You Play Guitar? Scott Spiezio of the Seattle Mariners


Scott Spiezio won the 2002 World Series while a member of the Anaheim Angels. As the 2004 Major League Baseball season approaches, Scott takes over third base duties for a new team, the Seattle Mariners. Of course he hopes to add more rare jewelry to his collection, such as another World Series ring to match the one he already proudly wears.

But when he's not swinging for the fence, Spiezio is swinging his favorite guitars with his band Sandfrog. And Scott and his bandmates ain't just messin around either, they're crankin out some seriously pro-level tunes! For proof, check out the Mp3 files of Sandfrog, and see what Scott has to say about baseball, music, and his second-favorite pastime: playing guitar. Scott, tell us a little bit about your musical background.

Scott Spiezio: (Laughs) OK, my musical background is not much! I started the band, Sandfrog, with my brother-in-law about 6 - 6 1/2 years ago. He went out and bought a guitar at Sams Wholesale Mart with a little amp that came with it, started learning some songs, nobody would sing with him so I started to sing with him and then I went out and bought a guitar and started writing original stuff and we just called ourselves a band.

Guitar:com: Who are the other band members?

Spiezio: We've got Jeremy Sparta who is our lead guitar player. Andy Anderson is the original member, hes my brother-in-law. Steve Underwood is our drummer, and Chuck Butts is our bass player. Theyre really good at it. I have an idea, and they just really help me make it better How about balancing this with baseball?

Spiezio: Well I pretty much only play shows in the off-season but, as far as writing, I have a G4 Mac Powerbook with an Mbox and I write on the road. I bring my guitar and my mic on the road with me. I write on the road on Pro Tools and then if they have some ideas, they also have a rig at my house and at my brother in-laws house so they can go to either place and record stuff. Then they send me a CD and I can just upload it to Pro Tools and sing along to it or play guitar along to it or whatever so its kinda great. I can send them CDs or they can send me CDs and weve been doing that this year and its worked out great. Do you take your guitar with you on the road?

Spiezio: I just take a Fender Strat, I'm good friends with Alex Perez at Fender and I have a ton of different guitars but I like that one because its not too expensive and, you gotta put them under the planes now, so he gave me a nice case for it to throw underneath there. If it breaks he said, No problem. But it sounds pretty good and I have one of Korgs Pandora boxes (PX4) that I play it through. How often do you get to practice your guitar with so much time spent on the road? Do you have a practice regime that you stick to or just kind of dust-it-off when you get back home?

Spiezio: I pretty much never practice. The only thing I really know are power chords and drop tuning and I just play power chords and write riffs. That's all I do. I never practice. One of the reasons is because I never really play guitar live. I play every once in a while on a cover song or two if our lead guitarist is going to sing but most of the time I'm just singing and not playing guitar. Live that is! How often do you get to gig? Strictly off-season?

Spiezio: If you count our rehearsals, because I have a stage in my basement with lights and everything, it would be a lot! (laughs) We played out six times last year. We actually flew out to California and played a show at the Grove which is right by our stadium and then went up to Hollywood and played the Knitting Factory. Then we played a couple right around the Chicago area so we dont play out that much. Last year it seemed like we played a lot because we were trying to write, finish up writing songs, trying to record, went to the studio twice. So it goes by pretty quick when youre trying to do all that stuff in three or four months. It's pretty tough to do. Did you take lessons as a kid or are you self-taught?

Spiezio: My brother in law taught me a power chord and then he taught me how to drop D tune and thats pretty much what I do. I'm good at hearing stuff and playing it back and if for some reason I can't find a chord I'll find the single note and I'll be able to tell these guys OK, Play this chord. Or, a lot of times, I'm even humming songs to these guys so that they can play them and figure them out, but I can hear stuff really well. Do any of your teammates play?

Spiezio: I don't think anyone plays anymore. One of the guys took it up (guitar) for a little bit but gave it up because he said it hurt his hand. I'm the only one left! Do any of your teammates give you grief for your aspiration of being a musician?

Spiezio: That's all we do, is get on each other all the time. Three years ago Angels closer, Troy Percival, used to come in (to pitch) to one of my songs and he had a bad year. He blew like seven saves so now he blames it all on whenever he hears one of my songs! And last year Gary Glover, one of the Angels relievers, was coming in to one of my songs. So it was kinda cool to hear him coming out and warming up to one of my songs. It plays for about 10 minutes in the stadium. But everyone pretty much gets on me all the time. I kinda like it! Glover is about the only guy that got into it and I gave him some of my stuff that I come up with on the road. I let him listen to it and he'd say, Yeah, I like this, or Well, I don't like that. Glover was a great helper. He likes the heavy stuff and he likes the same music I do, so its good to get some feedback. What other instruments do you play?

Spiezio: I try to play the keyboard every once in a while but once again I don't know what I'm doing! A lot of times after I write something I'll try to come up with something under a guitar line. Who would you credit as your musical influences?

Spiezio: When I was in college I was a huge Alice in Chains fan and then lately Sevendust is a big band I love. Tool. I love Ozzy and Zakk Wylde and Black Label Society. I'm into that new album a lot. Anything heavy I pretty much like! I pretty much like anything, but heavier music is what I lean to. I like screaming and melodic. Many, many years from now, after you retire from baseball - any thoughts as to what youd like to do with your music?

Spiezio: Laughs. I think once you start playing music you're always going to play it. Before I started playing music I'd look in music stores and say, How do they stay in business? I couldn't understand it. Now I'm like the boy who wished I opened a music store! Because once you start getting into music you're like, I need that, I need that! It's amazing how it gets into your blood, but I love doing it. I love having fun with it. I don't claim to be great or anything but whatever happens, happens. I have a great job in baseball, which is something I love to do and I really consider music more of a hobby. But if anything happened it would be great and I'm just going to always have fun with it. Whats the biggest gig youve played to date?

Spiezio: Probably The Grove in Anaheim. We had just won the World Series and people were hearing about my band and we got the invite for either The House of Blues or The Grove, and The Grove seated 1,500 so we went to The Grove and drew somewhere between 1,000-1,200, which was too many people for us! We were a little scared! At least I was. But it was amazing. Just an incredible crowd, they we're going nuts. It was fun. So you get nervous singing but not getting up in front of 60,000 people on first base?

Spiezio: Yeah, pretty much. At least with baseball I've practiced since I was able to walk and my dad played in the Major Leagues so I had a great teacher at home. With music I'm not as confident as I am on the field. If you had the opportunity, what artist would you like to perform with?

Spiezio: Wow, tough question. I think it would be cool to get up on stage with Metallica although I'd probably be so nervous I couldn't do anything! Ozzy or what would be impossible now would be to do a harmony with Layne Staley. What kind of guitars do you own?

Spiezio: I've got a Gibson Les Paul Standard. I've got a single cut PRS Custom, the Fender (mentioned above) and a Fender SubSonic, a Fender P-Bass. I've got a Guild acoustic. I've got a Schecter Custom, a Schecter Scorpion Tribal, and a Schecter Avenger. Your favorite?

Spiezio: I love playing the SubSonic and the Scorpion because they're B to B guitars and theyre just stupid heavy! But as far as recording, either the PRS Singlecut or the Les Paul Standard, because they really sound good. What about amplifiers?

Spiezio: We've got Marshall JCM800, JCM900 and JCM2000. We also have Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifiers and our lead guitarist has a Randall V-Max and Cyclone. As far as bass amps, we have Carvin with a David Eden cabinet and we also have an Ampeg SVT Classic with an 8x10. We've got a lot but we probably need some more. We need a big wall behind us! We need a Marshall wall or something!!

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