Interview by Devon Jones
Photos by Bill Crowe except first photo provided by Chuck Garric
Chuck Garric joined Alice Cooper in 2003 in time to play Bass on the "Eyes Of Alice Cooper" album and hasn't looked back since. Having previously worked with Ronnie James Dio he was no stranger to the big stage and fitted in immediately. Along side his work with Alice, Chuck also has his own band 'The Drüts' and is also scheduled to be in Europe in April helping out ex-Cooper drummer Eric Singer in his band ESP.
SickthingsUK: First of all thank you so much for agreeing to this interview. Our readers will be eager to hear from you.
Chuck Garric: I hope that's true. Happy to do this for you and the fans.
SickthingsUK: You have been playing with Alice for over two years now, what has that been like for you?
Chuck Garric: It's been amazing, got the gig in time to play on the
Eyes of Alice Cooper record. The tours have been a blast and the guys I
play with are top notch. We could make this whole interview about what
the last two years have been like playing with The Coop. How many time
can I say amazing?
SickthingsUK: Do you have any crazy stories to share about the road the last year or two?
Chuck Garric: I found myself drinking some sort of moonshine with the bass
player of JET in Dublin. After that it's all been kind of a blur.
SickthingsUK: "The Eyes of Alice Cooper" was a different album compared to what Alice had been releasing previously (Brutal Planet, Dragon-town.) What brought about the idea for a Garage Rock album that was very stripped down?
Chuck Garric: Alice told me.... plug in over there so I did. I learned the
songs for the record and the set for the Bare Bones tour all at once.
At that point I had my work cut out for me. So garage record, Punk
record, Hip Hop record, shit I didn't care I just wanted to play.
SickthingsUK: When the "Eyes" was in development, can you share any of what some of the ideas of what kind of album "The Eyes" was going to be initially? Was it going to be a concept album? Were there any working titles before "The Eyes of Alice Cooper” was settled on?
Chuck Garric: As far as I knew it was going to be a Rock album. There were a few titles can't really
remember if they were any good or not. Remember I was not there at the
beginning of the writing process. I played on all of the tracks but the
songs had aleady been written before I had come into the picture.
Detroit city was the only one that I co. wrote.
SickthingsUK: The last two years of the Alice Cooper tours have been a considerably stripped down show to fit the theme of the "Eyes" album. When this idea was brought up for a stripped down show, how did the band feel about cutting the theatrics and was there ever the thought that losing the theatrics could disappoint the audience?
Chuck Garric: To be honest I was looking forward to playing
on stage with all the theatrics. But when I saw the stage lay out and
heard the concept of stripping down the show from Alice I thought the
Idea was great. We were able to bring some songs into the set that
hadn't been played for awhile because it was more of a Rock show.
SickthingsUK: Which sort of show do you prefer, the more serious approach of Brutal Planet/Dragontown or the heads down fun of the "Bare Bones" type show?
Chuck Garric: No preference, I like playing and being on tour.
SickthingsUK: Dennis Dunaway had said in an interview, that can be found on the Alice Cooper Documentary "Prime Cuts" 2 disc deluxe edition, that personalities of most bassists are that of a "Follower." His example was that he was the last in the band to pick what instrument he would play, and so he just kind of "Followed" along. Do you think that is a true statement about bassists as well? Do you consider yourself a "follower?"
Chuck Garric: I guess I can relate. The reason I started playing bass
was that the band we started as kids needed a bass player so that's
what I went out and bought. By following along with the band and not
having any lessons helps you develop your style.
SickthingsUK: You have played among many a notable artists, one of which is Ronnie James Dio who is considered one of the pioneers of Heavy Metal. Do you consider yourself "lucky" to have worked with the likes of Dio and Alice, or do you feel that it is an achievement that you worked for?
Chuck Garric: I definitely worked for it. I do consider myself very lucky to have both
Alice Cooper and Ronnie james Dio on my resume. I wrote a song for the
new Dio album Master of the Moon. The song is titled 'Death by Love.'
SickthingsUK: I think it is safe to say that when someone plays bass for Alice Cooper, they definitely have their work cut out for them because of the brilliant and complex work of the original bassist, Dennis Dunaway, as well as his following bassists. How carefully do you try to recreate the work of your predecessors (i.e. Dennis) when approaching Alice material?
Chuck Garric: I always learn the songs from the original recording.
Dunaway's bass lines are important parts of most Alice songs. From that
I bring my style and attitude to the songs and apply the changes that
are made for the live version of the material.
SickthingsUK: What is the most challenging Alice song to play live and how do you overcome it? Most challenging song by any other artist to play?
Chuck Garric: Billion dollar babies is challenging fun as hell to play. And I think
that's how you over come any song you have fun with it, you trust the
guys around you and and believe in your talent. Practice always helps.
SickthingsUK: When Alice says "Okay lets do this song that we have never played before or haven't for 20 years on the next tour," is it a song he usually knows that you can play or do you have to learn it in so much time and what do you do to learn it?
Chuck Garric: Alice believes that we haven't gotten this far by being hacks. So yeah he'll suggest a song for us to
learn last minute. For example when we were over in Greece this last
year we heard that the song 'Bed of nails' was a hit there. So we got to
sound check early learned the song played it a few times and performed
SickthingsUK: Do you hope to keep working with Alice Cooper on records and live on stage?
Chuck Garric: Yes most definitely.
SickthingsUK: Now you also have a band of your own called Drüts as everyone should know. What can you tell us about that?
Chuck Garric: I put together a band that rocks and is relentless good old Rock and Roll.
SickthingsUK: I've listened to one of your songs, "The Bomb," from your new album and have to say that after only 2 listens to that song, I was really enjoying it and now it's a regular part of my playlist. You seem to take off on more or less a rough and raw straight on Rock sound with an "In Your Face" sound. Is this a result of an influence by the collaborations you have had over the years or was this a sound you naturally wanted?
Chuck Garric: I toured with Motorhead when I was with DIO and they kicked ass every night. I have always had a love for that kind of music and attitude.
SickthingsUK: As has been asked with the other band members concerning their solo projects, do you feel that your writing style for your solo material is any different than writing with Alice?
Chuck Garric: Writing with Alice you have a guy that has written thousands of songs and it becomes a collaboration and your mind set is....we are writing an Alice Cooper song. So you index all the Alice material your brain can muster and go for it. The difference is.. on your own stuff there is no one else to answer to.
SickthingsUK: As a musician and rocker who obviously has good taste in music and has exposure in the music business, from your perspective, do you think Rock will come back and be as strong as it was before or do you think that the "Rap and Hip Hop" trend will be around for a long time?
Chuck Garric: Rock will never go away.
SickthingsUK: Is there any updates you can provide for new album?
Chuck Garric: Get ready it's
going to be a great one!!
SickthingsUK: Anything else you want to tell us?
Chuck Garric: See you on the road. And thanks for your support. LIVE FAST DIE LOUD!!
Big thank you to Chuck for taking the time to talk to us. Check out www.beastoblanco.com for more news and info.