Alum Jake Rodriguez: Crazy Ideas Going Crazy

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

BAY CITY BEACON (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Seeing him bent over his array of synthesizers and analog electronics, it’s hard to remember that this all came out of the hobby of an aspiring stage actor.

“I quit school because it was kind of a bother,” Rodriguez recalled. Originally from Los Angeles, the San Francisco State theatre major spent more of his time doing amateur theatre outside of school, and eventually sneaking into forward-thinking jazz concerts, until his hobbies became his full-time pursuit.

“The Hotel Utah used to have a running showcase on Tuesday nights called the Dark Circle Lounge,” he recalls. “Since I was under 21, I used to come out early, like before six o’clock, and just hide in the back before they carded anyone. Then I’d take the night owl bus all the way back to the SFSU dorms; it took almost two hours.”

Now a professional audio engineer, Rodriguez describes the most amateur entrance imaginable into the music business. His first band, a free-jazz quartet he dubbed Topple, featured three traditional instruments, but he performed with broken microphones, “toys” and “weird noises.”