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David Garza

After a teenhood spent gigging in Deep Ellum by night and attending Catholic school by day, 18-year-old David Garza gave his career a kick in the pants when he and some school chums decided to go busk for a coupla bucks in UT's West Mall in 1989. That fateful decision led to the 10-month ascendancy of Austin's beloved acoustic outfit, Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom, still adored by local Gen Xers to this day. Garza was born Feb. 4, 1971, in Irving and found his way to Austin via a classical guitar scholarship to the University of Texas' music school but dropped out a year later. After going solo in 1990, Garza self-released a string of albums that showcased his evolving maturity as an artist and a man: Where his Eyes Wide Open (1991) was the work of a young man writing about boyish things, his 1998 Atlantic Records debut, This Euphoria, wasn't in line with the evolutionary triumph of David Garza from 2006, a work of sensuality and romanticism. In addition to his prolific, independent output of sensitive, virtuoso music, Garza also has worked as a producer and studio musician for such artists as Alejandro Escovedo, Juliana Hatfield, and Rhett Miller. Garza releases new music at a brisk pace, often digitially on – Melanie Haupt
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12/04/15 @ Cactus Cafe
Davíd Garza, Juliana Sheffield

Polymath melodymaker meets 8½ Souvenirs thespian.

10/06/14 @ Cactus Cafe

Self-portrait Picasso with a touch of Daniel Johnston, the show flier for David Garza’s campus sleepover captures the plaintive vulnerability of Austin’s music chameleon. Site of his coupling to the local scene, UT’s west side gives way to its velvet listening room over two nights of Latin court and spark. Last year’s Human Tattoo, artwork by fellow song rebel Amy Cook, hummed cabaret disembodiment “Rude Eyeshadow” and piano ballad “Heavens in Your Heart.” Southwestern chic meets Manhattan refinement.

05/12/12 @ Fiesta Gardens
Pachanga Fest: Ana Tijoux (and more)
Gunshots and a military drum beat set the tone on the title track of La Bala (The Bullet), the sophomore salvo from French-Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux. The album fits into a rich tradition of Chilean protest music that includes Victor Jara, the Nueva Canción martyr murdered by the same Pinochet regime that sent Tijoux’s parents to exile in France.

Last year, while the Arab Spring bloomed and protesters occupied Wall Street and beyond, students took to the streets of Chile. “La Bala,” delivered in Tijoux’s precise and poetic rhymes, tells of a young demonstrator killed by police.

“Culture is a reflection of the country and what is happening in society,” Tijoux declares. “As a citizen, as a mother, as a Chilean, as a South American woman, I was talking about education and about the protests with my kid, with my mother, with my friends and with other musicians. To make a song about it was very natural. It was almost a necessity.

“The fact that the young students in Chile are protesting for a free and good education is beautiful. It’s kids talking about what they want and their future. There is nothing more beautiful than that. It’s a fight about life and about hope and dreams. We are free to dream and to want another kind of world.”

Those dreams are present in the softer moments of La Bala. The boom-bap of golden era hip-hop is still present, but so too are lush string arrangements and the hushed whisper of Tijoux’s smoky singing. It’s easy to appreciate whether or not la letra is lost in translation.

“It’s about music first of all, and energy. It’s not strange that people listen to me without understanding. All the world listens to North American music without understanding either.”

Thomas Fawcett


Chico Trujillo
Hierba stage, 9pm
Chico Trujillo formed in Chile more than a dozen years ago, paying homage to cumbia’s golden age with a rumbling big band sound and cheeky cover art harkening back to the mid-20th century. A spin-off of Chilean ska band La Floripondio, Chico Trujillo isn’t one to play it straight either. Delivered live con gusto, “Ahora Quien” reveals a punk rock love affair, while “La Escoba” nearly rides off the rails with the swirling debauchery of an Irish drinking anthem. – T.F.

La Santa Cecilia
Patio stage, 8pm
Lila Downs, SXSW 2012 “La Reyna del Inframundo” (Queen of the Underworld), won’t be swigging tequila at Pachanga, but La Santa Cecilia might. Limon y sal or no, La Marisoul heads up her sixpiece Los Angelinos in similar fashion – at the hips and by the throat. Over a series of handmade EPs increasingly Afro-Pan-American, her bilingual folk-pop danceteria huffs cumbia, bossa nova, and ultimately grassroots Hispanica. Shot glass worthy. – Raoul Hernandez

Forro in the Dark
Hierba stage, 5:10pm
Born from a one-off birthday jam for bandleader and zabumba drummer Mauro Refosco, Forro in the Dark has transformed into a bona fide scion of the loping dance music of rural northeastern Brazil. The quartet of Brazilian ex-pats has been filling the dance floors of New York nightclubs since 2002 and earned a co-sign from David Byrne, who helped spark debut Bonfires of São João.– T.F.

Niños Rock Pachanga
Electro Cumbia stage, 1-5pm
Herding los más pequeños to Pachanga Fest? Say que paso? to Niños Rock Pachanga, the kids area where the next generation can rock out at their own personal photo session, join the Piñata Party, win on a cupcake walk, and make clay tamales, masks, or a floral halo. Particularly noteworthy are the music workshops with David Garza (songwriting), Bobby Garza (keyboards), Son Armado (percussion). Kids under 12 get in free with a paid adult. – Margaret Moser

Local Latinaires
by Thomas Fawcett & Raoul Hernandez

Los Lonely Boys
Pavilion stage, 9:15pm
Santanista siblings cook up Rockpango.

Girl in a Coma
Pavilion stage, 7:45pm
San Antonio-bred, Morrissey-branded, Joan Jett-endorsed.

Pavilion stage, 6:15pm
Grupo Fantasma extract whose new disc Oozy explores lowrider soul.

David Garza
Patio stage, 6:10pm
Unoffical Pachanga Fest emcee, duet king, and song/strum dervish.

Los Bandidos Cosmicos
Electro Cumbia stage, 5:45pm
DJ Manny and Afrofreque’s Claude McCan team for spacey dancehall jams.

Alejandro Escovedo
Pavilion stage, 4:45pm
June’s Big Station orbits third and most Bowie-esque collaboration with Space Oddity producer Tony Visconti.

Maneja Beto
Patio stage, 4:20pm
“Indie en Español” only because synth-wave-hard-rock-cumbia ain’t too catchy.

Ruben Ramos & the Mexican Revolution
Pavilion stage, 3:15pm
Grammy-winning Tejano titan “El Gato Negro” has led the Mexican Revolution since 1969.

Patricia Vonne
Pavilion stage, 2pm
When not in brother Robert Rodriguez’s films, Vonne’s Tejano twang remains well Worth It.

04/25/11 @ Vino Vino
Benefit for Japan Earthquake Relief
David Garza and friends help out.
01/20/11 @ Lamberts
Amy Cook, David Garza
Letting the light in with two Austin songwriting gems.
08/29/10 @ Waterloo Park
'Austin Chronicle' Hot Sauce Festival
05/22/10 @ Fiesta Gardens
Pachanga Latino Music Festival
In a town as rife with festivals as ours, the Pachanga Latino Music Festival has made its name in just three short years by showcasing the best in Latin music, local and global, known and unknown. This year, Austin heroes Grupo Fantasma fire up a well-oiled machine with Fania Records’ Larry Harlow on the keys, along with fellow Texans Girl in a Coma, Hacienda, Roberto Pulido, David Garza, Amplified Heat, Piñata Protest, and Vallejo, among others. International flights of funk and fancy come via Colombia’s Bomba Estéreo, NYC’s Pacha Massive, and more. See “Sí Señor” for the whole rundown.
04/12/10 @ Cactus Cafe
David Garza
April residency from the Dream lover.
11/17/09 @ Cactus Cafe
David Garza, Sara Hickman, Abra Moore, Kat Edmonson
Locals give thanks. Free, but donations will be accepted for House the Homeless.
06/14/09 @ Threadgill's World HQ
Steamboat Reunion
The gang’s all here! Patrice Pike and Wayne Sutton resurrect Sixth Street’s Jefferson Airplane, while Vallejo brings the Santana. If six were indeed nine, 1990s Steamboat stable hands were a throwback to Haight/Ashbury, the scene one of peace, love, and jams. Pachanga music fest star David Garza, Mr. Rocket Baby’s Johnny Goudie, MC Overlord, and Captain Danny Crooks’ spawn in the Alice Rose relive Austin’s own Monterey Pops one Sunday only. 3pm.
05/30/09 @ Fiesta Gardens
Pachanga Latino Music Fest
12/02/08 @ Continental Club
David Garza
Previewing January’s Dream Delay.
01/01/08 @ Continental Club
Kathleen Edwards
If you’ve been waiting for the follow-up to Edwards’ 2005 smashing tale of self-confidence and triumph, Back to Me, expect tunes from the songwriterly Canadian chanteuse’s upcoming Asking for Flowers. The LeRoi Brothers play before; pop god David Garza – hand-picked by Fiona Apple to open her gigs last year – follows Edwards in the rootsy trifecta.
09/04/06 @ Cactus Cafe
Davíd Garza
Garza rocks the Cactus every Monday in September.
09/15/06 @ Continental Club
Alejandro Escovedo
Big Al headlines with kindred spirit Davíd Garza.
07/07/06 @ The Backyard at Bee Cave
Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple has come a long way from the sulky, slightly bratty teen who famously declared, a decade ago, that “this world is bullshit” on the MTV Music Awards. Apple, now 28, has matured into an effervescent woman we don’t need to watch with a furrowed brow anymore. Extraordinary Machine, her first album in six years, was released last fall after a media-documented tug-of-war with her label Epic, who felt her songs weren’t commercial enough. No one knew what to expect, given Apple’s mercurial public image, which ranged from the (allegedly) unhinged teenage cutter of 1996’s Tidal to the unhinged femme fatale of 1999’s When the Pawn.... Machine was a pleasant surprise, however, revealing a leveled version of Fiona Apple that was close to hinged. She handpicked her touring partners, David Garza and Damien Rice, the latter of whom she had not heard until someone suggested him as her partner on the double bill; after listening to his bittersweet O, she was duly impressed. “I feel like there’s such a lack of genuineness ... people seem to be making music so that they can get famous and not because they mean what they’re doing,” she says from San Francisco. “I really felt like, this guy really means it.” She’s proving she means it by touring for the first time in almost a decade, something that would have threatened her delicate psyche in the past, and performing the songs that helped earn her reputation as a nut job. “For some reason, when I’m singing them, I completely revert back to being that way,” she explains. “There’s been a few times during shows where, in between songs, I think, ‘I can’t believe I still have this anger in me!’ “I don’t want to be faking any of it, but I don’t feel like this normally. I’m hoping that something takes over me so that I can mean the songs and perform them well because, otherwise, I really am one of the angriest people I’ve ever known!”
04/22/06 @ Block 21
Rock the Block with Roky Erickson, David Garza, Alejandro Escovedo
A vacant block gets rocked by Austin Green Art.
01/13/06 @ Stubb's
Heard on Veronica Mars
Conventional wisdom among geeks suggests that not only is Veronica Mars one of the best-written shows on television, it’s perhaps the show with the smartest soundtrack. Credit goes to ex-Austinite and Hey Zeus bassist Rob Thomas (see this week’s cover story), who for Mars sent more than his share of money back to ATX by using music from bands like Spoon. Thomas has lined up four more local acts here: Davíd Garza, the Fire Marshals of Bethlehem, the Daylight Titans, and the Rite Flyers. It’s a night you can’t TiVo.
09/05/05 @ Cactus Cafe
Davíd Garza
Davíd Garza says he’s agreed to play the Cactus each Monday this month partially to assuage the guilt of Cactus proprietor Griff Luneburg. “He’s ashamed he never books anyone born in the Seventies,” Garza says. “I’m his token young guy.” Kidding aside, Garza’s playing two sets a night, with guest commitments already in from Kelly Willis, Bruce Robison, Micheal Fracasso, and Juliana Sheffield. Expect previews of material from Garza’s upcoming Spanish-language album and new tunes he’ll record in November with Craig Street.
07/29/05 @ Stubb's
Davíd Garza
Summer Songs 6 from ATX’s tropical storm.
01/12/04 @ Cactus Cafe
Davíd Garza has escaped Los Angeles. "I think I did my time," he says. "I’m back." As easy as that, one of Austin’s perennially favorite singer-songwriters returns – and it’s hardly the beaten and defeated homecoming Austin’s come to expect. Since quietly heading west two years ago, Garza held down one of L.A.’s most coveted gigs: a residency at Fairfax Avenue’s Largo, where he drew standing-room-only crowds and found himself in a mutual admiration society with folks like Jon Brion, Aimee Mann, and Fiona Apple. Out of dodge with a gaggle of new friends and a war chest of new songs, he’s spent his holidays wrapping up a new 4-CD box set, due this spring. Now, another residency – a month’s worth of free Mondays at the Cactus, with two shows each night: 7:30 and 9:30pm. Whether he’s flying solo or with his Austin-band-in-waiting of Chepo Peña, Sean Mullins, and Nina Singh, he’s not saying, but the happy homecomer says not to read into the lack of cover. "The Cactus was the first place I played in Austin. And it was free. Why shouldn’t I try to make it feel as much like when I first came here?"
Last Updated: August 30, 2007

February 4, 1971
Genre: Pop/Rock and Singer-Songwriter/Folk
Austin Music Awards:
2009: Hall of Fame Inductee
1998: Musician of the Year
Record Reviews:
Human Tattoo
* * *
Full Discography:
Culture Vulture
Crystal Clear Sound (1991)
Eyes Wide Open
Crystal Clear Sound (1991)
This Euphoria
Atlantic (1998)
Kingdom Come and Go
Wide Open (1999)
Atlantic (2001)
Summer Songs Four
Wide Open (2002)
A Strange Mess of Flowers
Wide Open (2004)
David Garza
Wide Open (2006)
From the Archives:
El Wizard Adrian Quesada's Multiplicity (Music Story July 17, 2014)

Ex-Grupo Fantasma guitarist Adrian Quesada diversifies
Texas Platters (Music Story August 23, 2013)

A magnificent seven Texas Platters
Texas Platters (Music Story August 23, 2013)
A magnificent seven Texas Platters
Diamond in the Rough (Music Story October 5, 2012)

Shawn Colvin's sad songs say so much
Off the Record (Music Column May 27, 2011)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column May 13, 2011)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column March 4, 2011)

Music News
Chasing Amy (Music Story April 9, 2010)

Amy Cook lets the light in
Off the Record (Music Column February 5, 2010)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column December 11, 2009)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column October 9, 2009)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column October 2, 2009)

Music News
Off the Record (Music Column April 17, 2009)

Music news
Record Review (Music Story January 23, 2009)

This Euphoria (Music Story January 23, 2009)

In dreams with David Garza