Tune in during the 7 o’clock hour tonight for an original 45-minute piece on the Detroit cult-icon who is playing his first ever show in Seattle, Tuesday 6/23 @ The Triple Door before touring the remainder of the West Coast. The feature includes an exclusive interview with Rodriguez and the man who tracked him down in the late 90s, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Seegerman.
I’ve been calling this The Story Of The Year ever since local Seattle label Light In The Attic re-issued Cold Fact, Rodriguez’s debut record from 1969. You’ve heard songs from this album on KEXP for some time now, and it’s one of those lost records you can’t believe you’ve never heard. It’s a solid collection of songs.
But it’s the story that continues to blow my mind!
Imagine you made a couple of records that went nowhere, the label goes belly-up, and you forget the whole thing and go back to working construction in inner Detroit (well, try to imagine). Then 28 years later, you find out that in South Africa (and Australia) you’ve been huge ever since Cold Fact came out. Like HUGE. And that everyone there thought you were dead. And you’re nearly cult status everywhere else, including the American underground. Then, when some good-hearted souls fly you from your construction site in Detroit to South Africa, instead of playing for a handful of “third-world disgruntles,” you find yourself in front of 5,000 screaming fans, freakin’ out (cuz they thought you were dead) AND they’re singing your songs back to you!
If you can imagine, that’s the story of Rodriguez.
Now, thanks to the good work of Matt Sullivan and Light In The Attic, American audiences are hip to the music of Rodriguez, who at age 69, is not saying “I Told Ya So,” but he’s feeling it.
A cross between Donovan, Jose Feliciano, and Dylan, Rodriguez is a product of the 60s. His timeless vocal style has a sense of immediacy and familiarity. His lyrics are noted for their audacity and modern-day relevance. Proud to be a family man, a working man, and an educated man, Rodriguez’s point of view and points of fact, haven’t changed much since he wrote songs like “This Is Not A Song, It’s An Outburst,” “Inner City Blues,” and “Sugarman.”
The dude is still a trip!
Listen to the whole story tonight and hear the songs in this special Roadhouse feature. It should go live around 7:15pm. Then it’s available through the KEXP web-site for 2 weeks after (June 30th). Go to our Streaming Archive, then select the date & time.