Oral History -
Mark Guerrero has had a passion for music ever since he was a young boy growing up in East Los Angeles. His father was singer/songwriter Lalo Guerrero, who inspired a generation of Chicano musicians. Growing up, Mark was surrounded by a wide variety of music both in his home and in the community, and began playing the guitar at age 12.
Charlie Redden played guitar in bands when he was in school and always has had a passion for playing. After working for Amazon in the early days of that company's history, back when they only sold books and CDs, Charlie earned a degree in economics at San Diego State University and soon found an opportunity to work for Taylor Guitars.
Fred Bernardo was repairing and teaching guitar in his local music store when the idea came to him to open his own shop. In 1972, with one guitar and a set of strings he was given as a promotion, Fred opened for business. The store grew, and within a year, Fred began hiring a staff and sought to bring in new lines.
Slim Jim Phantom and his two school friends, Brian Setzer and Lee Rocker, formed the iconic band Stray Cats in New York back in 1979.
Tony Louscher saw Jimi Hendrix live at the San Diego Sports Arena in 1970, which became an inspirational event in forming his musical passion. Just a few years later, Tony began working at the American Dream guitar shop where he met Greg Deering, Bob Taylor and his lifelong friend Kurt Listug.
Chris Wellons was playing percussion in grade school, and about the same time, he took an interest in wood working. He was hired as a cabinet builder while still in school and continued in the field until he was made aware of a job at Taylor Guitars in 1992.
Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez is the long-time drummer for the rock band Oingo Boingo, playing on all of the band’s big hit songs including “Deadman’s Party” and “Just Another Day.” He played jazz drums for several years before the band was formed. Johnny has been involved with the NAMM community for decades and has been close with DW Drums and Sabian Cymbals.
Craig Doerge played keyboards in the famous group of Los Angeles based studio musicians known as The Section. The Section, which also included Leland Sklar, Russ Kunkel and Danny Kortchmar, recorded a string of hit records with artists such as James Taylor, David Crosby, Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt, as well as for television shows and movie soundtracks.
Chuck Davies is the founder of American DJ, which provides a long list of innovative products, many of which Chuck designed and engineered. He opened his own audio store in 1979 selling Hi-Fi equipment, which has since branched out to include six locations in Southern California.
John Avila was greatly influenced by the Ampex recorder his father owned and let John use. He recorded his friends and later his own bands on the two reels he had access to.