Inspiring BC student plays in rock band

James Macias, Reporter

Anthony Rodriguez, 26, a student at Bakersfield College, is an outspoken and irascible soul with a 24-karat heart of gold. He is a musician and plays the drums in the Stanley J Tucker Band, a successful hard rock group that recently played Jerry’s Pizza to an enthusiastic crowd.

Rodriguez plans to become a physical therapist or football coach. Oh, yeah, he has also been blind since birth and has no concept of what colors are or the difference between light and darkness.

He prefers to be addressed as Anthony (A-rod by his closest friends) and is proud of his independence, typified by the fact that he never asks anyone for help.

Rodriguez was born three months premature with detached retinas and has always been blind. He said his grandmother provided the support he needed from the time he was born.

“My real mother just wasn’t around,” Rodriguez said, although he said his biological mother makes up for this absence today, and Rodriguez lives with her.

His grandmother “kept him alive” and said he was “her world,” taking him everywhere with her from the time he was very small.

“My grandma was like an angel on my shoulder,” he said. Having been involved in music since the age of 7, he experimented with the harmonica and the accordion before settling on the drums at age 12. “I’ve risen from Spanish rap all the way to American rock and roll. I picked up the drums when I was 12, and I guess it just happened rhythmically from there.”

As he grew up, he learned how to get around from an instructor who took him into the streets during his lessons.

“Thus, you would be out in the streets of your neighborhood, but I also think playing with my cousins helped a lot,” he said.

Of his senses and uncanny awareness, he said, “It’s not that my senses are sharper than other people, but the way that I have learned to use them. Noise pollution can really throw me off at times.”

He has the kind of presence that puts one at ease. One does not feel like he is reading something into every word one has to say.

Rodriguez is often found hanging around the rock in the middle of the Free Speech Area. He is a graduate of Ridgeview High class of 2007 and is currently studying kinesiology.

“Coaching football would be awesome,” he said of his dreams for the future.

He lists his favorite bands as AC/DC, Def Leppard, U2 and Guns ’n’ Roses among many others.

He is currently pursuing a master’s degree in kinesiology and is hopeful that he will be able to attend UCLA, saying that CSUB would only be his “last resort.”

“It would be nice to go away to college,” he said. L.A. is his personal preference of where he would like to go.

“I went there for six months as part of a program and I loved it,” he said. “Santa Monica, Venice, were great and there was so much more for me to do. Bakersfield is just not working out for me.”

With everything he’s accomplished and gone through in his life, Rodriguez summed up his basic philosophy: “We either bitch and moan or we get up and kick [life] in the ass. So put on your pads and let’s go! Tackle each day like a defensive lineman.”