thanks, helpers, but I think I have a simple solution:
 I will insert a space at the front of the string,
where the db must accept and retain it.

BTW, here is the SQL I am working with:
elseif ($desc==desc) {
  $sql="SELECT bandid, bandname, bandesc, bin_id,
  FROM bands, genre WHERE
(bands.genreid=genre.genreid) AND ";

  while (list($key, $word)=each($wordsarray)) 
//$wordsarray from textbox input
        $sql=$sql."(bandname LIKE '$word %' OR 
                         bandname LIKE '% $word %' OR 
                         bandname LIKE '% $word' OR 
                         bandesc LIKE '$word%' OR 
                         bandesc LIKE '% $word %' OR 
                         bandesc LIKE '% $word' OR 
                         genre LIKE '$word%' OR 
                         genre LIKE '% $word') AND "; 
$sql=substr($sql, 0, (strlen($sql)-5));
$sql=$sql."  ORDER BY genre.genre ASC, bandname ASC";
If I do "bandname='$var' I would not hit the band 'Red
Letter Day' if the user jusr types 'red'.

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