Published on June 21st, 2013 | by Ballard Lesemann


The Punch List with Kevin McCrary of the Sandinistas!

Metronome Charleston‘s weekly Punch List puts local musicians on the spot with a questionnaire that touches on music, venues, gear, records, vices, and more. This week, singer/guitarist Kevin McCrary of Charleston’s only Clash tribute band Sandinistas! lays it out.

1. What is your favorite local hang and why? 

“Art’s Bar in Mt. Pleasant, the Mill in North Chuck, the Tin Roof in West Ashley, the Royal American downtown. Believe it or not, good food, relaxed atmosphere, live music — local and national acts — and cold beer … lots of cold beer.”

2. You know you’ve played an excellent show when…

“I didn’t break any bones and my bandmates are still willing to talk to me.”


Kevin McCrary’s Tele (provided)

3. What was the last show you attended that really got you fired up in a good or bad way?

“I’m still deaf from the Supersuckers show last September [at the Pour House, where the Sandinistas! backed up opening act Skye Paige]. Damn good show. Straight-up, in-your-face rock ‘n’ roll.”

4. Define your musical style in 10 words.

“Energized, beer-swilling, ear-pounding, guitar roaring, rock in 3-D.”

5. What’s your theme song? And why?

“‘Big Balls’ by AC/DC. Wanna know why? Come see our show.”

6. Gear-wise, what’s is your irreplaceable baby?

“I have a Dwarftcraft Shiva fuzz pedal that my bass player Eric Atwood hates. I keep it just for him. This pedal is the noisiest and very unpredictable. It’s my open secret for hiding while playing guitar.”

7. What’s the most overplayed album in your collection?

“Tough question so I’ll name a couple: Royal Fingerbowl’s Happy Birthday, Sabo, and Minutemen’s Ballot Result. The best album is Lester “Roadhog” Moran and His Cadillac Cowboys’ ALIVE at the Johnny Mack Brown High School.”

8. When was the last time you were genuinely star-struck?

“I went to hear the 33’s and their crooner, Nathaniel Irvin, ran over me.”

9. What’s your poison?

“Cold beer, live music, women, lots of women.”

10. In 10 years, I will be…

“Still trying to learn how to play guitar.”

Sandinistas! are more than just a local Clash tribute band. Sure, McCrary, guitarist Chris Oplinger, bassist Eric Atwood, and drummer Mike “Topper” Watson can play just about any track ever released by the legendary London punk band — from Clash’s self-titled debut album and London Calling to deep cuts on the Sandinista and Combat Rock collections.

Since forming in 2007, they’ve concentrated on Clash and Clash-connected material, but they’ve expanded their repertoire quite a bit over the last two years. Sandinistas! might deliver a late-’70s punk or New Wave gem by the likes of XTC, the Police, the Jam, Devo, or the Replacements. They might toss a few more modern tunes into the mix, too, like Ween, the Black Keys, or Kings of Leon. They’ll never cover “Wagon Wheel,” they promise.

Billed as “The Only Cover Band That Matters,” Sandinistas! will perform a monthly gig at Art’s Bar & Grill in Mt. Pleasant through the summer. They’ll be there on Fri. June 21 at 10 p.m. (admission is free). Shout out for “Clampdown.”

Visit and for more.

Top photo by Ballard Lesemann.


Kevin McCrary and the Sandinistas! at Art’s Bar & Grill (photo by Ballard Lesemann)





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About the Author

Ballard Lesemann

is a musician and writer. Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., he spent years playing in bands and working for Flagpole Magazine in the bustling music town of Athens, Ga. He returned to his hometown and served more than seven years as the Charleston City Paper's music editor. He's better at drumming than he is at playing guitar.

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