Wednesday, July 18, 2018

File Under: Good Vibes

by Gary Schwind (writer), Laguna Niguel, December 19, 2007


RAS of Orange County funk/rock/reggae band Qwiksand discusses good vibes, life on the road, and a laundromat in Tijuana.

Have you ever wondered what it would sound like if Jimi Hendrix and Bob Marley got together to play the theme from Shaft? Wonder no longer because that's the sort of sound you get from Qwiksand, a four-piece funk/rock/reggae band from Orange County.

How did the current incarnation of Qwiksand come about?

Good question. I made some calls, I ran some ads in OC Weekly and local classifieds. We went through probably a couple dozen people that I thought were good musicians. I tried to visualize myself being in a van with that person for more than three or four weeks at a time. I ended up hooking up with a pretty decent singer. He was motivated. He wanted to make something happen. I ended up meeting a bass player who was just finishing up his degree at USC and met a drummer out here locally who had played in bands and he surfed. When I was running the ads I asked, “What kind of music do you like to listen to? This is the kind of stuff that we have out there. This is what’s happening with it. People are offering us shows. Do you want to go out there and play a few shows and write some new stuff?” That’s how we all got on the same page. They said, “I like that sound. I’m into playing that kind of music. Let’s try to keep it going.” Some of them thought they could take things a little further. They had some new ideas they could throw into it. We ended up re-doing a lot of the songs. That’s how we all started, I guess. It’s been about a year and we’re getting momentum again. We just put out a new album. It’s interesting because it’s like anything in life. It’s gotta grow. It’s gotta evolve and change. If you’re trying to force something to happen, or if you’re trying to go back and make something that worked in the past happen again in the future, sometimes it doesn’t work like that. You have to let things evolve and adapt. We all throw in ideas. We have ideas of what we want to do at a show, and how we want to put ourselves out there. That makes a big difference when you have everyone creatively trying to come together and make something really cool happen. Some people will say that they want something cool to happen but they won’t actually put themselves out there to do it. They won’t quit their job, or they won’t commit to one band or one specific project for an extended period of time. It really is a lifestyle decision, to do music, try your best at it, and see what happens with it.

If you were in a record store and you got to create your own category for Qwiksand, where would you file the band?

Good vibes. Our band, we play a lot of different styles of music and try to make it all flow together. I know a lot of bands kind of get labeled in a specific genre. They may be a rock band, or a reggae band, or a punk band, whatever. We like all of that. I can’t go to a promoter and say “Qwiksand’s playing. It’s a rock/punk/reggae/soul/jam band.” They just can’t sell that. I think good vibes. The people that like what we’re doing, they understand. They like to have a good time. They’re all about good vibes. That’s what it comes down to. I can’t think of very many bands that are just one style of music, unless it’s like a straight reggae band from Jamaica. That’s all they know. We’re from southern California. My friends and I listen to a lot of styles of music. Some of our favorite bands are Ben Harper, G Love & Special Sauce, Slightly Stoopid. Those bands, they play a lot of different stuff. It’s hard to pigeonhole yourself.

I like good vibes. That works. Plus, you get to create the category, so there you have it. Where is one place you will play any time, no questions asked?

No questions asked?

No questions asked. They say “We want you to play” and you say, “We’re there.”

I don’t know, a cruise ship. At least we’d get a free buffet.

You’d have a captive audience.

The audience would be wasted. Honestly, I’d have to say an Elvis museum, just to say we played an Elvis museum. I’m bullshitting you. I can’t think of one particular place. I guess it just depends on the time of the year. We just did a trip out to the midwest and it was a lot of fun.

But you wouldn’t want to be there in February.

We wouldn’t want to be there now because apparently, there’s four feet of snow out there.

It’s a lot harder to get around the midwest in the winter.

To answer your question…I don’t know. Probably a Laundromat next to a Chinese restaurant in TJ. That’d be a good time.

If you’re putting a tour together, who are some bands you want to tour with?

We had an opportunity to play with Fishbone. There’s some good bands that are still on the road. The Untouchables, The English Beat. They bring some of that old school, soul, rock and reggae into the mix. I know a lot of the guys in the band would love to play with the Chili Peppers, Ben Harper, if Sublime was still together. Any of the bands that were raw that had something honest to say about life and having a good time. That’s kind of what we’re about. We had a song called “Beer Goggles.”

Easily relatable.

I think a band I would really like to tour with…I would have loved to open for Johnny Cash. I’d love to open for U2, Grateful Dead if Jerry were still alive, James Brown. That’d be crazy! Led Zeppelin played last weekend.

Van Halen’s reuniting.

Van Halen with David Lee Roth. Our music, I think it’s…I’m not trying to say that it can be translated over so many genres, but we’ll play with anybody that’s cool. We’re opening for Culture in Austin, Texas, this spring. They’re legends. We’ll play with anybody who’s cool. Anybody who’s actually trying to make music for the brother, not just to make money.

What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

Probably trying to figure out how to make money making music. (laughs) I don’t know. Music has become my life so it’s hard to think about that. I’ve made a choice to try to do music and it’s something that I love doing. Maybe I would do some philanthropy or something. Help other people out. We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity to do this and I know there are people out there that for whatever reason, they can’t. If I was in a position where I could spread the word, I’d probably do something like that. A friend of ours had a spinal injury. He used to surf a lot. Now he does a lot of education, telling people that he’s trying to raise money for people with spinal injuries. That’s something real. Whatever you read in People Magazine or on the news, it’s so spoon-fed. People want you to think a certain way, they want you to do certain things. They want you to buy certain things. Very few people have a mind of their own. It’s hard to actually find those opportunities where you can do something.

For more information about the band and upcoming shows, visit

About the Writer

Gary Schwind is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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