I just retired officially. My Social Security check is meager and the following resume might help it grow.
I was born David Anthony Rao in 1949..son of Ida and Frank Rao. Our home was within a three wood to the spanking new Greater Pittsburgh Airport on Beers School Road.
I attended Moon Township schools until high school. I entered the 10th grade at Coraopolis. We moved from our county home once we were surrounded by gas stations and burger joints. I was a faithful alter boy for my next door neighbor priest, Father Leo Beck. I served my Sunday mass on the stage of the Airport Theater..for the workers. I was being groomed to follow my brother Paul into the seminary.
At Cory high, I played football and golf. I was the captain of both. Foge Fazio was my coach..RIP. Most importantly, I was crowned Prince of the Prom in '66..King in '67.
Attended Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, Pa. for two years before transferring to San Diego State. Completed three more years of pre-law before leaving without a degree. The draft called, but my football injuries saved me from serving in southeast Asia.
Remained in San Diego for my first real job. The American Dream was a guitar building collective started by the Radding Brothers; Sam and Gene . Electric Sam moved it to a larger location in Lemon Grove and recruited more builders...Greg Deering , Kurt Listug and Bob Taylor . Gene and I remained with the College Avenue storefront. There I learned to build dulcimers, guitars and concentrated on repairs and restorations.
As the 70's arrived, we were over a dozen. The other eleven were builders and didn't care to become involved with repair work. Repair became my niche.
Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug bought out the American Dream and have done the American Dream in spades. In 1974, I returned to the Amercian Dream storefront with Gene.
Gene soon left the shop and another builder..Bob "Moze" Mossay became my new partner. Moze just built and I just repaired. The guitar market was booming.
In 1977 I moved to Chicago to live with my sister, Roberta, and John Powers. John, a former Pittsburgh Steeler, was dying. I stayed for a year.
I came back to Moze Guitars and plenty of work. Paul Rothchild, producer of the Doors, had just formed a high line guitar company. Rothchild Musical Instruments distributed the cream of the guitar world. Alembic, Augustino, Travis Bean, Larrivee, and Taylor .
I had answered a want ad in Guitar Player magazine while in Chicago. Paul was looking for a Midwest sales representative. While visiting Taylor, Paul and Bob were discussing the departed West Coast rep and who might replace him. Paul mentioned my name and said I disappeared. Bob replied, "he was just here a few hours ago".
Paul and I had lunch and I began traveling the roads from San Diego to British Columbia in a Volkswagen Bus loaded with a gold mine of guitars. It was a short trip. Paul gave up the dream and suggested I move north to San Francisco to help Rick Turner at Alembic .
The day I arrived, Rick was fired...even though his 49% of stock made him president of the company. I remained and worked the set up room with Larry Robinson. We also built some customs. Bob Morris lived close by. He was an old American Dreamer, working for Stephen Stills . He enticed me to visit LA to appraise Stephen's collection and do a few repairs.
Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys recruited me to do their firsts nationwide tour with Brother Brian . After the last show, I called Stills' house for Bob Morris. Stills answered and after some talk, demanded I come back to work for him.
After four years working with CSN as traffic control. I delegated as much as possible to free my days for golf. Nash introduced me to Count Hilary Yogi, the obscure trick shot golfer . A short clip of the Count.... We attempted a comeback that never materialized. As CSN prepared to tour in support of the Daylight Again album, I was accidentally injured. I had to cancel. I traveled to Pennsylvania to visit family and found my wife. Married at 38 and left Hollywood behind.
To prepare for the arrival of our first child, we moved to the mountains of West Virginia when Ben was a year old. Luke came soon after.
For five years I worked at Appalachian Mental Health Center's Group Home managing behaviors of aggressive clients. Another injury occurred as I was tossed like a ragdoll into a wall. Five years of long term disability payments allowed me to become politically active. I drew editorial cartoons for the Elkins Intermountain for a few years until I was censored. I ran for Mayor of Elkins and hold the record for the least amount of votes in a citywide election. Two.
During the mid 90's, I opened "Spruce Guitars" with Richard Stutler. We folded within six months.
In 2000, I was a candidate for the West Virginia State Senate. I ran in the Democratic Primary against Senator Mike Ross. I garnered 25% in eight counties without spending a dime.
For five years I worked for the Civic Development Group telemarketing. I raised funds for the Texas State Fraternal Order of Police. I was a top called, never taking no for an answer. Civic closed down after pressure from the FTC.