Random Renegade: Robert Martinez

Every issue, The Rip will be interviewing a random faculty member at Bakersfield College about hopes and goals.

Robert Martinez

Robert Martinez

Zach Sullivan, Reporter

Professor Robert Martinez has been a professional musician over 15 years, and has been teaching at Bakersfield College just as long. Martinez lived through the glory days of rock ’n’ roll, and now teaches students about the roots of the genre as well as the stories behind it. Martinez was born in San Bernardino, California. Growing up, he played sports, but discovered his passion in music.

“I had a great interest in older movies and took dance lessons. Little by little, I found myself touring with the Jean Portugal dancers; I did this for seven years. I was a dancer traveling and I got to see most of California doing that,” he said. “While I was doing that I discovered drums, and I thought that was the greatest thing since peanut butter. ” By the time he hit high school, Martinez was beginning to record music while balancing his school work.

“I got to be really good and I was getting calls by 1966 and 67 to play in Hollywood, which I did. I was playing with a lot of bands mostly in southern Cal in Hollywood, all the big spots. I was already starting to record, but at the same time I was still a high school student and I was playing flute and piccolo in the marching band, drums in the jazz ensemble, flute in the orchestra, and I wanted to be a music major.” After graduating high school, Martinez enrolled at San Bernardino Valley College as a music major.

“I was very fortunate to go to San Bernardino Valley College. A community college graduate I am, and proud of it,” he said. Martinez said he was drafted for the Vietnam war on account that the school he was attending mixed up his report card with another Robert Martinez, but upon a physical from the government he was turned down because of an issue with his blood. When asked what made him want to get into teaching, Martinez said he was not really sure, but accredits walking into a music store one day and being asked to teach a few basic classes as his foundation.

Martinez claimed he took the job at BC to help support and provide stability for his wife and newly born child, and also said Bakersfield’s reputation as a good place to raise a family was another reason he chose BC.

“I was fortunate to see this opportunity at Bakersfield college, so I applied and they accepted my application. My first 17 years I was the director of instrumental music, I did the marching band, the pep band, the jazz ensemble,” he said. Martinez said he was extremely happy to be able to re-establish the marching band, something that been dropped for years before his arrival.

“I reestablished the orchestra, it had been dropped for a number of years,” he said. When asked if he believes students connect with him more than an average teacher because of the course and material he teaches, Martinez said he definitely believes it has an impact.

“I get students that walk into my office and say, ‘thank you, you turned a D student into an A student,’” he said. It is moments like that, Martinez claimed, that makes the job enjoyable. Martinez said he is really happy teaching his current courses, and plans to stay at BC for as long as possible.