Saturday, May 3, 2008

Davíd Garza is a cool dude

(David Garza at ACL Festival--photo by Steve Hopson)

About two years ago, in Rolling Stone's 1000th issue, Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament declared David Garza "one of the great unknown singer-songwriters out there."
David's obscurity is not universal, however. To those who went to college in Texas in the '90s,
David was a regular on the college party/club scene, touring relentlessly and pumping out album after album of extremely catchy pop melodies laced with an exuberant latin/world music rhythm. As proof of David's popularity in his hometown of Austin, in 1999 David was voted in the Austin Chronicle as the No. 2 Austin Musician of the Decade, behind only Stevie Ray Vaughn.

It was therefore always expected that David would one day take the radio charts by storm and become a national household name. But pop superstardom never happened for David. What occurred instead was a music career that evolved at its own steady pace, with brushes of fame here and there, but marked by a consistent output of great albums supported by constant touring. Along the way, David signed with Atlantic Records in 1998, had a single (the reggae-ish "Slave") on the soundtrack to the Gwyneth Paltrow-Ethan Hawke snoozer Great Expectations (1998), toured with various national acts such as Damien Rice and Fiona Apple, and regularly played the ACL Festival and SXSW. Although such moments never became turning points to superstardom for David, they also never seemed calculated to be such. Rather, it was always just David doing his thing: playing pop songs that make people bounce, regardless of the size of the venue.
This is true even when the show is in my living room. When I turned 30 a few years ago, David and his band played at my house, and it was completely boss. A couple pictures from that night:

One of the songs he played that night was "Discoball World," from 1998's This Euphoria. Here is the video for the song.

And here is a spotlight on David from HBO's music show Reverb, from roughly the same time: