Features, Print January 29, 2019

Heaven: Los Lonely Boys’ Jojo Garza On Living Their Dream

by Kyle Eustice

Jojo Garza laughs easily. He’s also a master of metaphors. From comparing families to giant fruit trees to describing the music industry as a golf course, Garza effortlessly paints pictures with words. The Los Lonely Boys vocalist/bassist — who is expected to play at Washington’s in Fort Collins February 2 alongside his brothers Henry and Ringo — applies his positive attitude to everything he does, especially Los Lonely Boys’ music.

Since catapulting to international notoriety with their 2004 hit “Heaven,” the San Angelo, Texas-based trio has pumped out five more albums, culminating with their latest project, 2014’s Revelation. But in the music industry’s ever-evolving landscape, Garza understands albums aren’t currently in high demand.

“The business has changed a lot and the need for full albums isn’t exactly supply and demand these days, especially if you’re independent,” Garza tells BandWagon Magazine. “If you’re part of a major label, they just throw you in the box with Cracker Jacks or Golden Grahams. We’re still doing this ourselves. One of the things we’ve always said is that the music of Los Lonely Boys never stops being written. We’ve always got songs to record and play. Usually people want to hear a lot of the stuff they’re familiar with. I feel the market is really leaning toward singles.”

“It’s like the golf course,” he continues. “You gotta see what the land is doing, so you make your judgement call by that. For us, we always have new music. The way the business is, we’re definitely looking to bring something out very, very soon though.”

Photo by Piper Ferguson

For over two decades, the Grammy Award-winning Garza brothers have tackled the music industry together. While Garza admits they’ve had their fair share of disagreements, their common goals are the glue holding the group together.

“For the most part, we’ve have the same ambitions, hopes and dreams,” he says. “We all saw the same stage, audience and lights. We’ve pretty much been on the same page as per this music gig. Los Lonely Boys are not just musicians. This is what the world knows Los Lonely Boys for. There’s a lot more depth to the Garza brothers than just being a musician or somebody who plays a piece of wood with metal strings or pounds on drums. That’s something we wanted to express over the years. We have these other sides to our creativity, as well.”

Garza jokingly credits his mother’s “chancla,” which the Urban Dictionary defines as “The deadliest weapon known to a Latin kid; a flying slipper/ flip-flop.”

“If we needed a spanking, we got it,” he says with a laugh. “My mom was dead aim with the chancla and could hit us with blazing speed. All of this is really true. We fought. We’ve gone all through that. Nobody has your back like your la familia and sometimes, nobody stabs you in your back like your la familia [laughs]. It’s all of it.”

Photo by Piper Feguson

In March 2013, Ringo and Jojo found themselves in a position where they had to have Henry’s back, almost literally. After performing at Los Angeles’ Downey Civic Center, Henry (the guitarist) fell through the orchestra pit as he was going to greet their fans, suffering serious back and neck injuries. It’s something that still affects the Garza brothers today.

“Oh my gosh, even to this day we’re feeling the after effects every day,” he admits. “It hasn’t gone away at all. The most beautiful part of it all is that our brother stares in the face of adversity that is unknown. Of course we’re there, too. But the process is still daily. The shows have to be a little altered because he’s not as physically capable for a certain amount of time and we’ve had to adapt. That’s the way it is for all of us.

“Henry would tell you he’s not 100 percent, but he’s 100 percent happy to be alive. That’s carried over the rest of us. There’s always light in the darkest places. However, I think one of the things we spread to our youth is don’t bet on tomorrow. People believe you’re guaranteed the next second. Much can be learned and lost from these experiences. Like, ‘Hey you’re not the only one who’s been through it,’ but we just gotta keep going.”

Los Lonely Boys play Washington’s in Fort Collins on Saturday, February 2 with Los Mocochetes.