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Johnny was the second son born to Pepe and Alicia Gamboa.  Pepe was an accomplished comedian but opted to dedicate his entire efforts to music.  He created a design for a very unique Three Neck Guitar and had his very good friend Candelas (maker of fine musical instruments in Los Angeles California) build it for him. The guitar featured the standard Spanish guitar, the Lequinto and the Trescillo, a six-string guitar that has its roots in Cuba.

Billed as a guitarist extraordinaire, he got the attention of Capital Records in Hollywood and began to record with many artists. Lex Baxter contacted Pepe and proposed that he compose compositions and arrangements for a new album called ‘Wild Guitars’ .

Mongo Santa Maria, renowned drummer and percussionist, asked Pepe to record with probably the best percussionists in the world in an album simply called, ‘Mongo’, for Fantasy Records.The three neck guitar was featured but the emphasis was on the Trescillo.

The same guitar got the attention of Desi Arnaz, ‘I Love Lucy fame’. Being of Cuban decent, Desi loved the tresillio and contracted Pepe to appear on various variety shows and made several appearances on the Desilu production of the ‘Mothers and Laws’ sitcom.

The list of artists that Pepe performed with or on the same stage is countless.  His own words, ‘ I got to meet some phenomenal musicians and actors’.  He had a walk-in part in the movie ‘The Big Wheel’, starring Mickey Rooney.  He met Bella Lagosi, Ricardo Montalban, Danny Kaye, and Pedro Armendariz just to name a few. The musical talents of Pepe Gamboa were all applauded by the proponents of Latin American rhythms such as Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Tito Rivera, Machito, and Joe Loco .

For the balance of Pepe’s life he loved performing with his big band, and most of all, he loved performing with his son Johnny Gamboa.

 At the age of four, Johnny was already singing and playing a variety of percussion instruments. By twelve he was playing guitar and singing the songs of the time. In his first year of high school, he formed his own band naming it ‘Johnny and the Crowns’. In his senior year he was backing up the likes of ‘Little Richard’, ‘Cathy Young’,’ Ron  Holden’, ‘The Olympics’, and ‘Marvin and Johnny’.

Ron Barrett and Jack Nitzsche recorded Johnny’s first single on ‘Star Revue Records.Why Lover’, is still a collector’s item not only in the United States but is hunted down by music lovers all over Europe.
Johnny’s next recording contract was with Epic Records. Santana, Blood Sweat and TearsBoz Scaggs were all signed at about the same time. Johnny had a regional mid-west hit and was thrilled to open the Indiana State Fair for Bob Hope and Johnny Cash. A short stint with Bob Crosby and the Bob Cats was a learning experience.  Don Ho recognized Johnny’s many musical talents and asked him to join the Alias while Joe, his vibe player took his vacation.

As time passed, Johnny could sit down with a musical instrument and in a very short time begin to play it.  Vibes, drums, conga drums, bass fiddle, bass guitar, guitar, banjo, piano, organ, harmonica, cello, violin mandolin, tresillo, timpani, trombone, trumpet, timbales, french horn and accordion are a few that he has played on stage or in the recording studio. Although he enjoyed playing a variety of musical instruments, his first love is still singing.

While on tour Johnny has met Robert Goulet, Johnny Mathis, Clem Mathis, Billy Preston, Liberace, Homer and Jethro, Trinni Lopez, Danny Thomas, Tony Bennett and Bobbie Gentry. He has traveled all over the world performing and as he states, ‘learning about life itself’.

Johnny is an FAA Licensed Pilot with over 2500 hours of flight time.  He is also a California State Licensed Firearms Instructor. He is a current Red Cross First Aid / CPR / AED Instructor.  He holds a master certificate as a Crisis Prevention Institute Instructor.