Seth Mallios studies the Rock 'n' Roll mural (a.k.a., Backdoor Mural) in its original location in the former Aztec Center.

Seth Mallios studies the Rock ‘n’ Roll mural (a.k.a., Backdoor Mural) in its original location in the former Aztec Center.

It’s been seen by Jimmy Buffet, Patti Smith, REM, and the Talking Heads. Eventually, you’ll be able to see it, too, once the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mural has been restored and relocated to the San Diego State University Library.

Fundraising is underway to restore the 9’ x 14’ mural, which was painted in 1976 by students in the Chicano Art class and features a rock band composed of stylized Aztec warriors. The mural was located in an unfrequented hallway near the rear stage entrance to the Backdoor, a once popular concert venue in the former Aztec Center. While the mural wasn’t visible to concertgoers, musicians passed by it when they walked to the stage.

Seth Mallios, chairman of SDSU’s anthropology department, became concerned about the mural when the plans to demolish Aztec Center didn’t include saving the mural. He raised the necessary $15,000 to have the mural removed from the wall and stored. Now the San Diego State University Library is trying to raising the remaining funds needed to complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll mural’s restoration and have it relocated to the library.

In conjunction with the mural project, the library is sponsoring a music-themed writing contest this year. In 500 words or less, you can share your favorite music memory, whether it was a rock concert, festival or band practice. The deadline for the contest is February 3, and the winners will be announced and prizes awarded at an event at the library on February 14. More information about the event and an online entry form can be found at Entries will also be accepted by mail at Great Music, SDSU Library, 5500 Campanile Drive, San Diego, CA 92182-8050.

To raise awareness of and interest in the mural, the library is presenting a Valentine’s Day event called “Saving the Murals and Lovin’ the Music.” The evening begins at 7:30 in Love Library Room 108 with a free dessert reception, followed by a lecture by Seth Mallios titled “The Legendary Yet Unknown History of Rock ‘n’ Roll at San Diego State.” Winners of the writing contest will be announced during the event. Information and images of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Mural, as well as other murals the library hopes to preserve, will also be available at the event.

More information:

Writing Contest Entry Form
Saving the Murals Valentine’s Day Event
Seth Mallios’ list of the “20 Most Important Rock ‘n’ Roll Concerts at San Diego State”
SDSU Library’s efforts to save the Rock ‘n’ Roll (Backdoor) Mural