A Benefit Concert to Support Local Veterinary Care Featuring Performances by: John Garcia & the Band of Gold Billy Steinberg and trio
Saturday, September 17, 2022 at 8 p.m.
101 N Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA
One of the main conclusions of this article that you’ll be glad to learn is that John Garcia is nowhere near completion of his music career. Recently celebrating 52 years of breath, JG is carving out a new niche by embracing his maturity by continuing to write new music and helping others. Always the altruistic soul, JG will headline the Pet Love and Rock and Roll event at Annenberg Theater in Palm Springs, California to benefit College of the Desert’s Veterinary Assistant Program by creating scholarships geared towards securing a healthy number of vet assistants to meet the ever-growing need for first-rate animal care in the Coachella Valley and High Desert.
In the Beginning…
I first met John on a scorching blacktop asphalt at Jefferson Middle School in Indio, California approximately 40 years ago. We quickly became friends during pick-up basketball games and I recall a memory of he and a mutual buddy John Moreno introducing me to a revolutionary hair product called “mousse”. That time seems so distant now, and yet, here we are, still connected. John shared the sentiment, “It’s crazy you and I have known each other for four decades, we’ve known each other a long time and it’s really cool to be talking about this stuff with you”.
During the Kyuss years I would jaywalk across Highway 111 and see them perform at Mario Lalli’s Rhythm and Brews. That’s where I met the other dudes in the band. I have also had the privilege of writing about JG, his bands and his music over the years and before that, I worked in producing some of his local shows. So if anyone is gonna tap into the true JG it might as well be me.
We all know the Kyuss story; the keg/generator parties out in the boondocks; the big-selling and influential albums; the world tours with the likes of Metallica, Danzig, Faith No More and White Zombie; the drama around the dissolution and so on. JG is ever-mindful of his past and I can attest that he has no regrets. For he knows that without the strain of his miscalculations, he would not be able to rejoice in the liberation of his triumphs.
These days, John is the consummate husband, father, workmate, bandmate and friend. JG appreciates the little things. “I’m praising the ‘Big Man’ upstairs for my health. There are so many things that can go wrong, my health is everything. To pick up a pen and write something, it’s something that I don’t take for granted. I’m incredibly blessed to be here”. With his wife Wendy, children Marshall and Madison, John is navigating the seas of life with more joy in him than I have ever witnessed. “Speaking to you after all these years, that’s incredible that we’re even talking about a benefit for Veterinary Assistant program at C.O.D. I’ve changed so much that I don’t even know that kid from high school anymore, he’s long gone. I just turned 52, I’m over that hump. I got a whole new perspective on life. It’s a good thing. As a husband and dad, I’ve gone through things. They don’t teach you in high school how to be a dad. Either you have it in you to be a dad or you don’t”. JG has definitely come into his own as a man and human being. “All the stupid things I did when I was a kid, all the wrongs, I wanna do right. Growing up and looking at that kid that I once was, I would love to slap him around and say, ‘hey dude, wise up!’. Looking back, I think the best thing that ever could have happened to me was the demise of Kyuss.”
Willingness to Help
John and his band members have participated in several benefit shows throughout the years including Idyllwild Strong Benefit Festival and the Concert for Autism. When it comes to supporting causes, his instinctual response is a resounding yes. “It was very hard to say no. The thing is, not only did I have to say yes to it, but Marshall and Wendy had to say yes to it. Because that meant time away, no more summer Sundays with the family. You can forget about that. Coming home after working 8 to 10 hours then going to rehearsal, so dad’s not gonna be home for dinner. The other thing is, I can’t stress this enough, not only did I have to commit to this, but Greg Saenz, he had to commit to this, Mike Pygmie, he had to commit to this. They had to talk to their wives and families. And Eddie Limas, driving from Redlands to rehearse away from his wife and kids. That means time away from their families. I could not have done this without Mike, Greg and Eddie.”
There is a huge gap to be filled for veterinarian staffing in the Coachella Valley and High Desert. John shared there is only one 24/7 facility in the entire area. This event has already catapulted the dilemma into the forefront. “Our purpose is to bring awareness with what’s going on in the veterinary industry which I live through every day. It’s hard to find a vet, it’s hard to find help. There was a mass exodus of vet staffing due to COVID. When the restrictions hit and everybody stayed in, they were lonely, they wanted companionship, so they cleared the shelters. And the owners that had pets stayed in and sheltered in place. When the restrictions started to ease, all the existing pet owners had pets that had ailments they put bandaids on. Everyone had left the industry, so there was a crisis, we had to turn people away. People became angry because we couldn’t help them. We cannot compromise the integrity of the care we were giving to our existing clients. It was disheartening. When we did treat animals, it was on an emergency basis only. People were having to drive out of town to Murrieta, Ontario, Irvine, San Diego and Los Angeles. Who wants to do that? But what do you do if your dog has congestive heart failure and the cardiologist here is booked out until the summer of 2023?”
This will likely be one of the only times you will be able to see and hear John and band perform an acoustic set and a fully plugged set in the same show. John plays down his role and the energy he expends on his craft. “All I have to do is show up and play. I plan on bringing it. I’m going to be myself. Not only are we doing an acoustic set, but we’re also doing an electric set.”
Annenberg Theater has been kind enough to open the Palm Springs Art Museum to any paid ticket holder. The ticket includes full admission to the museum as well as a pre-concert reception with wine and hors d’oeuvre courtesy of Willie Rhine of Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge. DeAnn Lubell, prize-winning writer, publicist, and a teacher of the arts and Bruce Fessier, former journalist for the Desert Sun for 40 years have both been instrumental in the facilitation of this event.
Dr. Shawn Behrenfeld is a traveling surgeon who goes all around the Coachella Valley, even as far as Yucaipa and Calimesa to perform procedures. Dr. Behrenfeld assists vets who are unable to complete some of these extensive orthopedics and other soft tissue surgeries. The Dr. is also a musician and drummer. John is thrilled to have him come up on stage. “He’s gonna come up on stage with us and play drums on Green Machine. I was just in the operating room with him two weeks ago performing this tibial plateau leveling osteotomy or TPLO. He’s an incredible surgeon”.
As I spoke with John on the phone he referred to his dogs Chip Lilly and Lexi who stared at him throughout our conversation. John is known for his passion and love for all animals. “Ever since I was a kid I was an animal guy. I have an affinity in caring for animals. I was working yesterday with Dr. Juarez and we saw a lot of sick pets. At 52, I’m still doing it. I’m still passionate about doing it. I love my career path. The career path for me was not to be a veterinarian but being on the floor. It was being on the frontlines. Helping the vets getting all the information that they need so they can make the correct diagnosis so they can help heal the animals. That’s what I do, I’m a grunt. I draw the blood, I take the x-rays. Some of the things my crew and I do are hold down the animals so we can obtain urine through cystocentesis and facilitate ultrasounds. We’re getting bit on, shit on, pissed on and scratched. That happens almost on a daily basis. You’re sore from being on the ground trying to hold down a 142 pound shepherd because the dog had an ear infection. They don’t know what’s going on. You’re holding it down and trying to help it. It’s an incredible feeling when they can walk out knowing you helped them. It’s about bringing awareness and community. This Coachella Valley is all about that.”
C.O.D. Vet Asst Program
Veterinary assistants are vital in providing empathetic animal treatment. They do many daily tasks, such as feeding, weighing, and taking the temperature of animals. Other routine duties include giving medication, cleaning cages, or providing nursing care before and after surgery or other medical procedures. John is excited about the community’s response to this movement. “With this benefit, C.O.D. is matching up to five scholarships. I’m very proud to say that we’ve gone far and beyond that already. We’ve raised enough to match the five so that’s ten scholarships and there’s enough to rollover to next year. We’re all stoked. We fight the fight that needs fighting, and this is one of them. I’m proud to be a part of this one. We can’t do it without the help of everyone. This was ground roots for me. I’ve never done this before but I went to a lot of veterinarian’s offices and dropped off flyers to bring awareness.”
Movin’ and Groovin’
Other than the success so far of the cause, the next best thing for me, and I’m sure many of John’s worldwide fans, is to hear JG and the Band of Gold will be traversing new music. “I do want to continue. I do want to write another record, I do have another story to tell. I do want to continue to not be bored. I want to continue to write. This a really cool hobby, I don’t know if that’s the correct word or the right verbiage. It’s gonna happen. As long as I’ve got breath in these lungs and I can still push a lot of air and I think I can still hold a tune. I’ve got some submissions from Greg. I don’t want anybody to see us coming until we come out of the darkness and go ‘BANG’ here ya go! Here’s this! I like being in the shadows a little bit. I definitely want to tour again. I haven’t toured in two and a half years. Prior to the pandemic, I usually went to Europe at least twice a year, Australia at least once a year and down to South America once every couple of years. Everything just stopped. I was speaking to my booking agent Yuri I’m ready to get back on the road again. To make another record and booking a European tour, that’s gonna take me a year and a half to two years. I’m not going anywhere, I’m here. I’m enjoying life. That’s all I can do. All my spare time is devoted to sitting in the master bedroom and writing lyrics. Last night at midnight, I woke up and I jotted down some ideas, it was refreshing. When the time comes, these words will be sung. It’s in the works.”
Amy’s Purpose is a 501 (cx3) nonprofit organization dedicated to pet safety and predator awareness by providing community-based education programs. Tax ID#86-1898526
Cheers with John Garcia at Stout
On Friday night before the show at 10 p.m., John is inviting all of his friends and fans for a cold one at Stout Burgers & Beers located inside the Kimpton Rowan Hotel at 100 W. Tahquitz Canyon Way, Ste 130 Palm Springs, CA. “It’s me, our friends, the Kyuss World guys planning to just get together and have a couple of cold ones and make a weekend out of it. It’s gonna be a cool event.”
College of the Desert Veterinary Assistants Program
Veterinary Assistants are entry-level healthcare professionals that work in many different veterinary settings. Most Veterinary Assistants work closely with Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians to provide medical care for sick or injured animals. Some Veterinary Assistants develop careers in other areas of animal care such as, pet sitting, behavioral training, grooming, and animal therapy.
Through this training program, individuals will receive quality training from dedicated and experienced instructors. They will receive hands-on training to be able to work side-by-side with a veterinary team tending to the needs of animals. Students learn about a number of veterinary assistant duties and jobs dedicated to treating domestic animals, from birds and reptiles to cats and dogs because they all deserve compassionate medical care.
Upon successful completion of this program, students would be eligible to sit for the National Association of Veterinary Technician
You can attend the FREE information session each third Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. via Zoom.
For more information on the program or scholarships, please go to:
Amy’s Purpose Presents
September 17, 2022 at 8 p.m.
101 N Museum Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262
Reception: 6:45 p.m. Includes wine and light hors d’oeuvres catered by Eight4Nine Restaurant and Lounge
Tickets: $50, $100, $250
Half-off discounts to four $100 or $250 tickets to DVMs