Oral History -

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Dennis James recalls with a smile the day he visited Colton Piano as a teenager. He later worked for Colton founder, Vern Schaffer, getting the experience and training for the career he had dreamed of--opening his own piano and organ retail store. That dream was realized in northern San Diego County in 1992 when he opened The Piano Warehouse. The store grew as the surrounding cities, such as San Marcos and Vista, continued to grow. A new building was completed in 2004 in the lot next to his first location.

Grover Jackson grew up outside of Nashville, TN and developed a strong and lasting passion for music, not just playing it in noted bands, but in designing instruments to achieve creative sounds. His powerful playing and early involvement in heavy rock music led to requests from noted players for Grover to make them guitars. His style included thin bodies and progressive colors and images – and the instruments came along just when MTV was born and metal bands almost always played a Jackson-Charvel guitar.

Dale Hyatt was hired by Leo Fender while the iconic guitar builder was still a radio repairman in Fullerton, CA. The year was 1948. Dale recalled all of the major landmarks that helped establish the development of the Stratocaster and the birth of rock and roll. Dale remained with Leo as he established The Music Man and with Fender when it was sold to CBS Musical Instruments.

Joe Hume was a veteran school band director before he opened Hume Music located in Kansas. His love of school bands continued as a retailer and as such he established new bands and expanded several other smaller school bands. Joe saw the importance of being a strong supporter of the school band directors and participating in as many programs and events as possible.

Richard Myrland was a wizard, just as his name suggested! As a product designer for Wurlitzer, Dick created the famed 1050 juke box. With his devotion to the “Wurlitzer Way” credo, he, as much as anyone at the Wurlitzer Company, cultivated the warm sense of family within the company and along the way (1953-1981) became one of the company’s best loved employees.

Scotty Moore set a date and time on July 4, 1954, to get together with a young singer who wanted to record with Sam Philips at Sun Records in Memphis. Sam asked Scotty, who had recorded with several bands on Sun, to call this kid and work out a few songs. This was his first meeting with Elvis Presley.

Tommy Moore was introduced to the music industry by his father, Woods Moore, who operated Alt’s Music store in Forth Worth, TX. After earning a degree in finance, Tommy returned to the store upon his father’s request to investigate other aspects of the music industry that might interest him. Tommy saw a need for rhythm instruments in the schools that could be made and sold inexpensively, so in 1959 he started The Rhythm Band Company.

Ruth Ann Melk recalled the days when her husband’s father would design specialized tools for the repair of musical instruments, which her husband, Phil Jr, soon developed into a full time job and career. She said he was delighted to quit his day job as milk man and devote his time and energy into something he loved.

Owen McPeek always wanted to play music, so he found several day jobs that allowed him to play music at night. He ran Rush’s Music on Alcoa Highway in Knoxville, Tennessee, for over a decade beginning in the late 1960s. The full line store pioneered in providing pro-audio gear to its customers.

William McNamara reported to Mr. Alfred LaMotte, a true legend in the music products industry when Bill was first hired by Thearle’s Music stores in San Diego in the 1930s. Mr. LaMotte was known for his clever sales campaigns and dedication to the growth of the industry.