an artists' assistance fund for san diego, california

who was hotrod harris?

This article from the San Diego Troubadour is an awesome tribute to HotRod.

remembrances from his friends

Hot Rod was such a huge supporter and friend of local music, and of me. Back when I was producing Neilfest downtown at the old Dizzy's he would always buy a block of tickets for his family and friends. Nobody else did that. It's nice when a guy sends you a big check and says, "Rope of the first couple of rows for me." You were a true artist and a big generous heart. Love.
- Peter Bolland

I would have never gotten this far if it weren't for the awesome community of the open mic scene in San Diego to get me started. Especially what Hot Rod established at the Hot Java Cafe. Thanks HotRod and all my buddies here who listened to me get my music legs.
- AJ Peacox

Rod was one of the best huggers ever! He always hugged ya hard, then flashed that smile of his and asked how you were doing; and he was genuinely asking. So charming and so genuine.
- Marcia Claire

Hot Rod hosted Hot Java Cafe and it was the first venue I played after putting the guitar down for almost 25 years. He was a warm and welcoming soul. After HJC closed down I looked around Poway for anything close to home - but without success. He was an inspiration.
- Jeff Bertino

Hot Rod is one of those people who was not only talented, but provided a safe place for musicians like myself to create, and grow. His heart and passion for life love family (namely you girls) and music inspired me to be better.
- Sam Bybee


Rodney Lou Harris of Poway passed away peacefully on Saturday, January 5, 2013. He was born and raised in Martinsville, Virginia, and spent four years in the Navy after graduating from high school. There he found a great love, playing guitar -- a talent that brightened his life and many lives around him. He was a gifted musician and folk singer who composed and recorded his own songs. He was known to his friends as "Hot Rod."

As a young man he became a carpenter, then through much hard work earned the position of president of a contracting company. Once he retired he became an integral part of the acoustic music scene in San Diego. He was the host of the open mike at Hot Java Cafe for several years, encouraging all budding musicians to follow their dreams. He produced events for many coffee shops around town and performed frequently. He was known for his welcoming personality and the smile he always had on his face. Everyone in his company felt loved and supported.

photo credit to David Matt Green

He will be remembered for many things, but mostly for being a loving and supportive father to his children, teaching them to be kindhearted and independent, and to appreciate the beauty around us. He spent many afternoons gazing onto the hillsides behind his Poway home.

He leaves behind his four beloved children: John, Josh, Jaime and Jasmin; and cherished grandchildren Laurel Leigh Fleming and Aila Lynn Fleming. He will be missed terribly but will carry on in our hearts forever.