My earliest musical memory is that of playing "Lady of Spain" on the accordion at age 6 in a talent show competition. I came in 2nd to a full grown man playing "Love Me tender" on the bag pipes. The accordion lessons began to pay off in 1964 at the age of 11. Every Sunday night I would see another English band on the Ed Sullivan show and I realized that's what I wanted to do. The Animals, Zombies and Dave Clark Five all had organ players. And the organ kind of looked like an accordion laying down. So in 6th grade with Farfisa organ in hand we started our first band, "The Pebbles."
By age 14, a gentleman in the "Monkees" management offered us a chance to record our original music in a "real" New York City studio. We had the Shondells (of Tommy James fame) singing backup for us. It was awesome. We were on our way until our parents squashed the deal.
At 15, I was also fascinated by the Ventures and wanted to learn how to play guitar like them. From that day on guitars became my passion. Clapton, Hendrix, Beck, how did they all do what they did? I had to find out.
In 1972, I was offered a job here in Tucson at Mingus Guitars on 4th Ave. My job was to learn how to repair guitars. This was the start of my music store journey. I really loved restoring old instruments, but I was terribly slow at it. Making $30 a week with a wife and two kids was a little tight. So sometime in 1974 we drove up to Colorado Springs and I walked into a guitar store that had walls of vintage guitars. Mind you a pre-CBS Stratocaster was only 10 years old and was selling for just $275, but I knew that this is what I wanted to be doing. In August of 1975 with a bank loan of $7500.00, Kathleen and I opened Rainbow Guitars in a tiny 800 sq. ft building on Grant Road in Tucson. And there it was. We now had a wall of vintage Strats selling for a mere $275.00 each and vintage Les Paul gold tops for $600.00.
Over the years, the size of our store has changed incredibly and we've added thousands of products to our inventory, but everyday I still can find that same sense of excitement that music brings to everything.