Black Tide under the wire (left to right)—Garcia, drummer Steven Spence, Diaz, and bassist Zakk Sandler.
“BLACK TIDE SOUNDS LIKE FOUR PISSED OFF TEENAGERS
who listen to too much good music,” says the band’s bassist,
Zakk Sandler. “We love Iron Maiden, Pantera, Metallica, and
Guns N’ Roses, but we don’t try to be anything we’re not. We
get together to make something special.”
The Miami, Florida teens already have two major-label
releases to their credit, and numerous video games have used
their songs to pump up action sequences. Their second album,
Post Mortem, is due this month on DGC/Interscope.
While the subject of youth typically rears its facile little journalistic
head when discussing Black Tide—the members were
famously kicked off the Ozzfest 2007 Jägermeister stage because
they were under the legal drinking age—it’s not a factor the
band seeks to exploit.
“The age thing—it drove us crazy,” says guitarist Gabriel
Garcia, who founded the group in 2004, when he was just 11
years old. “People would say, ‘You guys are pretty good for your
age.’ This went on for years, and it is always such a pointless
subject. Listen to the music!”
Happily, it’s exactly that—the music—which has garnered
the major-label deal, the video-game cuts, the growing audience,
and the spot on this year’s Uproar Festival. A couple of years
ago, GP’s Matt Blackett spun Black Tide’s debut album, Light
From Above, and was impressed enough to write about the band
in the September 2008 issue. We didn’t avoid the “child prodigies”
theme—and, in all fairness, how could we not talk about
15-year-olds playing far beyond their years—but Garcia and
co-guitarist Alex Nuñez (who left in 2008, and was replaced
by current co-guitarist Austin Diaz) sounded ageless as they
name-checked their influences (Joe Satriani, Hendrix, Angus
Young, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker, Zakk Wylde, Dimebag,
and Paul Gilbert), favored melody over shred, and advised that
“not every tone has to have a ton of gain.”
On this year’s Uproar stages, you’ll see (and hear) Garcia
playing an ESP Viper or an ESP Eclipse through either a Peavey
Butcher or a Peavey JSX. He uses D’Addario strings and Dunlop
picks. Diaz will be wielding an ESP Alexi-Scythe or an ESP M-II
NTB plugged into a Peavey 3120 head and Peavey 430B cabinet.
One of the audience-pleasing aspects of many of the Uproar
bands is their very un-rock-star-like affinity for the fans, and
Black Tide is no exception.
“We’ll be going out into the crowds and hanging at the merch
booths,” promises Garcia. “I think every band should do that.
We appreciate our fans and never take them for granted.”