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Gary Garcia, of Buckner & Garcia, Passes Away

My thoughts on a great friendship and partnership

By Owen Douglass | November 18, 2011

It was a year ago that I sent out my initial email to Buckner & Garcia. Still getting my bearings working on the Rock Band Network, I thought this would be a long shot - I mean, were they even still working together? Would they even be able to license the songs due to the sound effects? Why would they talk to me when they're legends to any nerd growing up in the 80's? I went through with it anyway and asked for a couple songs from "Pac-Man Fever".

The next thing I know, I'm on the phone with Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia discussing releasing the entire album on Rock Band. They were great guys, always excited to do whatever it took to get the project off the ground. Not once did they question my crazy ideas, whether it was giving out copies of the CD with signed cheat sheets on various Web sites, or appearing on Giant Bomb's Thursday Night Throwdown during a Pac-Man tournament to discuss their experiences. It was surreal watching these guys work their magic and re-igniting Pac-Man Fever right before my eyes.

I would receive regular calls from Jerry and Gary, always anxiously asking about how the songs are doing and exchanging ideas. No matter if I was at home, or in the shopping market, I would always stop what I was doing to chat with them. While I was on vacation in August, we discussed possibly getting together in Philadelphia for drinks to celebrate to successful re-release of "Pac-Man Fever". It would be my first time getting to meet the duo face-to-face, though it's felt like I already have. I was anticipating buying the first round using a pocket full of quarters.

Aside from "Pac-Man Fever" we also worked on brand new projects. In July, I pitched them the idea of doing a song about Giant Bomb after I heard Ryan Davis joke about it on the Giant Bombcast. Again, I thought that this was a long shot and they would laugh off the idea. A week later, I'm searching through the site finding all the references an jokes I thought would fit and everyone would instantly recognize. Then suddenly I had an mp3 of a brand new blues jam ready to send off to Ryan. We also began work on a mobile game, in which I am responsible for all the art design. It was an honor that they trusted me to set the tone for the game.

With Gary now gone, I don't know where this leaves us. A dark cloud has been over my head since receiving the news from Jerry. But I refuse to let this be the end of the Buckner & Garcia legacy. There's still a few tricks up our sleeves, and we will do Gary proud.