Didn’t you play on Luis Conte’s solo album?

Yes. I worked on his first and third solo album. The third one was pretty nice, we actually recorded that as soon as we came home from the Los Lobotomys European tour. Right after that we went into the studio to do Luis Conte’s record. John and I went in there, we joined with Luis and Carlos Vega..

– How about the writing, are ideas and parts coming from gigs or is it like the traditional way, sitting down trying to work something out?

Ideas come pretty quick. I was trying to work on some ideas for Luke for the new Toto record, Mindfields. I was trying to write some music for them. I wrote one song by myself, one song with Luke and one song with Steve Porcaro and if I’m not mistaken I might have had another song too. I think I had four songs that I really wanted to present for that record.

I submitted them to David Paich but I think they had their own material already. I had some really nice music and Luke and I wrote a really nice tune together. It’s not finished yet, so maybe it’s something for my next record, whether Luke plays on the record or not. It’s like a classic Toto song.

– How many songs do you write in a given period, I know it can be different..

It varies, but quite a few actually. Usually you don’t finish writing a song until you have some use for it, like if you have a band that’s gonna play it. So you have a lot of ideas, you’re working on songs all the time but they don’t really get completed until there’s reason to record or something..

– Luke uses Los Lobotomys as a place where he can try out new stuff and see how it works live. Do you use the band like that too?

Yeah. Always, I always try new things. If there’s a song I wanna try, I bring in the arrangement, we rehearse it and play it live.. And I’m also playing a lot of gigs around L.A. as David Garfield and friends or David Garfield and the Cats, and I’m bringing in different kinds of music all the time. And I bring in anything I wanna do, I’ll bring something from Los Lobotomys or Karizma, some new songs, someone else’s songs.

Last gig we brought in two or three new songs, we did a version of Georgy Porgy. And then at my last gig at Café Cordial Jason Scheff worked with me and he he sang it very nice.

– I also heard that you did some stuff in Palm Desert.

Yeah, I went out a couple of times to do some appearences..

– With local musicians?

Oh, I did this one thing where I sat in with the local group, but I also went out there and did guest appearences for the radio station. That’s just reminding me of something. There’s an event that I’m gonna start. We’ve done it two years in a row and my plan is to make this event a premier west coast music event, think it’s gonna be the first Saturday of December every year.

The first time it was at Café Cordial and the second time it was at the Baked Potato. This year I think we’re gonna have in a hotel, in a bigger venue. This way I think people that wanna come in from out of town can stay in the hotel. You know, the hotel near the Baked Potato in North Hollywood. We’re setting it up now and making preparations for the event. I wanna do this every year, like a west coast all-star music concert.

The line-up that I want to have, I don’t know who’s gonna be there but the people that I’d like to have there… My wish list is Luke, Mike Landau, Steve Farris, Dean Parks, Nathan East, Jimmy Johson, John Peña, Jimmy Earl, Neil Stubenhaus, Abe Laboriel, Bill Champlin, Jason Scheff, Alex Ligertwood, Bobby Kimball, Carl Anderson, Pauline Wilson, Greg Mathieson, David Paich, Steve Porcaro, Lenny Castro, Dave Wreckl, Greg Bissonette, Simon Phillips, Ricky Lawson, Freddy Washington, Luis Conte, Brandon Fields, Larry Klimas , Steve Tavaglioni.

Who did I leave out, the were some other people that I wanted to have…. Joe Sample.. These are the people that I’d like to have at this concert. Maybe I can get 25 percent of those names and have an all-star concert every year in December, first Saturday of December. Because Carlos’ birthday was December 7th.

– Have you written some tunes that are closer to you than others, is there something special?

Oh, that’s hard. It’s like saying you like one of your kids better than the other. But there is a song that I wrote, I’d really liked it. It’s not been recorded yet.. Then there’s another song that I wrote for my girlfriend, who’s name is Patricia, I wrote this song called Sweet P.C. because those are her initials. I really liked that song too. That’s a song I wanna record for my next record.