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The Heart of a DJ

by Ruth Ann Ruiz
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By Ruth Ann Ruiz

The Post Newspaper Features Editor

DJ Roland Martinez was with his brother at a doctor’s appointment when the doctor declared his brother’s only hope of survival was a new kidney. Roland listened as the doctor explained how the waiting list worked and jumped in with, “Well what about me, why can’t I donate my kidney?”

Blood tests proved he was a compatible donor. Six years later, his loving sacrifice not only saved his brother’s life but gave him a brother to keep loving and enjoying here on earth. The Martinez brothers had lost their parents in the early 2000’s and their other siblings had also passed on. 

Martinez keeps his parents close to his heart. He built a lifetime of sharing music with the entire state of Texas based on his parents’ love of music and dancing. Some of his fondest memories of his parents evolved into his passion and livelihood. 

“My parents used to go to dances at the Moody Center and Seahorse Motel when I was little. I remember my dad would pick me up and place me on his shoulder while they were dancing,” shared Martinez.

Roland started spinning records and managing 8-tracks as his first DJ gigs when he was a teenager helping out for local quinceaneras. 

That wasn’t going to get him very far, but it did get him started and it was about ten years later he purchased his first professional DJ equipment and has been keeping the music playing for 35 years. 

He takes on all kinds of gigs and can provide music from just about every style from the beginning of recorded music. Though he can DJ lots of music styles, Tejano music is closest to his heart. 

Since starting his career, he has crisscrossed the state of Texas as a DJ and has even spun tunes aboard cruise ships leaving from Texas ports. 

When there’s a party and the live music stops (if you don’t keep the music going, Texans are going to go find another party), that’s when the talents of Roland Martinez are integrated with the talents of live musicians. Some of the notable artists who he has worked with include Selena in 1991 at the Moody Center.

Roland can recount every celebrity Latin artist who has ever visited Galveston during his lifetime and if he wasn’t DJ’ing for them, he was hanging out having a good time with them. It wasn’t just the Latin musicians who were drawn to his pure party vibe; he also hung out with visiting athletes such as Ben Davidson of the Oakland Raiders. 

Though he loves reminiscing about the famous people whose lives have crossed his path, he remains true to his roots as a man born and raised in Galveston and shares his good time feelings with anyone who recognizes him or whom he recognizes. 

While sitting in El Nopalito on 42nd Street in Galveston, people waved and said hello. Roland returned their greetings with recognition for each individual. 

Angela Venters, a fellow classmate of the Ball High School class of 1983, sat and chatted with Roland about their upcoming class reunion. Roger Quiroga, former Mayor of Galveston stopped by to look at the awards Roland had received. 

Texas State Legislator Drew Darby of District 72 awarded Martinez with a certificate and a flag that once flew over the state capital. He also won a spot in the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame Museum in 2022. Just recently, he was voted best DJ on Galveston.com

Though he has made a lifetime of being in the public and engaging people in a festive manner, Martinez has a quiet and reserved personality. “I had mic fright when I first started as a DJ, my partner did all the talking,” shared Martinez. Since then, he has taken up speaking into a microphone and has kept the party hoping. 

His rise to fame all started when his parents purchased the restaurant on 42nd Street. 

He was in 8th grade, and it was all hands-on deck in the family business. He had thought he would own the restaurant one day, but when his parents passed, they were too far behind on taxes, and he couldn’t come up with enough to pay down what they owed. 

However, the restaurant is still operating with customers coming in for home cooked Mexican food and Roland is good friends with the current owners.

Martinez has lived his life in Galveston; he has four children and 10 grandchildren, all of whom are Texans. Currently along with his DJ business, he is operating an internet radio station called puroparty.com. “We play a lot of Tejano music, and some old school,” shared Martinez.

Next step for Roland Martinez is getting married to a woman who has managed to grab his heart and hold on for the ride (They met while he was a DJ on a cruise). The wedding will be in Texas City and for now the DJ has not been selected, but Roland is pretty sure it won’t be him. 

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