Interview with JoJo Garza of Los Lonely Boys
Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with JoJo Garza, bassist and vocalist of the sibling trio, Los Lonely Boys. Jojo shared some insight with me about their new album, upcoming show in Washington DC, and some of their inspirations behind songs. JoJo also talked about some of the hardships the group has overcome in recent years. I enjoyed talking with JoJo, and found him to be very open and personable with a great sense of humor. He was inspirational, insightful and poetic, and he even sang a song for me.
Los Lonely Boys’ style is unique and has been described as a Texicano Rock n’ Roll style that combines elements of rock, blues, tex-mex, conjunto, and tejano music. Regarding the style of the band’s new album, Relevation, JoJo shared that it has no specific style in particular. “Its style is having no style. It’s in the style of music. It has no lines or boundaries. It has no limits on who can relate to it. Revelations are everyday. We are firm believers of god. We believe that each song is its own revelation.”
The Revelation album is diverse in sound and theme. No two songs are the same. “A lot of songs are about love, while some are just about having fun. ”, JoJo began. “They’re about where we come from as people and what we can do as people with the time we have on this earth, to do something with whatever amount of time you have…the songs are so different, but they are the same because we are still Los Lonely Boys, and we try to reach all types of people, all age groups, and ethnicities, with the same album and music. It’s always been about that with Los Lonely Boys.”
In regard to any favorite songs he, or the band most liked performing from the new album, JoJo admitted that there were no frontrunners. “I don’t know that we have a favorite song to perform because we love all the songs, and we try to perform all of them live. People want to hear new music so that’s what we give them, in addition to some of our older songs.”
The inspirations behind Los Lonely Boys’ newest songs are drawn from a variety of experiences and people, but more than anything, as JoJo points out, it’s more about taking inspiration from daily life. “It’s about everyday living. Whatever you encounter that day can sometimes turn into a song. Our songs are inspired by people, people you come across in the day, by not being perfect.”
The principal messages that Los Lonely Boys tries to communicate through their songs is love, and the overall appreciation of life. “Love is the most important. At least that’s what we feel. It’s about love, striving to be the best we can be every single day. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow isn’t here yet, and today is what we are given. Do what you can with the time you are given, and use it for a positive reason. Life doesn’t have to be focused on becoming famous, or being popular. It’s about showing appreciation for the gift of breathing. “
The band’s name, “Los Lonely Boys” was inspired by a song their father, who was also a musician, wrote for them while growing up. “Our father wrote songs for us when we were little, and also sang with us. “Lonely Boy” was one of them.” JoJo then sang a few lines from the song “ “I’m just lonely lonely boy…”
“I remember one of our first gigs, we were playing a show at a restaurant, and my dad told us, ‘we’re going to be a band, we should come up with a name.’ Then my brother Ringo said, ‘Let’s call the band Los Lonely Boys”, and my father said, ‘that’s it.’”
When I asked JoJo to tell me something that people may not know about him, he laughed and said, “Well, if they don’t know it, I don’t want to share it.” There was a pause, and I wasn’t sure if he had planned on expanding on his answer or not but JoJo broke the silence and added, “I’m kidding. We pretty much tell people who we are all the time.” “Maybe our shoe sizes?” he joked. “Something about myself that people may not know is that I like to pretend I am a woods craftsman, I do some woodworking in my free time.
“What are three things you could never live without?”, I asked. “Air, water, and food.” JoJo laughed and then added in, “I suppose I could’ve said love, but if I don’t have these I cant love anyone.” I began to realize that JoJo is quite the jokester, and a good one at that. “Aside from that, my family…” he continues, “I’m not sure if there’s anything else I couldn’t do without. I can do without money, materialistic things, but air, water, food, and family, that’s pretty much what’s important.” He paused and then added jokingly, “well maybe also a rib-eye steak, tacos, and a cheeseburger.”
Los Lonely boys are no strangers to challenges and hardships. When JoJo sustained a vocal cord injury, JoJo and his brothers thought he might never talk again, let alone sing, and he was warned that the more he used his voice the worse it would get. The brothers had to stop for almost a year. “For a long time I couldn’t talk, I had to write on a board with a marker and stuff. The vocal cord was overworked, and just needed major rest.”
After JoJo’s recovery, Los Lonely boys experienced another tragedy when guitarist and vocalist, Henry Garza fell offstage at a Los Angeles concert, in which he landed face first, fracturing his neck, and injuring his spine. After Henry’s accident, they feared he would never walk again. Despite the odds, however, the brothers did not lose hope. “It’s about how you can get through it, not focusing on the problem itself”, JoJo stated. “Los Lonely Boys don’t shy away when adversity stares us dead in the face. If there’s a challenge in front of you, you’ve got to figure out a way to overcome it. We believe that it’s not really us, but that there’s a higher power in feeling, believing, and living…The source of life in God…It revolves around knowing that we are not the only people in the world that have to overcome. That’s one of the beautiful things about the human spirit. You’re a fighter, fighting for the right to live. We’ve got something that we have to do while we’re here. We’re all very blessed and thankful.
It’s about knowing you can’t stay stuck there. My vocal problem kept me from being able to communicate with my voice. Henry was pretty much paralyzed. It’s about realizing what the situation is, what’s most important.”
On April 1st, Los Lonely Boys will be performing at the Hamilton in Washington, DC. As to what DC can expect from the show, JoJo assures it that it will be a good time.
“We’re not all about antics or fireworks. It’s about the music. It’s about sharing energy with the people who come to listen. You can expect a good show that’s based around music, connections between music and people, and a good time for sure.
We never know exactly what’s going to happen at a show, but we do know it’s going to be all about family, brotherhood and coming out to smile with friends, maybe even finding something in yourself. Overall, It’s about having a good time.”
Before saying goodbye to JoJo, I asked him what advice he would give to aspiring musicians and this is what he told me:
“Don’t be a musician. No I’m joking. The advice we give our kids, because a musician starting out is similar to a kid. Do it right. Do it for the right reasons. Don’t get lost in the web that everyone else is spinning. Spin your own web. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Don’t get lost. Grow some roots. Be a musical tree that’s rooted to where it’s grown. That’s a major part of spreading the gift of music…Taking it further. Realize that music is a universal language, its something very special, and influential. Don’t abuse your gift.”