We live our lives and what does it all mean? We’re here on this planet for such a very short time.
The time we have is precious and it’s so easy to be cavalier about everything. We get to live our lives exactly how we choose and we really don’t even know how fast the clock ticks. Then out of nowhere it all just ends.
Steve Rodriguez died two nights ago. He was a husband to Jamie and a father to Jesse a friend to many and the bass player for The Dragons and Saint Shameless among many other things. He was sweet. He was Christmas, New Years Eve and The 4th of July all rolled into one. Whenever I saw him, he’d kiss me right smack dab on the lips and give me a hug. That’s just how he rolled. He looked cool. He was cool.
I first heard about The Dragons years ago from my friend Dennis Borlek. I remember Dennis telling me “You gotta see this band called The Dragons! They’re amazing. They have great songs. They’re kinda like The New York Dolls and The Ramones and they’re really nice. They love to buy drinks. They’ll always pay for your drinks! They’re really generous. And did I tell you how cool they dress? And did I mention that they will never let you pay for your drinks?” For some reason this really sticks in my mind.
So I went to see them at The Casbah and they didn’t disappoint. They were even better than Dennis described. I remember thinking “how do they get their jeans so skinny? (This was long before skinny jeans were ubiquitous.) Who cuts that bass player’s hair? Like seriously- who the fuck cuts the bass player’s hair? I want to know these guys.”
They had the whole picture- great songs, awesome guitar tone and cool stage attitude. They just knew how to be a band. A lot of times you see bands that look really cool and they’re really good and they can be snotty. These guys? They were so approachable. So friendly. So not snotty. Sonotsnotty dot com.
We all drank copious amounts of booze and the music was loud and fun. All I know is that when he showed up to one of my gigs with his lovely wife Jamie, it was like a holiday. Seriously. The level of energy went up in the room. Steve didn’t just smile. His whole being was a huge smile as he navigated through the back bar at The Casbah or whatever dark bar place he was rocking. He was like a parade.
It’s really sad that he’s gone. So many folks loved him. My heart goes out to his wife Jamie and their son Jesse. This isn’t fair. Time doesn’t wait. I want to say goodbye to him.
I’ve taken to going on hikes every so often with his friend and former band mate Mario Escovedo. I had a stroke last year and I try to keep moving and stay healthy. Mario has always been a good friend to me and he makes me laugh. He’s a great storyteller. When I hike next to Mario I always make him tell me road tales about The Dragons and one of my favorite stories is how when The Dragons would play Austin Texas they’d stop along the highway at his brother Alejandro Escovedo’s place. Al would make them get out of the van and he’d inspect their clothes. Alejandro would look each member of the band up and down like an army general and give them advice on what they could do better. “Are you a trucker? No? Then why are you wearing that trucker belt? Leather pants? Those are ok but the shoes are all wrong. Sweatpants? Wtf? Just because you’re in the van that doesn’t mean you can dress down. You need to look sharp at all times ” This went on and on. But Steve? Steve Rodriguez didn’t need any advice on clothes. He could’ve taught a master class on how to be a rocknroller.
This sucks. I want him alive. This community of San Diego is beautiful. We are lucky to know these rocknroll angels. They’re in our midst and if we concentrate we can feel their energy. Steve was and is an angel. His death reverberates and ripples through our little scene and beyond. He’ll be missed so much. This video that Mario and Maren made says it all. God bless you Steve Rodriguez. xoxo