Sandbox Kings

Pat’s Blog


Guitars.  Today I’m going to talk about my journey to finally getting the guitar of my dreams.

As far as guitars go, I’m all about the Gibson Les Paul.  When I first started playing guitar, it was with a Fender Squire Strat and the amp that comes with the kit.  I think it was a mini Reverb.  But even before that, I had the Les Paul bug.  Way before I ever got one, I always wanted to play the guitar, and my cousin had a friend that built them.  I remember how happy I was when I overheard my cousin telling my dad about a Les Paul copy that this guy was building and that my dad could buy it for cheap.  I was SURE I was going to finally get a guitar, and I associated a Les Paul with being MY guitar from that point on.  Unfortunately as fate would have it, that Les Paul copy would not become mine, and I was stuck continuing to use an old acoustic with 3 rusty old un-tuneable strings from 1965 and a tennis racket as my rig as I jammed along with Appetite for Destruction, Use Your Illusions 1 and 2, Ten, Dirt, Purple, Master of Puppets, and all my other favorite albums.

Anyway, the Squire was cool, but I wasn’t in love with the single coil pick-ups.  It didn’t chug right when I would palm mute, and the guitar sounded twangier than I wanted.  I like a mid heavy bite while not going light on the highs and lows.  I didn’t know WHY I didn’t like the Squire’s sound at the time, I just knew I didn’t.  Enter Washburn.  I still remember buying this guitar.  My parents realized that my love of playing guitar was not just a faze, and I had learned, practiced and studied enough for them to understand that upgrading to a better guitar was now necessary.  My dad and I headed over to the music store in a torrential storm on a mission.  The acquisition of a guitar that would carry me to destiny.  The finding of the holy grail of rock n’ roll.  The proverbial removal of guitar from stone.  It MUST be Les Paul time right?!  FUCK NO!  But I found something cool just the same.  I saw it hanging on the racks.  I always loved cherry sunburst, and this guitar had that.  I knew I wanted humbuckers.  Check.  It also had a whammy bar which was pretty cool.  However the main selling point of this guitar?  Being about 7 times cheaper than the Les Paul.  It was a Washburn A20v, I still have it, but never use it anymore (lots of work needs to be done to get it back in playing shape, but I should do it.)  I played the Washburn for about a year until I heard a friend talking about selling a Les Paul.  I immediately jumped on it and checked it out.  It was a Les, sort of.  It was actually a Gibson THE Paul.  Same shape and neck through design as a Les Paul, but about half the thickness, made of Walnut, and no where near as high quality.  The sound was getting there though, and I only paid a hundred bucks for it, so it worked out well for me.  I still wanted a real Gibson Les Paul Standard.  I had played my friend’s, I played them at music stores, and I read and dreamed about them all the time.

I had finally saved up enough money to buy a car.  Life had gotten quite complicated after my 1996 electric red T-Bird took a shit, and that was about to change.  But on my way to buy the car, I decided to stop by Mars Music to see what they had on sale.  Nothing new, no specials on anything worth while to me.  Out in the parking lot, I noticed across the street was a Veneman Music.  I had seen it before, but had never been interested in checking it out.  On this particular day however, I went in.  Not long after entering the building, I saw it.  MY Les Paul Standard.  There was a big problem with it however, and that was the price tag.  It was $1,000.  That was the cost of my car and my ticket to freedom.  There was no question which was more important.

I felt pretty good with my decision as I walked back to my friend’s car with my new (used) Gibson Les Paul Standard.  And to this day, that was unquestionably the right move to make.  That guitar would inspire me to aim higher and become the best that I could become, and it still does.  It plays, works, and sounds better than ever, it’s as reliable as they come, and it never lets me down.  So before you criticize me for making what you think was an “irresponsible decision”, a guitar to a guitarist is an extension of ourselves.  Once you find YOUR guitar, you are obligated to make it yours.  I found mine and I will be buried with it.  The car (thanks to my awesome parents) still became mine (they’ve always been super supportive of my music), but it only lasted about about a week before it started having major problems, and about a year before it died.  And all that freedom that I had with my car?  It was cool and all but I preferred to stay in the basement practicing like crazy on MY Les Paul.  RNRMFRS!!

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Recording:  This past week, we’ve been working on and recording new material for single releases and an upcoming album.  Man, this is the reason that I do what I do.  A lot of musicians will tell you that playing live is the reason that they love to play, and that’s fine!  I love to play live as much as the next guy, but for me, writing and recording is my favorite part.  When I hear on recording what I’ve been hearing in my head, and then also hear what was in the heads of the rest of the band, it’s a magical experience.  That first playback, man….shit….it’s indescribable.  Then more fun listening back to it over and over again and picking it apart and coming up with more ideas to make it better when you go back into the studio to continue working on it.  If I could live in a studio, I would.  What’s got me so amped?  BREAKING FUCKING BONES!  That is all.  RNRMFRS and  HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

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What’s up?  I’m sort of digging this whole blogging thing.  It allows me to put my thoughts together in a way that I can edit and re-edit them so the right things come out.  This is especially important for today’s topic.  Before I begin, I want to say that I am NOT a music snob.  I just have such a love and respect for rock music and the rock music world (not necessarily the industry) that I want to protect whatever may be left of it, and I feel the need to expose what happened to it because people do wonder.

As I see it, musicians fall into two categories.  People who love music, who love to create, write, record, play, perform (etc) music are the real musicians.  The ones who keep things fresh and relevant by staying true to themselves and to their musical tastes and identities.  To these people, music is the priority, and making it big, making money and becoming famous are just the icing on the cake.  They will continue to write, play and perform for the love of music even if it doesn’t return any tangible reward.  These are the people keeping the music fresh and keeping the music world alive.  Then you have people who see music as dollar signs and “claim jump” the music and momentum of real musicians by hopping on something while it’s fresh, leeching the life out of it, and then jumping onto the next hot bandwagon.  They don’t stay true to anything because they have no real love or passion for it and to them, the money fame and covet needs are all that matter.  They typically have no talent or creativity and therefore to them the fun doesn’t lie in the creating and performing of music, their fun lies in the paycheck.  This is why you see so many candle in the wind “artists” with ghost writers, and “artists” not doing anything fresh.  They can’t, or barely can, write their own music, and don’t care to.  These are businessmen disguised as musicians, and they dull the edges of real artists, and intercept the success of the people who actually deserve it.

The success and perseverance of slimy shit sacks like these are 90-95% the fault of other, more powerful, slimy shit sacks.  The record industry.  BIG BUSINESS.  The hype machine advertises and puts these “artists” everywhere, and enough people buy into it to keep it running.  Back in the late 90s through the early 2000s you couldn’t go a day without hearing someone trying to rip off Scott Stapp “arms wide opahn” who was borrowing from Eddie Vedder who was the original.  I don’t blame Scott Stapp.  He was emulating someone who influenced him musically and who he wanted to sound like because he truly enjoyed and wanted that sound.  It’s called an influence or inspiration and it applies to everyone.  We all copy and borrow from and take from licks, passages, styles, sounds that we like and make our own.  THAT is fine, and is how music progresses.  The hoards of mush mouthers who came after him trying to capitalize on it are the leeches.  It’s a fine line sometimes only defined by intention.  You can tell the intention by listening to the music.  Do they play with passion?  Listen to their interviews.  Do they know what they’re talking about?  Do they sound like musicians or businessmen?  Do they completely stylistically jump from hot trend to hot trend?

Lastly, if you ARE one of the fakes and you’re reading this, if you can’t tell I think you’re a contemptible, talentless, passionless, unimaginative fuck who has destroyed the once vast possibilities of success for real musicians.  Your lack of respect for music has jaded the public and their ears to the point that they no longer care, and their passion has been numbed.  Do us all a favor and leave our art form to the people who actually care.

Thanks for reading, let’s keep trying to weed the rock n’ roll garden, and see you next time!  RNRMFRS!

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What’s up everyone?  I’m Patrick Holliday, lead guitarist for the Sandbox Kings since mid-late 2012.  This is my first attempt at blogging so bare with me as I try to figure out how best to do this.  I’ll start with the basics.  I was born in Washington D.C. in November of 198-(HA!)
I primarily grew up in Maryland but have lived all over the country.  My dad is/was a great dad/radio D.J./drummer and mom is/was a wonderful mother/medical transcriptionist/therapist/caretaker/etc.  My younger brother is a bass player who has played with me in two of my past bands, my older brother is half responsible for introducing me to harder music, and my sisters are sodi pop drinkin’ Michiganders who don’t play anything (to my knowledge) but are pretty damn cool just the same!  PHEW!

I don’t remember my first experience with music since I’ve been surrounded by it my whole life.  I do, however, recall being fascinated and feeling drawn to guitars from my earliest memories on-ward.  I still hear the soothing sounds my dad’s acoustic used to make as I would lay next to it with my ear against the body strumming and plucking the strings.  I wasn’t old enough to understand that you could actually PLAY it yet, but I knew it made the most wonderful, amazing sounds.  My parents bought me a plastic Dukes of Hazard guitar that I used to take with me everywhere. I would pretend to jam with the bands on stage at my dad’s radio events and “write songs.”  Point is, I think everyone has something that they’re intended to do with their life.  Something that draws them in.  A “calling.”  Mine is to play the guitar and write music and hopefully through that reach other people.  And hopefully those other people like what they hear.  If not fuck ‘em.

I joined the Sandbox Kings through a somewhat similar manner.  It was actually a huge coincidence that it happened in the first place!  I bumped into our drummer Brian (an old friend of mine) at a gas station while visiting friends in Virginia.  He started telling me about the band, gave me a CD and told me that they were looking to bring in a lead guitarist.  He said I should come out and jam.  At first I brushed the idea off because I didn’t want to commit to anything, and I was already in an active band.  But I went out and jammed anyway.  We definitely clicked really well for our first time playing together, but I was still unable to do it.  Brian said “don’t close up to the idea because you never know what’s going to happen.”  As it turned out my band split up a year later, I called Brian and away we went.

Thank you to anyone and everyone for taking the time to read this, who has listened to our music, come out to see us, enjoyed us, who has
bought our CD’s or MP3s, etc.  Without you, we’d be playing for the walls, which is not quite as fun as sharing the experience!

Last but not least, there’s a lot of good stuff to come from us, we’re working on new material constantly, filling up our show schedule, getting some cool merch, etc. so keep up with the currents.  Stay cool, stay legit, stay good.  RNRMFRS!

FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @Blowyaeardrums