Oral History -
Cesar Rosas was born in Hermosillo, Mexico, in the state of Sonora, and was greatly influenced by the music he heard as a child growing up. He was exposed to traditional Mexican music and instruments, and continued to play the music of his heritage even after moving to East Los Angeles as a teenager.
This audio only interview was conducted for a radio program by Dan Del Fiorentino and donated to the NAMM Oral History program: Jac Winroth was born with a handicap that his mother insisted would never limit her son. She often played the piano for young Jac, which served as a great inspiration for him.
Matt Guzzetta loves to design things. He designed a motorcycle that won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for a coast to coast ride on only one tank of gas. As it turned out, one of his car shops was next door to the American Dream guitar shop where Bob Taylor and Greg Deering (among others) were building musical instruments.
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.