It has been more than eight years since Eric Garcia's anti-blues band Juke put together a recording its founder has felt proud to share. "I haven't liked anything we recorded since the first album," Garcia tells New Times. That record, Lungbutter - The Blues Basement Tapes, is the only album he believes captures the spirit of Juke, which in essence reflects Garcia's love for blues music and his hatred for what it has become.
Garcia started the band a decade ago when he met Erik Broberg at a jam at the Coral Gables bar Titanic. "We hated traditional blues and wanted something more groove-oriented that wasn't just a guy singing his complaints. We would refuse to play blues clubs where you'd have all these 50-year-old white guys wanting to hear traditional blues songs played traditional ways."
Garcia says he strove to write lyrics about subjects more diverse than the typical my-woman-done-left-me variety. One song delved into his mother suffering from Alzheimer's, and a less autobiographical tune was about escaping to Mexico after murdering someone. Juke's sense of blues rebellion was flippant enough that the title of that debut record, Lungbutter, came from a line of dialogue in the old cartoon Futurama.
Though the motif behind Juke has remained consistent over the past decade, the players have not. Broberg moved out of South Florida a few years later, and after that the only constant in Juke's roster beyond Garcia was change. Once the lineup solidified with guitarist Sonny East, drummer Korian Hannah, and bassist Marcel Salas, Garcia thought the quartet had grown tight enough that he should do something about there being only one Juke record he liked.
Because Garcia thinks he performs better in a live setting than in a recording studio, he knew he wanted the band's next album to be a live record. His day job helped provide the time and the setting. "I do the music bookings for Wynwood Yard. I don't want to be the asshole who books his band all the time. But I had an open date on a Friday night, and I put two and two together."
So Friday, July 21, Juke will record Juke Live at the Yard, and the band wants you to be a part of it.
"We're going to play two one-hour sets," Garcia says. "Andres Daza is going to record the second set for the album. We're also going to be making videos from it, so there will be a lot of GoPros running around. I want to capture our live energy and make something that actually sounds like us."
DJ Le Spam will mix the recording, which the band hopes will be released in October. But this is not a get-rich-quick scheme: Admission to the show will be free, as will the album that will come out of it.
"I don't believe in selling music anymore," Garcia says. "When was the last time you bought a CD? We'll release it for free digitally."
Garcia says he has a better way for listeners to monetarily support his artistic pursuits.
"I found an old typewriter that types in cursive. And being a lit major in college, I'm proud of my lyrics, so for $10 I type up the lyrics of a fan's choice and send it to them." He hopes that in a couple of months, he'll have a record equally worthy of sharing.
Juke. 9 p.m. Friday, July 21, at the Wynwood Yard, 56 NW 29th St., Miami; 305-447-8678; thewynwoodyard.com. Admission is free.
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