"I like excitement and cheap thrills," R&B/soul guitarist Johnny "Cobra" Romero once said. "I'm an adventurous person. I see myself as if I came right out of a comic book. I'm not a materialistic greedy person. I like helping people in trouble. That makes me feel good inside. As long as I see a smile that's good enough for me. In return, I feel that I did my job as a self-made superhero."
Romero was raised in National City. "After I graduated the sixth grade in 1961, I began to learn guitar with a cousin who was related to Rosie [Flores, of Rosie & the Originals], who sang 'Angel Baby.' My guitar hero was Ritchie Valens. He was my motivational energy, and I hoped that someday I could become a rock and roll star just like him."
He entered the music business while still in high school in the mid-1960s, doing local session work with June Jackson. "He once wrote a song called 'Oh My Angel' for Bertha Tillmen. At the age of 15, I became Mr. Jackson's studio musician at Crescent Records in San Diego." Romero also performed around town with the Majestics.
"As I got older, I finally realized that my guitar was a magnet to meet beautiful girls. I had fun playing with top musicians all over San Diego and in Hollywood." Romero later formed his own ensemble, the Tijuana Surfers, fronting the band up until he passed away in July 2016.