The multi-talented Chuck Garric is a bass player, producer and family man. Chuck is a rocker who has played with Turd, The Druts, L.A. Guns, Dio, Eric Singer Project (ESP), and with Billy Bob Thornton, Cheap Trick, Ted Nugent, Don Felder and Journey for the Alice Cooper Christmas Pudding for several years. Chuck has been Alice Cooper’s bass player since 2002 and is currently on tour.
And if that’s not enough to keep him busy, Chuck worked with a band out of Milwaukee called Jimmy at the Prom in producing some of their songs AND….has recently formed his own band called Beasto Blanco, which he talks about with us. With all of this on his plate, he still finds quality time to spend with family and friends.
Chuck took the time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about his successful career.
GGM: When did you first start playing the bass and when did you realize you wanted to do it professionally?
Chuck: I started playing music at an early age. But the bass guitar was something I picked up around 13. My friends on the next block had a band and needed a bass player. So I bought a cheap bass and learned how to play it. When I was done with high school. I was thinking about what’s next for me – I knew I wanted to play professionally. I loved playing the bass, so i went for it.
GGM: Who were your early musical influences?
Chuck: I loved Queen, AC/DC, KISS, Ted Nugent, Ozzy, Black Sabbath. The early punk movement was popular with some of my friends. They introduced me to Black Flag, 7 Seconds, and the Ramones. As far as bass players go, my influences are Cliff Williams, John Deacon, Bob Daisley, Gene Simmons and Dee Dee Ramone.
GGM: What was your first big break?
Chuck: I started off playing like everyone does. Garage bands, then moved up to playing clubs, recording demos etc. All of those experiences leads up to the time you get your first break. My break came when I was asked to play bass for Ronnie James DIO. Ronnie took me on tour with him on the Monsters of the Millennium European tour. It was one of the best times of my life!
GGM: You’ve been playing and touring with Alice Cooper since 2002. How were chosen to be in the band and what’s it like to be performing with such an amazing legend like Alice Cooper, and how has that influenced your musical career in terms of playing and writing?
Chuck: I auditioned for the gig. Alice wasn’t there for the audition, but the rest of the band was. A few months went by, then Alice and the band called me to play for them! They had a Fox TV show to do. So the first time I meet Alice was on stage in front of millions! Performing with Alice is incredible, he is a true professional –always giving the audience 100%. Playing with Alice Cooper has really shaped my career and my bass playing. A lot has been learned from song writing to putting a show together.
GGM: You’ve been credited with contributing to Alice Cooper’s albums “Eyes of Alice Cooper,” “Dirty Diamonds” and “Along Came a Spider.” How is it working with the band on writing the lyrics and music…does everyone have input or is up to Alice Cooper?
Chuck: We all worked together as a band for those records. Most of the lyrics come from Coop. He’s open to ideas musically and lyrically. He has a great way of turning ideas into his own — but it’s always a band effort.
GGM: You’ve had the fortune of jamming with some of the greatest rock icons in history. Can you tell us about one of your most memorable experiences?
Chuck: I’ve been very fortunate and have jammed with many of my icons and musical influences. One of most memorable times was jamming with Ted Nugent and after the gig he grabbed me and I thought WTF, Ted’s going to kill me. He smiled and looked me in the eyes, and said, “Chuck, you have the sprit of the Buffalo in you.” I took that as a good thing. I’ve used that saying a few times myself!
GGM: You’ve also recently been working with Jimmy at the Prom producing some of their songs. What do you see in their future?
Chuck: Jimmy at the Prom is a band in Milwaukee that I got to know over the years. I met up with the guys and listened to three songs they tracked. After that meeting, Matt called and asked if I would help produce their next two songs. I jumped on the opportunity as producing is something I love to do! The guys are all amazing musicians and have really good songs. I worked on a few ideas at my home studio, then flew out to Milwaukee to finish the mixes. The band is very focused on writing and performing, and I look forward to working with them again. Keep your eyes out for Jimmy at the Prom!
GGM: You’ve recently started a new band called Beasto Blanco. How did that come about and what inspired the name Beasto Blanco?
Chuck: I’ve always been a song writer and I found myself with a hand full of songs that I thought, if I started a band, these songs would be on the record! I contacted my good friend Chris Latham to play guitar. Chris knows how I write and we’ve worked together before so I knew the process would be positive. We started working with producer Tommy Henriksen and it didn’t take long before we all knew we were on to something killer! Tommy was able to get the sound that I was looking for and had me focused on the what songs fit this band. As for the name, we had a few names for the band, but it wasn’t until we could sit back and let the music speak to us. Then we were able to come up with a name. BEASTO BLANCO gave the music a heart beat, energy and style of its own.
GGM: Not only do you tour with Alice Cooper and your own band Beasto Blanco, you also play with The Eric Singer Project and Billy Bob Thornton’s The Boxmaker. With so many things on your plate, how do you prioritize your time with other commitments in your life, like family and friends?
Chuck: Well, they all don’t tour at the same time, so that makes it a little easier. I like to stay busy and I love to work. Most of my friends are in the bands I play in so I spend time with them on stage or in the studio. I have an amazing family that always come first! My daughter is on her way to college next year and my wife and I have always set a good example for her. There is a lot of love, support and hard work in my family. I am surrounded by amazing, intelligent and talented women in my house and in my life. They keep me grounded — I keep them safe!
GGM: Can you tell us a little about your gear?
Chuck: For the Alice Cooper tours, I use Fender Basses: A 1972 P-bass, American Jazz bass and a 57 re-issue P-Bass. I use Hartke amps and cabinets, and a few Digitech pedals.
GGM: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Chuck: I will continue to be creative in the studio with Beasto Blanco and on tour with both bands!
GGM: Obviously, we’re a magazine focusing on promoting female guitarists, so we have to mention your association with Orianthi. You’ve had the fortune of playing with her on tour with Alice Cooper. What has it been like working with Orianthi and do you feel she is treated differently than her male counterparts?
Chuck: Orianthi has been a great addition to Alice Cooper. It’s not an easy job playing those guitar parts. Ryan Roxie, Tommy Henriksen and Ori have done a great job at making three guitars work live. Ori came into this camp with a solid work ethic and was determined to make the songs and her parts a priority. When you have that mind set, you are treated like a pro. Ori isn’t treated any differently than anyone else in the band. I feel sorry for Ori at times, she has become our little sister to five older brothers. We’ve all become very close so she’s very well protected, I think a little too much at times, but that’s how we roll. We’re a family out there!
GGM: We believe there are some really great female guitarists out there today. Do you have any favorites and do you feel there is any one female guitarist today that will rival any of the great male legends of rock?
Chuck: I grew up with the Runaways, Girls School, Poison Ivy from the Cramps. In my mind, there’s always room for talented musicians. It’s about how you approach what you do, what you have to offer. If Ori sticks to her guns as a blues rock guitar player, there is no doubt that she’ll be recognized as one of the best!
GGM: Lastly, do you have any suggestions for aspiring female guitarists trying to make in today’s world of rock and roll?
Chuck: Dionne Warwick once said, “I don’t give advice….. That’s because no one listens.” But if asked, I give the same advice to anyone including my own daughter. Do what you love! Be honest and hard working! Don’t worry about what people think or say about you. Believe in what you are about! Practice, Practice, Practice.
GGM: Where can our readers get a chance to catch a live show?
Chuck: Right now I am on tour with Alice Cooper. Beasto Blanco dates to be posted soon.
GGM: Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! We certainly enjoyed it! And, we hope to catch up with you while you are on tour.
For more information on Chuck Garric, please visit his sites below.
Photo credits: Beasto Blanco