From a young age, Josh Garza knew that he wanted to be a musician. Known for being an integral third of Secret Machines, he recently reunited with his flagship band to release a new album. Learn more about his journey in the industry, including his work on films like Across the Universe, his time at EFG, and his journey from Texas to New York City

The Art of Drumming 

Garza has long been fascinated with how sounds clash or mesh together. He’s known for his experimentation, drawing on the habits of other drummers and combining them with his own intuition. He’s become legendary at knowing when to tinker with the sound and when to leave well enough alone. He’s not afraid to test the limits, either. As he puts it, “One of my secret weapons is to dig deep, find the cannon sound, turn it up, and not be scared. I think that’s paid off for me.” 

When he’s asked about who influences his sound, his thoughts might immediately turn to Led Zeppelin. His Tama kit was chosen specifically as an homage to John Bonham, a drummer that Garza believes is as influential and innovative as Hendrix was on guitar. Two 16″ floor toms, a 28″ bass drum, and a 14″ floor rack were all carefully curated to give Garza his signature flair both on stage and off. A loose resonant head and tight batter head give his drumming some of the most recognizable kicks in music today. The final results may be reminiscent of Bonham, but the beats don’t sound like anyone else but Josh Garza. 

Starting Out in Dallas 

Like many successful musicians, he started his quest in his hometown during his teenage years. In 1993, he was part of a band called Comet, a mix of pop and rock genres that allowed band members the opportunity to freeform. It was his first taste of what it would be like to be a musician for a living, and he realized that his dreams stretched a lot further than his doorstep. Dallas might be a major metropolitan city, but it wasn’t necessarily where Josh Garza longed to stay. Much like he explored different musical styles all his life, he also wanted to explore the world. 

The early years for Garza gave him the chance to hone his skills and find his way. He loved being able to play around with songs and use his insight to give them more personality. Expressing his creativity was more than just messing around with his friends, though. He was committed to breaking up the sound to better understand how he could improve upon it. This habit was one that he would carry with him throughout the rest of his life. (Even those who have never heard of Comet before can appreciate the mastery he developed thanks to his time with the group.) 

Garza remained with Comet for four years, impressing fans with his explosive beats. During that time, he would tour all over the city of Dallas and pitch in on three albums. In 2000, he started another band with the help of Brandon and Benjamin Curtis. 

Known as Secret Machines, the band would play for the next ten years, even after Benjamin Curtis left the band in 2007 (and unfortunately passed away from lymphoma in 2013). Secret Machines amassed a large fan base for their distinctive songs, and the audience was impressed by the authenticity behind every tune. Their music wasn’t different for the sake of being different. It was a nod to the trio’s artistry and their innate love of making music. Garza’s drumming was the missing element of the sound, the one that pushed the group over to give it a hard rock edge. 

Secret Machines would tour far beyond Dallas, giving Garza more exposure to the world beyond his doorstep and an appreciation for how different cities and sounds responded to his songs. After the group officially broke up in 2010 to strike out on their own, Josh and Brandon would keep in touch. It was this connection that would lead to their eventual reunion a decade down the line. 

A New Album from Secret Machines 

The latest album from Garza, titled The Moth, The Lizard, and the Secret Machines, may be technically new, but much of it was recorded in 2010. Their official return with Awake in the Brain Chamber in 2020 reinvigorated the fans’ love of the band. Garza, true to form, wanted listeners to notice the depth of their latest pursuit. He hoped that people would come away from it with the realization that neither party was afraid to go to some dark places during the creative process. The tracks are unconventional, their effects are unforgettable, and the mix is undeniably magic for the pair. The older recordings, made by Benjamin and Josh, add some nostalgia to the recipe, while the modern additions provide a new twist on the classic tracks. 

Garza was happy to use his outside experience give new dimension to his old band. In 2010, he played with Diego Garcia from Elefant at the Mercury Lounge and the Living Room in New York City. He laid tracks for John McBain from Monster Magnet, Hater and Wellwater Conspiracy. In 2011, he partnered with Imaad Wasif and Tom Biller to form EFG in Los Angeles. They would release their first EP in the fall and their second in the beginning of 2012. By 2016, the three announced a 6-song digital EP. Altogether, they would release several albums as a group. 

Throughout every stage of the journey, Garza was comfortable working with different people on different projects. Every new endeavor was a chance to stretch his talents and become a more well-rounded drummer. In Secret Machines, he’s not imposing rules on himself or Curtis. He wants to use their collective creativity to catch ideas in their purest state. This stream-of-consciousness style has been 

Films, Awards, and Accomplishments 

Josh Garza is known for stepping up to a challenge, even if it’s not directly in his wheelhouse. For instance, he might not have wanted to be an actor, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him from getting into movies. On the film Across the Universe, he performed “I Am the Walrus” with Bono as well as the drums on “Blue Jay Way” and “Flying”. This film, which included guest stars like Salma Hayak, featured 34 tracks from the Beatles, and Garza was honored to update them for modern audiences. This process was more than just another notch in his musician’s bedpost as he had the opportunity to see how his work would contribute to the emotional heights fo the movie. 

In addition to being featured on soundtracks, he was named Drummer of the Year by Esquire. His story has been featured in magazines like Modern Drummer, and he’s well-known for influencing the younger generations in the same way that bands like Zeppelin and artists like Buddy Rich influenced him. Most notably, he’s been named by bands like Silver Sun Pickups and Kings of Leon for helping their drummers build their sound into their alternative and modern hard rock tracks.