At 53 years old, La Jolla’s Carlos Rodriguez has dreamed of playing in a popular band for his entire life. Now that his blues-rock band, the Carlos Blues Experience, is gaining recognition and about to debut their first album, he is slowly seeing that dream become reality.
Music lovers can catch a glimpse of Rodriguez’ dream when the band performs at the La Jolla Pannikin from 8 to 10 p.m. June 5.
“I’m living an adolescent fantasy now, and I want to live it until I die,” Rodriguez said. “I’m very comfortable in the spotlight, and even though I’m 53, I feel like I’m 20 inside.”
With Keith Richards and Jack Sparrow (of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” fame) as his “mentors,” Rodriguez intends to take his band as far as possible. He models his group after the 1970s British blues-rock stylings of Fleetwood Mac, Jeff Beck and the Rolling Stones.
Born and raised in La Jolla, Rodriguez began studying guitar at age 14.
“I was either going to get in trouble or play the guitar, and I chose the latter,” Rodriguez said.
Since eighth grade, Rodriguez has performed in various local bands, including the Salty Dogs, a frequent performer at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, but success has eluded him until now.
Harmonica-playing Zachary Cole (of the Coles Book Shop family) is another band mate (and longtime friend) of Rodriguez. Immersed in the local music scene for his entire life, Cole has played harmonica for more than 25 years and cites Bob Dylan and James Cotton as his musical influences.
“I’ve been a DJ and a promoter of music shows for many years,” Cole said, “and I’ve played at various Pacific Beach clubs over the years and used to run the Blues Jam at Blind Melons.”
Cole also works for Blues Lovers United San Diego where he writes for their print publication “Blue Ink.”
Bass player, Barney Roach, Rodriguez’s childhood friend, rounds out the group, which uses several local drummers for their performances, including Ric Lee and Scot Lee.
The band formed a year ago, and they have performed at San Diego’s Brick By Brick and Winston’s.
While Rodriguez is the sole music-lyric writer in the group, he gains a lot of inspiration from Cole’s work.
Another piece of the band’s dream will fall into place this summer when they debut their first album, “Sailing by the Light of the Blue Moon.” It features many of Rodriguez’s songs, including “Stevie’s Lament,” dedicated to singer Stevie Ray Vaughn.
My “Going Back to Gasoline Alley” was influenced by Keith Richards and Ronnie Woods, and it has an early 1970s British blues feel to it,” Rodriguez said.
His “Sea Snake Shake” CD cut is dedicated to Rodriguez’s friend in Fiji.
“It’s an instrumental, and it has a ZZ Top and John Lee Hooker feel to it,” Rodriguez said.
For a change of pace, Rodriguez penned an Irish tune, “Black and Tan.” This CD cut features guest singer singers Brooklyn MacIntosh and Joanna Skvarka of Aquatribe.
“They both give the song a siren feel,” Rodriguez said.
Listen to their music at