Center Stage: Carlos Guitarlos, Santa Monica Mirror, July 9-15, 2003

Carlos Guitarlos at The Bigfoot Lodge, 7/16. During the heydey of the LA punk scene in the 80s, The Rhythm Pigs were notorious for raucous beer-soaked shows. You never knew who would show up to squeeze into the packed Cathay De Grande, including Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, members of X, The Blasters, and Van Halen. Carlos Guitarlos and Top Jimmy were front and center, and both have now vaulted into icon status. We’ve lost Top Jimmy (yes, the same one whom Van Halen wrote the song about), but we’ve still got Guitarlos, who recently survived not only the streets of San Francisco (as a street performer) but also a congestive heart failure. His new album “Straight From the Heart” (written from his hospital bed) features guests like Dave Alvin, Mike Watt and John Doe. He recently got an LA Council salute for being one of Los Angeles’ “homegrown treasures.”