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YOUNG GUNS FEATURE: BLACK TIDE

Previously published in TOTAL GUITAR in 2008:

Line-up with Alex nunez (at the back)

Guitarist Alex Nunez was to quit the band shortly after this interview took place. Another notch here on the bedposts of I Am The Wolf! Bizarrely enough he was replaced by Austin Diaz of the hardcore band The Panix… and then Nunez ended up joining The Panix. A nifty little switch which did nowt to harm either careers.

Now the lads are back with a new long player Post Mortem (due for release in August) and with some huge support slots already tucked under their belt since we last met, including Iron Maiden, you can probably safely say these aren’t young guns anymore. Back in 2008 however, they were still the veritable jelly babies of rock ‘n roll.

YOUNG GUNS FEATURE: BLACK TIDE

Guitarists: Gabriel Garcia and Alex Nunez.

What inspired you to pick the guitar up?
Gabriel Garcia: “I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old. My cousin had a guitar and he taught me how to play it a little, so I just pretty much learnt it from him. Then just self taught from the internet and shit like that. I never had paid lessons, but there was always music around the house. My parents aren’t musical as such, but they love music.”
Alex Nunez: “My sister had this little acoustic guitar, she wasn’t like playing it all the time, but I’d see it around the house and I just picked it up and started messing with it. I pretty much learnt how to play just from being in this band though!”

What was your first guitar and what are you playing now?
Gabriel: “Well my first one didn’t really have a fucking brand – it was just a Squier! Now I’m playing Jackson Guitars.”
Alex: “The acoustic my sister had was an Epiphone and then the first electric I got was a Washburn. But now I play a Dean.”

How would you describe yourselves as guitarists? Who do you model yourselves on?
Gabriel: “I don’t think there’s anyway of explaining yourself, you can’t describe yourself. It’s retarded! Descriptions come from what other people think of you. But my influences are people like Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Jason Becker and Marty Friedman. All good stuff!”
Alex: “I like a lot of bluesy players like Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Angus Young, but then I’m also really into a lot of shredders too – like Dimebag Darrell and Steve Vai.”

What was your first real big achievement on guitar?
Gabriel: “Probably as we were recording the album. The first solo I recorded made me feel like: “Oh shit, this is for real!” It was awesome.”
Alex: “We’ve always just jammed, and that’s how this all started. We’d have like 2 songs and 3 chords and we’d just jam around with people creating blues, funk, metal, whatever! And it felt great knowing I could do that with different people.”

Tell us about how you got signed. Did they check you out live or did you send them a demo first?
Gabriel: “The Florida Music Festival in Orlando was the big thing for us. But it took about 3 months before we actually got signed. The label saw us, flew us out to LA and we ended up playing a show for the ‘Big 6’.”
Alex: “When we actually did this showcase, Jimmy Iovine was there. There were some A&R guys around, and he was chatting to us and shaking hands. Just as he was about to walk away he turned back and said ‘By the way, sign ‘em.’ and then just walked off! Jimmy Iovine is a legend.”

What did it feel like getting signed at such a young age?
Gabriel: “When you play your own songs and people are singing along, it’s like a fucking dream come true! Before that, we’d be in my house you know, writing a song and I never thought that 2 years from then there’d be kids singing it. It’s fucking amazing! The other day we were on TV on the Jimmy Kimmel show, and my mum phoned. She’s proud of me and that’s all I want.”

Gabe, how does schooling work out on the road for you? Do you miss having a normal high school life?
Gabriel: “I’m doing online schooling. I’m still in 7th grade, I’ve failed like 3 times. But who gives a fuck?! We’re touring Europe! Do I miss it? No. Fuck school!”

Being so young and so adept at guitar playing already, do you feel any pressure to become some kind of super shredders before you turn 25?
Gabriel: “I don’t feel pressured for the future – not to be a legend by 25! But I’d love to be as good as Joe Satriani. I think I could be… with a lot of practice of course.”
Alex: “That’s why we’re lucky, because we’re super young, so we just have to keep playing and learn more.”

How did you come to start playing music that takes influence from an era WAY before your birthdates?
Gabriel: “Music started for me with Guns N Roses and Iron Maiden. From there it evolved into Megadeth and Pantera.”
Alex: “Maiden was definitely a huge turning point when I was about 14 or 15. That’s when I started changing the whole way I was playing. When people call us out now and say we sound like Maiden and Priest, I can see that for sure. It’s a compliment!”

What are some of the biggest bands you guys have played with?
Gabriel: “Ozzy Osbourne, Lamb Of God, Avenged Sevenfold. Playing festivals are great because you get to party with all the bands and meet new people, and you get to watch shows, which is something we like to do.”
Alex: “Yeah we’re still fans. Like when we toured with Avenged Sevenfold and The Confession – I must’ve watched them every time from the side of the stage. The whole tour with Avenged was amazing.”
Gabriel: “It was great for us, because it’s helped us gain more fans. People come up to us now, and are like ‘Yeah I saw you play with Avenged!’ So that’s kinda cool.”

Do you often feel as though you have to bring it when playing alongside older more established guitarists?
Gabriel: “We had Zakk Wylde playing a couple hours after us on the exact same stage at Ozzfest. It’s insane, but there’s no pressure. You can do what you do and that’s it.”
Alex: “He’d only show up just before he played though, so I knew he was never watching us. But if I knew he was there… you know that’s the kinda shit that might make you fuck up! Like ‘Holy shit!’”

The majority of you guys are under 20, you have just released your debut album and you’ve already got some killer shows under you belt. Where do you see the band in 10 years?
Gabriel: “We’re gonna keep touring! In 10 years we just want bigger crowds, and another 4 albums. We have the right label, the right management, the right team, the crew guys – everyone that works with us is amazing. So if everything just keeps going as it is now…”

Does it annoy you when people go on about how young you are?
Gabriel: “Yes it does. A little bit anyway. But you know, being young just means we have more time to play, and to practise what we do!”

 

Interview: Gary Sutherland © 2008.