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Californian guitars, skateboarding and the sounds of the desert: Tommy Guerrero

I came across this short and sweet video by an California-based artist called Tommy Guerrero last week that takes you deep into the American west. The video features some beautiful cinematography by director Jeremy McNamara that captures the desert in a series of simple but beautiful moving images. The song itself is the soundtrack to the desert — warm, laid back but confident. It’s called “El Camino Negro.” Which translates to “the dark path” or “the black road.”

Tommy Guerrero – El Camino Negro

With a bit of research into Guerrero I found that “El Camino Negro” was the lead single of his album The Endless Road. As I dived deeper into Guerrero’s catalogue of music (I was listening to his 5th studio album) I read something very interesting about the songwriter. The name Tommy Guerrero sounded familiar when I came across that first single, but I figured it was just a because it was a relatively common name. Then I read a bio that listed him as a composer, guitarist, and…. professional skateboarder.

This was the same Tommy Guerrero I had idolized nearly thirty years ago. The Tommy Guerrero from Bones Brigade, and Thrasher Magazine, and Transworld. He was one of the skateboarding greats of the 80s and 90s along with some of my other heroes like Rodney Mullen or Tony Hawk.

My music research then took a turn down a skateboarding research hole where I found myself watching old skate videos of Tommy Guerrero tearing up the streets. I was in awe. How could one person be so talented in one direction — one of the best in the world — and then totally change careers to become as prolific in another?

Transworld Skate piece about Tommy Guerrero. I love the little song he sings in the car with his buddies around 08:55
A young Tommy Guerrero skating for Thrasher in the 80s

Skateboarding aside, Guerrero is a terrific muscian. I highly recommend heading over to the Tommy Guerrero Bandcamp page and spending a few coins on his albums. There are so many good ones. Perpetual, Road to Knowhere, Soul Food Taqueria…. you’re in for a treat with any one of them.

Oh! and he’s got a new single out just this summer called “Los Suenos de la Gente” which means “The dreams of the people” I think. Dope!