Candelas Guitars in Boyle Heights fights to survive, with some famous friends’ help
A day after its first successful run, the original owner of the Boyle Heights Cannabalero guitar store, who has known the guitarist for decades, sat in the store’s first-floor manager’s office, reminiscing on the day some 30 years ago.
On the original album cover, the owner, a woman named Maria, is wearing a red wig and a tight-fitting outfit, with long, blond hair.
An old photo of the musician, dressed casually, and with a bandage over his right eye, is tacked to the wall in a corner of the store.
“One day I went to see him,” Maria, 55, said. “His girlfriend asked to use my piano because it sounded so nice. She was the first in my life who played this music.”
Now, 20 years after the album’s release, Maria is the store’s manager, and a few months ago, she found out that the store was scheduled to close.
To make ends meet, Maria was already spending $150 per month to pay the property tax on the store, which is now a total loss.
She needed money to pay for the rent on her home, which she had for 11 years. Without a guitar store, she is worried she will have to move to another part of the city, or her family will have to move.
Before the store closed, Maria was also hoping that her first-call guitar player, Danny Hernandez, would buy the store. He was a customer for 22 years, she said.
On a recent Saturday night, six people stood on the sidewalk outside, waiting to give a guitar lesson.
For all the years that Maria helped the musician, she said, she never knew he was coming back to Boyle Heights.
“Now I know he’s coming back,” she said. “To my shame, you can’t stop a time like this.”
Before he died of lung cancer in 2003, Hernandez had worked for more than two decades making CDs and concert DVDs, earning a reputation as the go-to guy for the most popular artists in the rock and roll world.
He was the first to bring in bands such as Journey, AC/DC and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and more recently, the Eagles, Green Day and the Foo Fighters, he said.