David Garfield interview, July 2007
By Morten Lauridsen, Blue Desert
Right now David Garfield are working on new projects with Los Lobotomys and Karizma. Morten Lauridsen from Blue Desert had a talk with DG about what is happening at the moment and a little about the past.
According to your website you are in the middle of recording with both Los Lobotomys and Karizma. How is that going?
It’s going well
On your website it is stated that you are using a different guitarist on each track on the new Los Lobotomys recording now Steve Lukather is no longer a part of the band. Can you tell us which guitarists participate on the record?
I don’t wanna tell you everybody because there is going to be some surprises…….we’ll be using a few great up and coming guys here in LA and we hope to have some serious all stars participating as well. I’ll let you know more info on that after its all on tape
What other musician will be a part of the new Los Lobotomys record?
Lenny Castro, John Peña, Brandon Fields, Chad Wackerman, hopefully Will Lee and Vinnie Colaiuta who were on the first record as well.
On the first Los Lobotomys record you had a lot of different musicians participating and it was recorded live. How was the writing process for this album?
I wrote a song with each of the principle members for that project. So I collaborated with Jeff, Lenny, Luke, Carlos, and Joe Sample seperately to create those songs.
Which musicians will be a part of the new Karizma record?
Mike Landau, James Harrah, Oscar Seaton, Larry Klimas, Dean Cortez, and a few other members.
One of my favourite Karizma tracks is “Hungry Dogs” from the album “Cuba”. On “Lost And Found” you have version of this song with vocals called “I Guess I’ll Just Move On”. How come you chose to initially release it as an instrumental instead of a vocal track?
That vocal recording was from my first demo before the Dream Come True record and that song didn’t make it on to the record. We were performing live back then usually without vocals, so we played the “hungry dogs” version on our live gigs. When it was time to go in and record Cuba, which was our second CD, that record was done on a lower budget and live to two track as well, so we didn’t use any vocals on that record. That’s why the instrumental version was released first and the demo version which was recorded earlier was later released as more of a collectors edition.
Karizma was founded in 1975 but didn’t release an album before 1983. How come it took 8 years before you released your first album?
That’s a good question….we actually came real close to landing a record deal several times in that period. First with Columbia in 1977 and then with Warner Bros in 1979 we were actually “signed” but that year they re-considered and cut 8 of the 11 bands they hand signed due to a decrease of overall sales in the record industry. Christopher Cross was one of the three artists that didn’t get cut.
Karizma and Los Lobotomys have had many incarnations. Do you think that this is what keeps the two bands alive and fresh? A bit like Yes and Black Sabbath…you are kind of looking forward to their next recording wondering which musicians they will use.
One of my favourite songs of all time is actually your composition “Corbitt van Brauer”. It is so catchy and it’s one of those songs I have in my head all the time and whistle by myself pretty much everyday. How did you write this song?
I used to live in Hollywood back in the early 80’s and my neighbor (who was a good friend) Vince Charles, played steel drum with Neil Diamond and would practice during the day. I used to hear his steel drum through my windows in the morning and that inspired the melody to this song. Also, at the time, I had the Prophet 5 keyboard which had a steel drum patch in it. We’re talkin before MIDI!
I actually met you briefly when you played in Copenhagen back in 2004. You noticed my “Tribute To Jeff” t-shirt, so we started chatting a bit (just before the concert started). I had a question for you back then which was if you would do a “Tribute To Carlos Vega” album in the vein of the album for Jeff and you told me you would. Are you still planning to do this record?
We do the live concert for Carlos every year (this year will be the tenth) and maybe we’ll record that or even film it.
Any plans of releasing any of the live recordings from the Carlos Vega Memorial Concerts?
The “Tribute To Jeff” album is probably one of my all time favourite records. It must have been a huge project – organising the sessions, gathering all the musicians and the recordings themselves. Can you tell us a bit about how the whole thing came about and how you organised and planned it?
I could do a whole interview just on this. This was a year long project and there were many details to organize including travelling to Nashville and New York to record. The basic concept of the record was to feature drummers whom Jeff admired as well as drummers whom admired Jeff. Each song was based on a particular groove that Jeff played or liked.
In the liner notes of “Tribute To Jeff” you have a list of musicians that “were missed” among others Bruce Springsteen, David Sanborn, Donald Fagan & Jeff Beck. Were these guys invited to join the sessions but couldn’t or wouldn’t participate?
Yes, I tried very hard to get them!
There is such a unique cast of musicians on the “Tribute To Jeff” album. I am curious to know how you got people like Peter Erskine, Dave Weckl and Eddie van Halen to join the project as they to my knowledge hadn’t really recorded with Jeff (I know that Eddie is a big Jeff fan though). How was it working with these three musicians?
They all admired him and wanted to participate.
One of my favourite grooves by Jeff Porcaro is the one on the original recording of “Big Bone” on the Los Lobotomys album. How come this groove was changed so drastically on the version of this song on “Tribute To Jeff” by Gregg Bissonette? (which is also a cool groove).
That’s because Gregg wanted to base his track on the groove he played at the end of Rosanna when he performed with Toto (filling in for Simon).
The first album I bought with you was “Guitar Workshop In L.A.” How did this project come about?
This was an idea of the Japanese producer Tetsuya Hoshika to get 4 great LA guitar players togehter for a “session”.
One of the guitarists on “Guitar Workshop In L.A.” Teddy Castellucci really impressed me and I really love the opening track which he wrote and played on called “Take It All”. Jeff Porcaro is laying down some of his best drumming ever on this track in my opinion. Teddy hasn’t really made that many recordings and to my knowledge he doesn’t record anymore. What happened to him? Is he the same Teddy Castellucci who participated in several movies such as “Big Daddy” and other Adam Sandler flicks?
Yes, Teddy started out as Jay Graydon’s protoge and has since become the main composer for Adam Sandler’s films.
Were the tracks “Hyper Stork” and “Vicky’s Song” written especially for “Guitar Workshop In L.A.”?
Actually no, they were ideas I had been working on for Karizma. We actually performed “Hyper Stork” in the early 80’s.
Actually two musicians that to me really stand out on “Guitar Workshop In L.A.” are the two drummers Jeff Porcaro and Carlos Vega. These are two of my all time favourite drummers and they seemed to have a similar kind of groove. Could you explain what you liked about these two guys’ musicianship?
Carlos was my best friend and main musical collaborator, he was inspired by Jeff whom was 1 1/2 years older. They both played for the song, were not too flashy, and had impecable timing and grooves. They’re both dearly missed.
The Karizma album “Cuba” is a fantastic album. Do you have any memories from the sessions of this album you would like to share with us? Such as the writing and recording process…and how did you record the brilliant guitar duel between Michael Landau and Steve Lukather on “Hungry Dogs”?
This project was done on a very low budget, so we had to record live in the studio with no overdubbing or mixing. We did it in two days and each day had slightly different personnel. The day we did “hungry dogs” I had both Steve and Mike on the date and when it came time for the solo, I just asked them to take turns. It’s really fun for me to think back on how everybody responded to each other on those sessions.
You played on Joseph Williams’ first solo album back in 1982. How did you get involved in this project?
Back in those days, Joseph was doing a lot of showcasing for record labels. We played a few showcases and at this time Karizma was doing a lot less performing. Eventually we formed a band together and played around town. We called it “Jo-air” and it was Joseph who did all of the writing and singing. Mike Landau and I played along with Joe’s brother Mark and bassist Mark Browne. Eventually the record deal came, and we all participated in the recording. Even Karizma bassist Dean Cortez was invited to guest on a few songs.
Another one of my favourite albums is Steve Lukather’s “Candyman” (released as Los Lobotomys in the States). You and Luke wrote the majority of the songs with the assistance of Fee Waybill. To me the material and atmosphere on this album is really magical. Could you tell us a bit about the writing and recording process for this project?
Sure. At that time we had been playing a lot at the Baked Potato with Los Lobotomys, and Steve had this deal with Sony to do another solo project. I had just come back from a month in Bangkok with an all star band which featured Pauline Wilson from “Seawind” and was asked to join “The Rippingtons” at that time. Luke approached me to collaborate with him and write the whole project together, kind of incorporating the Los Lobotomys vibe. We got together and wrote at my house and everything came together really easily. I really think we came up with some great music together.
Do you have any unreleased tracks from the “Candyman” sessions?
I don’t think so……there was the “Red House” take which ended up on the US release. There was also another song we considered from another writer, but after we tracked it, we decided not to include it.
How did you come up with the Latin arrangement of “Layla” on the David Garfield & The Cats album “I Am The Cat, Man”?
The night before the session, I was thinking about the material as we had 9 songs ready to go. Since Luis Conte was playing on the tracking date, I kept thinking of what he could play on and how he would fit in. I started hearing the idea for the song in my head and sketched it out that night. The next day, we now had 10 songs to record and we only got through 5 of them. Layla was number 5.
On your recordings you use a lot of the musicians from the West Coast, but have you ever thought of bringing in other people who normally don’t do that many sessions such as Alex van Halen, Stewart Copeland, Neil Peart, John Petrucci or Paul Gilbert just to name a few.
Yes I have, stay tuned for the next Los Lobotomys project!
I saw a picture on the web from the “Giving Back” sessions with Bobby Kimball, Alex Ligertwood and Glenn Hughes. Were you planning to use Glenn as a vocalist on this project? Do you reckon he might be a part of any of your future projects?
Actually that picture was from Koblenz, Germany 2002. I love working with Glenn and hopefully we will have some of the recordings from this gig in the near future.
It is mentioned in the liner notes under the song “Laws Of Love” on the “Giving Back” album that you had Larry Lee writing lyrics to this song as you intended it for the “Mindfields” album by Toto. Did you ever record it with vocals and will it ever be released with vocals?
That’s a good question. I still would like to do a vocal version of that now that you mention it.
In the liner notes of Simon Phillips’ album “Another Lifetime” he mentioned that you and John Peña came over to his house a couple of times to play and you ended writing a couple of songs together (back in 1997). Was “Zuke” from the “Giving Back” album one of them? Furthermore do you have any demos of this or would you record any of the other songs you wrote together?
“Zuke” was one of those songs, and their was another one called “mister mojo”, however I don’t think we ended up with any recordings of them.
I read on the web once that yourself, John Peña and Simon Phillips performed at The Baked Potato together and if my memory serves me right you called yourselves “PGP”. It is also mentioned in the liner notes of “Another Lifetime” that you played at a local club after the three of you had written some songs together (see question 28). Did you record any of these performances?
There might be an ameteur video floating around in my archives of one of those gigs.
You were also involved in the brilliant Michael Landau project “Tales From The Bulge”. Could you tell us a little bit about how it was working on this album?
Working with Mike on The Bulge was one of the highlights of my career. Mike had just got a 24 track 2 inch machine, and we would work at his house so we had less time constraints. Most of the songs started out with Mike’s guitars and a drum machine, setting up a basic vibe that we gradually added to. Some of the parts were over dubbed in an unsusual manner, such as layering, hi hat, and tom toms seperately, and things like that.
Do you any plans of releasing a new album with Potato Salad?
Not at this time.
You have recorded and performed with so many fantastic musicians. Any artists/musicians you haven’t worked with you would like to work with?
Phil Collins, Eric Clapton, Sting, and Paul McCartney.
You have also performed with The Lost Lobotomites. Did you ever record any of the performances?
No……That was just a gathering of ex Lobotomy members during the time the band was dormant.
Out of all the musicians you have worked with, who have impressed you the most and who do you admire the most?
These are very difficult questions.
Richard Tee impressed me the most. He had a very special relationship with the piano.
I admire so many, Michael Brecker and Jeff Porcaro ……..also Jim Keltner, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Gregg Bissonette, Abraham Laboriel, Donald Fagen, Steve Gadd, Wayne Shorter…….
You have written, recorded and performed within so many different styles of music. Could you see yourself exploring other genres such as progressive rock or heavy metal (meaning classic 70’s/80’s metal)?
Thanks a lot for taking time to answer our questions, we really appreciate it.