I remember the first time I heard about Luis Rodriguez;
it was 1993 and I was reading Lowrider
Magazine. In between the pages of vintage bombs, girls and ads for rims, there was a feature on Luis and his book, Always Running
. In the article he spoke about his past as a gang member and how writing had changed his life. He also mentioned that his teenage son, who was starting to get into trouble himself, was the reason for writing the book. It made me want to read Always Running,
so I went around to a few bookstores in my neighborhood but no one carried it. Soon I lost the drive to find the elusive book and forgot all about it. I guess it wasn’t my time to read it.
Fast forward to 1995. I wanted to get the hell out of Los Angeles. I felt isolated. I had no sense of community or belonging so I got a job selling t-shirts for the band Nik Turner’s Space Ritual.
Nik was a founding member of Hawkwind,
the influential space-rock group. The band had several other ex-Hawkwind members but due to legal reasons they could not use the name Hawkwind. There were fifteen of us touring in an old school bus with no air conditioning. It was the middle of summer during a horrendous heat wave. At every stop the thick heat and humidity followed. After a while I didn’t know what it felt like to be dry. I've never sweated so much in my life! Most of the shows on the tour were complete caves. The shows were booked in thousand capacity venues with only thirty people in attendance. The former members of Hawkwind, who once played in front of festival size audiences, never once complained about the ill-attended shows or the extreme heat. Every night the over fifty-year old space rockers gave it their all. It was inspiring to say the least, to see these older men bring it every night.