Local high school rock band plays its last show at San Diego County Fair


By Claire Harlin

Four years ago, the Youth Arts Academy at the San Dieguito Boys & Girls Club helped bring together four musically-talented teens and provided them with the space and equipment to form a solid high school rock band called “Saphead.” Now, after growing up together and developing their own unique sound, the members of Saphead are holding their last practices and playing their last shows before most of the band heads off to college.

“We’re kind of trying to finish it out the best we can,” said Matt Magnaghi, who sings and plays bass guitar in the band. Magnaghi just graduated from Cathedral Catholic High School and will be heading to the University of Arizona for college.

The band also consists of Sam Chisholm, who plays bass guitar and electric guitar and just graduated from Canyon Crest Academy. Sam will be attending college at UC Riverside. Joe George, the band’s drummer, just graduated from Torrey Pines and will be heading to university in Oregon. Guitarist Mitchell Galton, an honor student, will enter his senior year at Canyon Crest Academy this fall. It has been a busy period for the boys who, in addition to playing in the band and keeping up with their studies, played varsity sports, and worked both for pay and as volunteers.

“We’re playing five shows this month and we usually do two or three a year,” said Magnaghi. “It’s summer so we might as well play a lot.”

The band members are particularly excited about landing a gig at the San Diego County Fair in Del Mar. They will play on June 27 from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Coors Light Rock Stage in the fair “fun zone.”

Magnaghi said Saphead’s sounds has evolved a lot since their first days together at the Youth Arts Academy, which he said is truly the band’s “foundation.”

“When we started we didn’t say we’re going to play a certain kind of music,” he said. “We started playing covers and it formed into our own sound.”

Magnaghi said he writes all the lyrics to the songs, but they don’t always end up how he has it on the drawing board.

“It’s a team effort really,” Magnaghi said. “Everyone pitches in and that’s what allows all the songs to sound like us.”

Magnaghi said he still hopes to keep playing music in college even though he is pursuing a business degree.

“Flights are under $100 so I hope I’ll be able to come back here as much as I can,” he said.

Galton, the one band mate who will be staying in San Diego, said it’s “a bummer” that the other guy are heading to college.

“I’m going to miss them all but I’ll see them probably,” he said.

The band’s name — Saphead — has a story behind it that dates back to the boys’ very first practice together in Galton’s backyard.

“He had this big, giant pine tree, and some of the sap — actually a lot of sap — had dripped on my head and hardened,” Magnaghi recounted, adding that it was very difficult to get out of his hair. “At our first show we had to think of a name so that was it … To be honest, we knew it was a stupid name, when all the other bands were trying to get these cool sounding, clever names.”

Magnaghi added that his nickname used to be “Sappy,” and Chisholm correction him: “He’s still Sappy to us.”

For more information on the band, visit