Rod Garcia Entertainment

Rod Garcia Band History and Bios
The Best Variety of Live Music Featuring Guitar and Accordion
Blues, Cajun, Country, Rockabilly, Tex-Mex, Zydeco

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Rod Garcia is Benny Rod (left) and "Astro" Joe Garcia (right)

 

How It All Began

Benny Rod is considered the king of Open Mic performances in the Greater Houston area. There is not an Open Mic that has existed in the past 10 years that he has not heard of or performed at. As a result he comes across many musicians from bassists to drummers and everyone in between.

One night at a Northside Open Mic (the now defunct Westfield By The Railroad), Joe and Benny coincidentally performed. After the performances, they went through the usual chit chat about music and other venues. Somehow, it came up that Joe played the accordion. Until that point, Joe had been playing the guitar exclusively doing solo acoustic gigs. Benny did a double take and just about fell out of his chair. He said that he had always wanted to form a band that featured the accordion. He added that the accordion is "a happy box" because it makes everyone want to get up and dance. Benny said this was the opportunity that he had been waiting for. After some further banter about influences and ideas, they both agreed that this was a unique opportunity. Rod Garcia was susequently born in the Summer of 2005.

 
Benny Rod - Vocals, Guitar, Harp, Porch Board Bass
 

Benny Rod has been playing music for over three decades. He is an accomplished drummer, guitar player, harp player along with a handful of other instruments. Benny has seen all of the fads of music come through. He has been in blues bands, rock bands and country bands. He finally came across the rare sound that he was looking for..

The unique Tex-Mex, southwest flavor of Rod Garcia what Benny enjoys. His experience adds to the variety of songs that Rod Garcia has to offer. Benny's meter from being a drummer adds to his ability to keep the beat going with his guitar. Benny has written several songs that are being interpreted by Rod Garcia with more to come. Benny's talents add depth to the sound of Rod Garcia.

Benny is an avid collector of guitars, musical instruments and equipment. He can be found perusing the pawn shops of Houston looking for the next great bargain for his collection. If you are looking for a particular guitar, amp or other instrument Benny is the man to sell you part of his inventory or point you in the right direction.

 
"Astro" Joe Garcia - Vocals, Guitar, Bajo Sexto, 3 Row Diatonic Accordion
 

Joe had been a closet musician for many years dating back to his college days at Texas A & M University. In College Station, Joe used to frequent the Open Mic scene up until his graduation with his MBA in Marketing. After that it was off to work, make money and pay the bills with little time for music. Through the years, Joe longed to get back into the music scene. At the urging of a coworker, Joe started frequenting the Saturday Open Mic at Zebo's Coffee House in Tomball, TX in early 2005.

Zebo's always has gracious hosts and talented performers. Joe was able to hone up his musical skills and perform some of his favorite songs from today and yesterday. His performances featured his vocals and guitar playing skills. Over the next few months, Joe was able to take off the rust and get some tight performances together. Most importantly, he was able to express himself through his music. At home, he would occasionally pick up his accordion to play along with some traditional Mexican / Conjunto classics that influenced him to purchase an accordion in the first place back in the mid '90s.

Growing up in South Texas (Falfurrias to be exact) exposed him to country, rock, tejano, conjunto and traditional Mexican music. There was only one radio station in town (KPSO - 1260AM, 106.3FM) that had an unusual format. In the mornings from 6AM - 12PM Contemporary Hit Country music was played. From 12PM through midnight, conjunto and tejano music was played. The station still follows this format today. In addition, Joe's father and grandfather were always playing the guitar and singing Mexican folk songs as Joe was growing up. These set some early influences and an ear for music.

In middle school, Joe had his formal training on music while learning to play the alto saxophone. He learned about harmony, keys, notes, time signatures and so on. In high school, Joe decided to suspend his musical studies and pursue sports. The music was dormant for a few years until Joe started attending Texas A& I University in Kingsville, TX (now known as Texas A & M - Kingsville). The hair band movement (Poison, Cinderella, Guns N Roses, Tesla, etc.) was just peaking out while Joe was working toward his degree in Engineering-Business. One weekend, Joe took a guitar that his grandmother had purchased for him years back (see the website background picture) and began seriously practicing. With the help of MTV and Guitar Magazine, Joe was able to get very proficient at the guitar.

Joe graduated from Kingsville and immediately began pursuing his MBA at College Station. One night during a house party, Joe hooked up with Jody Tomlinson and performed as Joe and Jody in the Bryan/ College Station Open Mic scene. One summer in San Antonio, they were regular performers at Billy Blue's in San Antonio. After graduation, Joe moved to Houston and Jody moved to Dallas as the real world creeped in.

In the mid '90s after graduation from Texas A &M and subsequently moving to Houston, the tejano music boom was strong. Joe used to frequent the local tejano bars that had weekly concerts. The instrumental polkas such as those performed by the Hometown Boys, Joe Martinez had a tremendous impact. Other artists such as Ramon Ayala, Emilio Navaira and Mazz influenced Joe to purchase an accordion to begin learning a new instrument.

Joe never came across any books on how to play a diatonic accordion. To figure it out, Joe made a map of each button, played the note against a keyboard piano and was able to reverse engineer the chords and patterns. Diatonic accordions are interesting because they play a different note going in and out adding to the challenge. Learning songs on the guitar first and then transposing that to the accordion helped expedite the learning process. At the same time, conjunto bands always used a bajo sexto. Joe broke down and purchased a bajo sexto for self learning. The bajo sexto was a bit easier to learn as it is similar to a guitar but tuned in straight fifths.

Joe added the "Astro" to his name to distinguish himself from all of the other "Joe Garcia's" in Houston. His actual name is Joseph. Joe is also a huge baseball fan of the Houston Astros, thus the name "Astro Joe." He and his wife attend at least 30 - 40 MLB games per year and are season ticket holders. Every year Joe plans a vacation to visit MLB ballparks and other local attractions. He has been to Minute Maid Park, Petco Park, Dodger Stadium, Angels Stadium, Wrigley Field, Busch Stadium, Miller Park, US Cellular Field and Ameriquest Field in Arlington. This coming year he plans to visit the East coast stadiums in Philadelphia and Baltimore/ Washington DC.

Joe has performed with other local Houston bands - The Stringbenders (current member), The Kyle Redd Band and the Mark Miller Band.

 
Copyright 2006(R) Rod Garcia Entertainment, Houston, TX, 77014