Chris Garza Discusses ‘Virtual World Tour,’ the Memory of Mitch Lucker + More

2020-06-30

Story by Anne Erickson, photo by Hristo Shindov

Chris Garza joins Anne Erickson to talk about the work going into his upcoming “Virtual World Tour,” which spans 39 days and 14 countries

It goes without saying that music fans around the world miss live concerts. This year has largely gone without shows and festivals due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With no word on when large concerts and festivals will be back, bands have been participating in live streaming events and coming up with creative ways to put on a “show” that fans can watch at home.

California metal band Suicide Silence is going beyond live streaming and embarking on a worldwide virtual tour. The trek, which is the first of its kind, will feature the band performing for 39 days in 14 countries. The group is even renting a soundstage to film multi-cam live performances, with full lights and production. The tour kicks off Thursday (July 2).

Longtime band member Chris Garza spoke with Anne Erickson about the tour, who he would love to collaborate with in the rock world, forging ahead in the memory of late singer Mitch Lucker and more. Read the interview below, and listen to the full chat via the Audio Ink podcast on Apple Podcasts here and Spotify here.

Anne Erickson: You’re really the first band to do this full-out, virtual tour. What made you want to create something like this and be the first to do it?

Chris Garza: The idea came from our longtime manager Jerry Clubb, and once he said it, we were all like, that’s a great idea. As we do with anything we do, we just dive into it. The “what” comes before the “how.” Now, we’re figuring it out, and I’m honored and blessed that this idea came out.

What was the idea behind the new model for this show, and how will it be different from a typically streamed performance?

That’s one of the first steps. I personally don’t like seeing live streams online, to be honest. You don’t want to just play live, and then that’s pretty much it. I took a fan perspective, like, what would I want to see? That’s when ideas started flying around. It’s going to be basically like a TV show, so there’s going to be stuff going on in-between the songs, like behind the scenes footage. There’s going to be a chatroom going on during the whole thing. We’re going to try to bring in the live show, virtually, as much as possible, and I think we’re doing it.

You’ll even have tour merchandise available, right?

Yeah! It’s kind of like when you walk into a venue, and they have merch that you only get there. So, you kind of recreate that.

The tour currently runs 39 days, through 14 countries. Do you foresee adding more dates after this leg?

We want this to be successful, so this is just the first run, and there’s going to be future legs, totally. What made this idea crazy and possible is that every city and country has as different time zone, so you could go live over here, and it’s going to be aired on the East Coast, and it’s live, but for East Coast, it’s at 7 p.m., and then, we could do a 7 p.m. show live in California, so you can do multiple shows in one day.

Do you think a virtual tour like this one will become the new normal, at least until in-person concerts return?

That’s kind of the question that we’ve been posing. We’re thankful to have a career worth of– dove into unknown territory, so doing stuff like this, for us, is kind of like, we’re just doing it. This is probably– who knows? I’m very curious to see what this is going to evolve to. I mean, just us, alone, we’re already talking about what this is going to evolve to next year and the year after that and possibly the rest of our career. We don’t really have that say, so the answer to becoming the new normal– it’s tough. I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but I definitely wouldn’t be surprised if you start seeing some virtual tour announcements. All I got to say to all those bands– you have no idea the work that’s involved with this. It’s way more than driving show to show to show. This is way harder. All the little things that you can’t call your buddy about. You can’t go on the Internet and figure out. Everything is new territory, and we’re the first band to be doing this, so we’re figuring everything out in real time on a daily basis the past few months. So, even if bands try to do it, I don’t think they have any idea how hard it is, if they want to do it great, and we’re obviously putting everything we have into this. It’s hard, but we’re going to pull it off.

Let’s talk about dream collaborations. If you would collaborate with anyone in the music world right now, who would it be?

I’ve been wanting to do something with — as far as not touring or playing with or hanging out with, but as far as doing a song and tracking it and hearing that back in the speakers, I would love to do something with Munky from Korn, just to have those two polar opposite generations on one track would be a trip to hear. To have his sound that he pioneered and then you have mine that I’ve done in my scene– to put those two things on one track would be pretty cool. So, Munky, come on, dude! Let’s do something!

You lost an important member of your band several years ago, Mitch Lucker. Do you think Mitch would be proud of everything you have done since then in his memory and honor?

I would like to think so. When I think about him and that kind of subject and that stuff, I always — I can’t because I’m alive — but if I flipped the scrip, and what if I died and he went on? What would I be proud of? What would I want him to do? And that’s kind of how– so, I would like to think that he’s proud, because ever since that day, and I was the only one in the band at the hospital. I was the only one there. I saw it happen in front of me, and from that moment on, I’ve been treating it literally that way. What would I want him to do? And that’s exactly what I do, regardless of the cost or the sacrifices, I make it still, and I think he would be proud of that.

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