Born in Tampico in 1950, Rodrigo Gonzalez was a street musician, singer, and songwriter known for playing a role in the Spanish rock movement. He often went by the name “Rockdrigo” or was sometimes referred to as “El Profeta del Nopal”, which translates to “The Nopal Prophet”.
Rodrigo was respected for his music as well as his beliefs. His lyrics often touched on the troubles of living life as a poor Mexican in an urban area. At the same time, he had several tender ballads that were widely popular as well.
In 1985, an earthquake destroyed the building that Rodrigo was currently residing in. He would die at the young age of 35. This early death helped to solidify his position as a legend of Spanish rock music. His music still has a following to this day.
Rodrigo had one daughter named Amandititita. She became a famous singer and songwriter in Columbia. She also helped commission a statue of Rodrigo that was erected at the Metro Balderas Station.
The Early Years Of Rockdrigo
At the age of 18, Rodrigo would leave Tampico to attend university and study psychology. His goal was to gain a better understanding of his own psychology as well as that of his nation’s people. However, he would eventually drop out of the University as a form of protest against the Freudians that dominated Mexican academics.
After leaving college he would continue to study psychology with the indigenous people of Huastaca. Their people often implemented a controversial treatment known as “mushroom therapy”. Rodrigo stated that these intense therapy sessions helped him better understand the Mexican psyche, which contributed greatly to the creation of his music.
His music career began after moving to Mexico City in 1977. Rodrigo labeled himself as a Chilango and made a living by playing at cafes and bars. His first performances were often covers of more well-known songs. He would sing them “in the English style” to small crowds. However, his education and his experiences on the streets helped him to develop his own unique style over time.
Shaping The History Of Mexican Rock
Rodrigo may be considered a street musician, but he played a significant role in shaping Spanish rock history as well as influencing the political landscape at the time. During the 1980’s he formed a group known as “The League of Wandering Musicians and Prehistoric Singers”. The group was often referred to as Movimiento Rupestre.
Several notable musicians were involved in the movement, such as Jaime Lopez and Rafael Catana. Their group played primarily folk music with a strong American influence. The subject matter touched on social conditions and strife at the time, but without enforcing strong political opinions. They were also known for their frequent use of street slang. The music of the movement would have a huge influence on Mexican rock and roll for the next ten years.
Rodrigo was referred to as the Bob Dylan of Mexican rock music, but with a sense of humor. Many experts and critics held him in high regard, despite the fact that he never recorded a studio album, never toured in any country, and was never signed by a record label. He managed to become such a strong influence on Mexican rock music while still maintaining the mantle of “street musician”.
Several films have been released that feature videos of Rodrigo recorded at one of his shows. There are also four albums released that contain recordings of his shows. Hurbanistorias was his own self-made record that he released in 1983. The other three records were all produced after his death in 1985.