“I had sent him a text around 1:30 in the afternoon.” Lemon Grove prog-rocker Andy Gorman needed a bass player, and Gorman wanted Tim Garcia for the date. That was Thursday, December 22. “I told him that I’d pick him up.” Garcia, he says, was without transportation. “At about 6:30 p.m., I finally got a text back from him: ‘Yeehaw! When and where?’”
The gig was finalized but would never be performed. In fact, that would be the last time Gorman would hear from his old friend. Garcia, 53, was pronounced dead at an area hospital later that night after suffering a massive heart attack.
Gorman got the news by telephone from a mutual friend the next day while on his way to a Christmas party. “‘Dude,’ I said, ‘you got it wrong. No. Bullshit.’”
There’s a garage behind Gorman’s house that was converted into a music room. For much of this past year, the studio served as Tim Garcia’s home. “I had him here for eight months.” A drum kit takes up much of the space; guitars hang on the walls. Gorman stops at a cheap electric bass. “He called this one Fifty Buck Chuck.” Gorman won’t elaborate, but he says that Garcia had fallen on hard times. He slept on patio cushions but for the most part was in good humor. “He was on his way back up.”
In recent years, Paul Timothy Garcia played numerous pick-up gigs around town with bands such as the Crabs, City Limits, and a Kiss tribute. But he made his name back in 1977 when Stephen Pearcy formed Mickey Ratt in San Diego, a band with a revolving door in which Garcia was the founding bassist. In the days following Garcia’s death, Pearcy posted the following on his Facebook page:
“Tim was an amazing bass player. Even the first day auditioning him for the band in 1977 playing [Led] Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song,’ [lead guitarist] Chris Hager and I were blown away. We found our man. He was so dedicated, [he] read music, played anything we showed him. He remembered every song and parts that Chris and I would forget even to this day. We always kicked ass with Tim, and he was always willing to be a partner in crime.”
Pearcy also wrote this: “Life is short. Let’s appreciate even those we have trouble understanding due to substance abuse who are our loved ones or friends.”
In 1980 Mickey Ratt moved to L.A. and became Ratt but Garcia stayed behind. “He had a baby...and a day job,” says Gorman. “He missed the fucking boat. It was a shame.” But Garcia was not without friends. In 2009, when Hager started Uncle Junkie, he would enlist, if temporarily, the help of his old band mate.
Garcia moved out of Gorman’s studio and headed north at the end of October. By November he had taken up residence somewhere in Rancho Bernardo and found work as a live-in caregiver. Less than two months later, Garcia was discovered in his room, unresponsive. He is survived by his children Adriana Garcia Magadan, Chris Garcia, and Janelle Garcia, and grandchildren Alex Garcia and Avelina Magadan.