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Guitar Hero

Last April, former Phoenix cop George Contreras resigned from the force and opened a guitar shop in South Phoenix. Why give up a cushy city gig? “It’s cooler in here and I’m not getting shot at. At least, not yet,” he quips. These days, Contreras sports a cool Corvette, a rock band, and a dozen personalized pics of celebrities like Alice Cooper and KISS. Not too shabby.

Check out SoPo’s finest (guitar shop) at the Raptor Guitars One-Year Anniversary Party. The free event will feature gratis pizza, raffle prizes, and live music on a tiered stage in the store’s parking lot. Raptor’s made such inroads into the Valley’s music consciousness that Contreras was overwhelmed by grateful local bands begging to play. He signed up 12 in a hurry — including Abraham Drinkin’, Dinonicus, and Reign Down — and was forced to turn away the rest.

So how does he know his picks won’t turn out to be guitar zeroes? It’s a crapshoot. “They all have MySpace pages, but I haven’t sat and listened to them,” he admits. “I probably should have, but I wanted to be surprised.”

Sat., June 28, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., 2008


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