Message To Garcia is a collection of Visqueen songs that represents a rock and roll epitaph to front woman Rachel Flotard's father. After garnering countless fans, reviews, and playing shows with everyone from Guided By Voices, to Cheap Trick, Visqueen appeared to be on the verge of conquering the world. All of that changed when her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Their choice to be together for the duration of his illness would change her direction forever.
Mr. George E. Flotard was a New York City steamfitter since the mid 1960's. He fought and loved in Hell's Kitchen bars on the West Side, and broke all ten fingers twice. He was a strong, red-headed foreman who ordered holes in the ground and fit miles of pipe in a 1970's Harlem skyline.
"A Message To Garcia" is an essay written in 1899 by Elbert Hubbard inspired by the Spanish American War. The story celebrates the initiative of a soldier who is assigned and accomplishes a daunting mission. He asks no questions, makes no objections, requests no help, but gets the job done. Voracious reader as Rachel's dad was, this is the only time he physically handed her something to read rather than just suggest it. Visqueen toured America in a van for months after their first record, King Me came out, and again with their follow up rocker, Sunset On Dateland. Focused and determined to make a go of the impossible, Rachel would call her Dad from the road each day. He'd ask if she was "delivering it". She knew exactly what he meant. And the only answer was "yes".
On April 7th, Rachel caught her dad's last breath in her hands in the Seattle home they shared since 2002.
"He was our unrelenting hero for 35 years and never let us drop. These songs are my friends. I wrote them through a long ride of self-conscious anguish and joy. They are braided with sunny, ubiquitous problems and snare drums. They reflect the part of me that wants to be happy and make out with Bad Company."
Rachel Flotard has been busy the last few years splitting her time caring for her father and working with Neko Case, lending her bold, original voice to Neko's recent albums Middle Cyclone and Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. Here, Ms. Case returns backing vocal favors on Message To Garcia, joining a spectacular cast of unusual collaborators from pedal steel wizard Jon Rauhouse, to The Fastbacks and The Long Winters.
The result? A gigantic sing-a-long record with gangs of handclaps, hooks that kill, and the exalted blessing of electric guitars and cello.
Produced by Rachel Flotard with her King Me cohort, Barrett Jones (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Message To Garcia is the debut album on Flotard's new independent record label, Local 638 Records, inspired by her dad's New York City Steamfitters union.
As her dad always asked, Visqueen is proud to deliver it, with Message To Garcia!
"If its possible to top their excellent debut, Visqueen has done just that. The long awaited third album from one of Seattle's best bands shows a ton of growth with even catchier songs and really tight songwriting. Every song is a single. One of the best records of the year."
JOHN RICHARDS, THE MORNING SHOW, KEXP
"If Visqueen were a major label baby band, modern-rock radio stations would be all over this record like static cling. King Me is royal fun, a high-speed, sugar 'n'steel picnic from start to finish."
DAVID FRICKE, ROLLINGSTONE
"Truth be told, though, my favorite local bands right now is Visqueen — a female-powered anthem machine that transcends all the categories: gender, genre and region. Do not miss the group's excellent Sunset on Dateland.'"
"Visqueen front woman Flotard is the human incarnation of the Energizer Bunny. Nonstop stories pour out of the New Jersey native."
NPR, All Things Considered
"Visqueen A power-pop trio buoyed by the gleeful union...With sparkling harmonies and towering Les Paul riffs, it's no wonder they've shared bills with everyone from Cheap Trick to the Donnas."
"In 2009 Seattle's Visqueen remain a bright planet in the power-pop universe where Cheap Trick are God and Kurt Cobain is Jesus. At the helm: Rachel Flotard - she of the angelic voice, red locks, and rediculously entertaining stage banter - who'll lead her band through a set of their signature sunny racket and face punching melodocism."
DAVID SCHMAEDER, THE STRANGER
"When Visqueen took the stage before the New Pornpgraphers, they single-handedly pumped up the room full quiet, quasi-hipster Seattle-lites,who couldn't resist bouncing around to the catchy, energetic music. Yes kids, it's that easy, if your band is AWESOME."
"If Courtney Love had focused more on the music and less on the show, she might have been half as good as Visqueen. Led by singer Rachel Flotard, this girl-flavored Seattle band makes absolutely perfect rock-pop-punk: brisk and sparkling-fresh, but with doses of metal-rock that give it substance and reality."
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
"This is unadulterated power pop. Rachels voice is fucking magic. And to top it off, their drummer Ben skates!"
"4 STARS. ...Rachel Flotard's strong, clear vocals are the band's secret weapon, a seductive cross between Robin Zander, Robert Pollard, and Kim Deal."
ALL MUSIC GUIDE
"(Sunset On Dateland is) a supercool approach to such rock on their debut album, King Me. The stuff just oozes out of them. Plus, no one else can claim a vocalist like Flotard, whose tough-but-vulnerable turns of phrase raise the adrenaline like your first cup of coffee oryour last cocktail, depending on what hour you choose to indulge in this 27 minutes of pure bliss."
"Making ultracatchy rock records seems to come easy for Visqueen, as their first two releases ("King Me" and "Sunset On Dateland") are filled with them"
"Fierce sincerity, consistantly tight and melodocally crunchy...there's alot about Visqueen to adore."
"Sunset on Dateland is another letter-perfect pulse raiser...There's no stopping singer/guitarist Rachel Flotard, who is as much a dynamo on record as she is on stage... this is a band everyone should fall hard for, from the pickiest indie snob to any alterna-rock fan with ears..."
JACK RABID -BIG TAKEOVER
"Rachel Flotard is a ripping guitarist, fierce rocker, ace songwriter and singer. Bold and unpretentious. And did we mention she sings backup with Neko Case? So Rachel Flotard: You rock. When Harp grows up, we're gonna marry you. (We have the ring in our ears)."
"Liz Phair doing Avril Lavigne gotcha down? From the land of never-ending rock upstarts and restarts (Seattle) comes the antidote: Visqueen, a trio that breathes fresh mint julep-breath into the melody-with-a-snarl thing by splitting the difference between the Slits and the Donnas."
ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS
"How do you know you're at the right SXSW show? When St. Louis DJ Beatle Bob is front and center cutting some rug. And it pays to dance at a Visqueen show, as Rachel Flotard sang "Beatle Bob" Over the final power chord she struck at the Red Eyed Fly."
"Flotard's singing voice is phenomenal, and her strong, almost twangy harmonic sensibility bursts all over Visqueen's solid, punky powerpop...Visqueen won me over with their spunky, fiery delivery, fantastic harmonies, grit and hooks."
"...A stomping, perspiring, jubilant bounce is all over (Sunset On Dateland). Flotard adds a sweet, vulnerable voice - if you've ever wondered what Cheap Trick would sound like if they were fronted by Juliana Hatfield, this is your lucky day."
"(Sunset On Dateland's) lightness is shocking -- until the depth of the lyrics and the intricacy of the arrangement manage to fight their way through the insanely catchy chorus. The result evokes The Pretenders, The Breeders, hell even Heart."
EYE WEEKLY (TORONTO)
"Visqueen's not-so-secret weapon is frontwoman Rachel Flotard, who giggles and growls and swears like a sailor, and whose voice sounds like Britney's probably did the morning she woke up married in Las Vegas, surrounded by overflowing ashtrays and wondering why all those reporters were outside her door."
"(Visqueen albums) are visceral, masterfully-squenced listening experiences."
"More than worthy of the most earnest Donnas' fan's head-wagging, Seattle's Visqueen sees no need foe soon-to-be outgrown snot-nosed posturing. ..a hook-laden fun fest that lifts as much as it separates."
MESSAGE TO GARCIA
01. HAND ME DOWN*
02. THE CAPITOL
03. SUMMER SNOW
04. FIGHT FOR LOVE
05. SO LONG
07. TALL GRASS *
08. BEAUTIFUL AMNESIA
09. FORGIVE ME*
10. TALL GRASS*
11. JIMMY VS. JAMES
*=Features Neko Case