Almost Famous: La Jolla High grads, Stone Horse, still chasing the rock ‘n’ roll dream

he members of Stone Horse: guitarist Carlos Rodriguez, vocalist Danielle Spade, guitarist Greg Wadsworth, bassist Gene Beavers and drummer Bill Ray. Courtesy

If you go
What: Stone Horse CD release show
When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1
Where: Beaumont’s Eatery, 5662 La Jolla Blvd.

By Pat Sherman

No matter how many rock concerts one experiences in a lifetime, one never forgets their first Rolling Stones show.

For Carlos Rodriguez, guitarist and founder of La Jolla’s blues-infused rock band, Stone Horse, his first time was June 13, 1972, during the Stones’ “Exile on Main St.” tour (with opening act Stevie Wonder). It was the band’s first U.S. tour since the deadly 1969 Altamont Speedway show, and a riot ensued at the Sports Arena after fans who purchased phony scalped tickets stormed the entrance. Rodriquez paid a scalper $8 for his $6 ticket — an “outrageous” price at the time, he said — though it got him in the door, unscathed.

“The Stones just captivated the audience,” recalled Rodriguez, then a 16-year-old La Jolla High School student. “With everything I write, I’m trying to make the next ‘Exile on Main St.’ … I’m like the sixth Stone.”

Decades — and many more Stones’ concerts later — Rodriquez is still happily pursuing his dream to headline the Sports Arena (today known as Valley View Casino Center).

Until then, rock ‘n’ roll fans can catch Rodriguez and Stone Horse up close and personal, 9 p.m. to midnight Feb. 1, during a release party and concert for their new CD, “Grit,” at Beaumont’s Eatery.

Stone Horse’s sound is influenced by 1970s arena rock greats such as Free, Bad Company and The Guess Who, as well as newer Southern rock acts like The Black Crowes and Atlanta’s Blackberry Smoke (who Rodriguez counts as personal friends).

Stone Horse founder and guitarist Carlos Rodriguez and vocalist Danielle Spade. Courtesy

The show at Beaumont’s will include a mix of originals and classic rock covers, including a few obligatory Stones’ tunes, such as “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” Respectable” or “Dead Flowers.”

The band, formerly known as the Carlos Blues Experience (changed to Stone Horse to take the focus off Rodriguez and avoid being confused for a Santana or Jimi Hendrix cover act), also includes: vocalist Danielle Spade and guitarist Greg Wadsworth (both La Jolla High grads, class of 1982), renowned San Diego drummer Bill Ray (from the late Ike Turner’s band) and bassist Gene Beavers. Rodriguez wrote most of the music on “Grit,” while Spade penned the lyrics.

The name Stone Horse is a nod to Spade’s day-job providing mobile acupuncture and dentistry services for horses.

During the ’80s, Spade was part of the burgeoning Sunset Strip glam rock explosion, which included fellow La Jolla High alumni Warren DeMartini and the late Robin Crosby (both of the heavy metal band Ratt).

Burned out on the “scene,” Spade wound up in upstate New York grooming horses at a racetrack — a job that led to her current occupation as a veterinarian.

Spade said she didn’t consider another serious stab at a music career until she met up with Rodriguez four years ago at WindanSea Beach. “We’re just trying to reach our goal, and slowly getting there,” she said.

Related posts:

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  2. Great American Songbook: Cabaret nights in La Jolla draw a musical crowd
  3. Producer of iconic Fleetwood Mac album to speak at Warwick’s June 6
  4. World Music Festival comes to La Jolla on May 11
  5. Ready or not, here’s Neveready!

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Posted by Pat Sherman on Jan 28, 2014. Filed under A & E, Music. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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