b. Carlos Daniel Ayala, 4 March 1950, USA. The dramatic life of Ayala has taken in cult stardom in Los Angeles, alcoholism, homelessness, and an unexpected return to recording in the new millennium. He started out in the late 70s as lead guitarist with Top Jimmy And The Rhythm Pigs, a raucous LA bar band who carved out near mythical status on the city’s music scene during a tumultuous career. The band, whose wild party lifestyle was a large part of their attraction, eventually fell apart in 1987 in a mess of drink and drugs. The recently divorced Guitarlos struggled through the rest of the decade, moving to San Francisco where he supported himself working as a street musician. By the start of the 90s his health was failing, and in March 1990 he went into a diabetic coma that he was lucky to survive. Guitarlos continued to earn a living on the streets but his refusal to temper his hard-drinking lifestyle meant his health was in terminal decline, and in 2001 he underwent surgery to correct congestive heart failure. The death of his former Top Jimmy And The Rhythm Pigs colleague James Koncek the same year prompted a major life change, with Guitarlos finally kicking the demon alcohol and releasing his debut album, Mission Blues. His nephew and manager Damon Ayala then funded the recording of a follow-up album and helped attract musical backing from artists including John Doe, Dave Alvin and Mike Watt. Straight From The Heart, a mixed bag of R&B, blues, country and rockabilly inspired originals, was released late in 2003.