West Texas and Lubbock, specifically, is known for its thriving local music scene. Many stars have come out of the Hub City, while other performers have made a business out of it. One of Lubbock’s best musical acts and businessmen, Bo Garza, sat down with us to talk about his journey into music and how he has been successful in the Lubbock music market.
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My passion for music began at age 12 when I heard Johnny Cash sing “I Walk the Line”. It inspired me to compete in my elementary school talent show. To perform that song I had to listen to it on my 45 record player, over and over and over again until I memorized it. I entered the school talent show and won.
Who are some of your musical inspirations?
My top musical inspirations are James Taylor, Ricky Scaggs, and Merle Haggard. The fingerpicking style of James Taylor is what kind of attracted me to his music because I tried to emulate my guitar picking like that. And then, Ricky Skaggs in the 90s when I had a band or going back before that, Merle Haggard. When I was exploring, playing music as an entertainer, his raw songwriting just really touched my heart. It felt real. And then in the ’90s, it was Ricky Skaggs. I had a band, Bo Garza and the Youngbloods, and we did more of his songs and then any others just because he was so unique, and the songs were so popular at the time.
What inspired you to create a business in music?
I had been booking just for friends when someone needed a band for a party or whatever and I couldn’t fill it, they would trust me to find someone for them. So I would call and be like “Hey man if you’ll do this gig, you know I think we can get this much, and if I put it together would you mind paying me 10%” and they’d say “No go ahead”. So that’s kind of how that started. Then a local businessman was listening to me play at Back 40 Grill one night. We were visiting and he said hey I want to take you to a new place that I’m opening up. So me and him and some other friend of his, we drove over to the Teddy Jacks, where they were building that.
And he said “Yeah we want to do an outdoor patio and do live music, and I want you to handle it.”
I said, “Well I’m thinking, man I don’t have time for that” and he goes “We’re going to pay you.”
I didn’t want to be greedy so I said you know if you pay me 10% of the total entertainment that’s good enough for me to be called in the middle of the night telling me someone didn’t show up, or someones falling off the stage drunk, you know I can handle it.
Businesses Bo plays at
So, it started there and then it moved into another place that opened up just down the street, Picosso’s. They heard I was booking Teddy Jacks and they wanted me to book their place as well. And of course, even before that I had always been booking the Lubbock Country Club at their bar, and that led onto Cujos, which led into Teddy Jacks Amarillo, then led to Ike’s Woodfire Grill. Now the places I’ve recently taken on are Las Brisa’s Steak House and Table 82. It just keeps morphing into more. And of course, I don’t want to leave out llano Winery because I’ve been booking them for almost ten years. I book their Wine and Clay and Grape Days event.
Tell us about your background?
I was raised in McAllen Texas. Spent my first 35 years there. That’s where I started the South Texas Wailers the Bo Garza and Youngbloods in 1981. In 95’ I sold everything I had to start a new life in Nashville. I did some songwriting there. In Nashville, I began selling health insurance which transferred me to Lubbock in 97’. My wife got cancer about 12 years ago and I began playing full time to stay close to home. The rest is history. I do have a song on Itunes that tells the chronology of my life, like how I got here and all that with my family. It’s called Love On Your Side.
Tell our audience about your current music calendar (performances, booking info, etc.)
My calendar is full almost every day playing places like Ikes, Las Brisas, Teddy Jacks, Cujos, Picosos. To get more specific you can go to bogarzaentertainment.com for booking and pricing info.
What would be your message to up-and-coming musical acts who want to follow in your footsteps?
You should play any chance you can play, and play from the heart, the money will come later. I never worried about money until I had a mortgage, and you know bills. Before that, hell we were on the road just drinking beer, and playing music. We didn’t care about money or anything like that. So yeah Play anywhere you can. Don’t worry about money in the beginning. Show your passion and the money will come.
Also, a lot of musicians think playing the same old corny cover songs get old. When you can play Margaritaville like it was the first time you’d ever heard it or played it, every time you play it. Yeah, it may be old and tacky to you, but the person listening to it, it’s special. And it kind of touches people’s heart when you put your whole feeling into a song, that even though it’s kind of corny, you still put your all into it.
Tell us about your family and why Lubbock is your home?
I married Isabel in 1994. We met and she would listen to me play, and you know, funny story, she would always come out with a really good-looking guy. And I thought they were boyfriend and girlfriend so I always kind of kept a distance, but you know of course I thought she was beautiful. It ended up being her brother, so that opened the door to that deal. We had a baby girl Gabi, in 1995, who is now a cheerleader at Texas Tech. Had my first son Nicholas, born in Nashville and is a pitcher for the University of New Mexico. I had my youngest in 2001, Bo Jacob, who just graduated high school and is going to pitch at Cisco Junior College.
We moved to Lubbock it was, of course, to sell health insurance for a company. It just so happened that you know the person that moved me over there was my brother in law! You know when I first got here, I asked my wife, “why are we here, what is this?”. You know Nashville is so lush and green and this place is so flat and barren. But it was like a honey pot of music. It seemed like there was music everywhere. It was really refreshing to be able to play as much as I was playing.
In Nashville, you played for free, but here they actually paid you! As it turned out I landed in a place that loved music as much as I do. It was really nice to be able to kind of fit in, musically, and be appreciated by people who love music.
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