Sandollar, together for two years, is a five-piece “beach rock” band that plays original reggae/jam music. Drummer Henry Ortiz works by day at a Trader Joe’s and as a Spanish interpreter. At a house party near his Carlsbad home on June 6.…
“We had been drinking most of the day,” says Ortiz. “A friend of mine invited me over to her house.… We started drinking [tequila] shots.… You know how you get those weird feelings when you’re at a place and you feel like you don’t need to be there? It’s like you have a sixth sense for caution. I just felt weird and like I had to leave right then.”
Ortiz says a few skaters and musicians were at the house party.
“I didn’t know who they were. Once I got that feeling, I had to leave. There was a crowd in the hallway blocking the door.… As I tried to leave, there was this guy who said, ‘Dude, you’re not leaving.’ He started grabbing me and holding me back. I automatically grabbed him by his shirt and told him that I just needed to get outside. He was still hanging on me. I pushed him against the wall. I said, ‘I don’t want to fight. I just want to get outside.’… I felt like I was having a panic attack.”
Ortiz says the situation degenerated into “…drunken confusion. I tripped over people, and I fell face-first into the china cabinet.… I sliced my jugular, the right half of my vocal cords, my aorta, and one piece [of glass] went right through my neck, into my spine. Everything went silent after that. Everything was on pause like in a movie.”
He says the paramedics who live across the street saved his life. After blood transfusions, two operations, and ten days at Scripps La Jolla (seven in ICU), Ortiz was released.
“The doctors said I was not supposed to be alive. They had to completely immobilize me to check my spine. There were two throat surgeons who put me back together. It was like putting together a puzzle. But they said the way I was cut was perfect [for healing].”
Sandollar canceled one advertised show (at the 710 Beach Club) due to the lack of their drummer. The band’s next show is a July 26 house party.