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Keeping the Beat: Blind drummer overcomes the odds to play his music

Posted at 7:41 AM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 10:41:25-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The rhythm of the music is everything Anthony Rodriguez needs to do job as the drummer of local band 3 Red Flags to keep the beat, he really has to feel it because he can’t see it.

“I just listened for what they told me to listen for, little feels and pieces of it,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez has spent his life since the age of two completely blind. Being accustom to using sound and touch to figure things out, it’s no surprise he found his place behind a drum set.

“I had a few lessons, one of my old instructors, he taught us how to use the cane to walk the streets, he taught me a bit and my uncle. And then everything else was basically self taught,” he said.

Whether he’s behind his kit, playing with his bandmates Mary and Philip, or even coaching football at Bakersfield High School, he says he’s in him element.

“That’s like that for me with everything, when I get out to coach kids in football it’s the same thing, I feel like it’s me, I’m coaching these kids,” he said “It’s like that when I used to run track and field. So it’s like, I feel like myself.”

Frontman Philip Williams has been in the local music scene for around 30 years, but he says his perception of music and everything changed when he met Rodriguez.

“You’re really going to find the best listener,” Williams said. “I always [ask] Anthony, ‘Do you every get tired of listening to everyone’s problems?’ and he goes, ‘No, I want to hear, I want to know.’ That’s how he connects with people and he talks to everybody.”

He says it’s people like Rodriguez who’ve kept him loving music for so long.

“You’ve got to find people that are all about the music. What I love about being in a band with Anthony and Mary is they’re both so beloved, even when I’m singing all the attention is on them," Williams said.

If you’d like to catch a live show with 3 Red Flags, they will be performing on April 22 at Jerry’s Pizza.