Thursday, July 27, 2017

Danny Romero- Life & Near Death on Route 66


Route 66- that famed stretch of highway where you can get your kicks all the way from Chicago to LA if you believe the song.

For Arizona native and local musician Danny Romero, his life began and nearly ended on that historic blacktop.

His parents met in Bullhead City, AZ when his father, a young So Cal transplant, met a local girl along the Colorado River. The young couple’s family grew in 1975 when Danny was born with his sister Michelle coming along just one year later.

“There wasn’t a hospital in Bullhead, so my mom and dad had to drive across the desert to Kingman and I was born literally on Route 66.”

The famed highway would play another significant role in his life a few decades later when, while working cattle along the highway, Danny suffered a leg injury that at the time didn’t seem too serious. But just 72 hours short later had Danny was fighting for his life in a Flagstaff hospital bed.

“I always loved the cowboy life,” Romero says, having been introduced to the Hollywood version by his dad through Clint Eastwood movies of the 60’s and 70’s.

His mother and father split up when Romero was 11, he and Michelle staying in Bullhead while his dad embarked on other adventures before landing in Phoenix, AZ.

“I lived with mom in Bullhead, but would travel to Southern California with my aunts, uncles, and cousins quite a bit,” said Romero. “When my dad moved to Phoenix I went to live with him for a while when I was in high school, so I got a good mix of really small town Mohave County, the So Cal rock and punk scene of the 80’s, and the southwest influences in Phoenix. It was a real good mix of culture that has worked its way into my songwriting and playing style.”

It was that mix of cultures that moved the then electrician to take up riding the range in the mid 2000’s.

“I had moved to Chino Valley and started my electrician contracting business, but when the economy tanked work just dried up,” said Romero. “Everyone I knew, all the guys I was hanging out with and going out drinking with in Chino Valley were cowboys and they introduced me to the life that I had only known through the movies.”

Following his mother’s death and his business struggling, Romero felt the need for a change. That was pushed forward when his best friend and local cowboy Bryce Hefner died in a car crash in 2010.

“I got to the point I just didn’t care anymore, I needed a change and decided to start running cattle full time,” said Romero. He found himself riding the range in Seligman, AZ on a ranch bordering Route 66.

“We had 1,500 head coming in and I was working the catwalk,” recalls Romero. “I banged my knee against the railing; hit it pretty hard, broke the skin, but it didn’t seem too bad. The next day I woke up with a little bit of pain in my knee joint, but by the end of the day I could even get in the saddle because the pain was too much.”

Romero sat out the rest of the day, lying in his bunk riding out the pain. After two days it got so intense Romero couldn’t stand and was driven to an urgent care in Williams, AZ where the technician struggled to find a pulse or blood pressure reading.

“He tried that cuff a few times, then walked out of the room, returned with a paramedic, loaded me in an ambulance and off we went to the Flagstaff Trauma Center,” said Romero.

Romero was diagnosed with Necrotizing Fasciitis, a rare and often deadly flesh eating bacterial infection. After being placed in a medically induced coma, Romero woke to find himself an above-the-knee amputee, both a life saving and life changing surgery.

“I remember like it was yesterday,” said Romero. “I thought to myself ‘Well, I know what my mother would have done. She never complained about anything. My dad left her at 32 with two kids, no job, and she fought back, scraped, and raised us on her own, and she smiled all the way.’ This is my challenge and every day I face it. I put this prosthetic on like other people put on their jeans.”

It’s been six years of rehab, strength training, further surgeries, and the rebuilding of his electrical contracting business.  And of course, there’s his music.

“I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends and family, my band, and most of all, my wife Mary,” said Romero who was married in November of 2016. “We met just 2 months before my accident and she’s been by my side ever since.”

You can see Danny’s unique mix of rockabilly and outlaw country, with some good old fashioned So Cal punk mixed in at a local honky-tonk near you.


Follow the Arizona Territory Band on Facebook and Danny’s solo projects at www.dannyromeromusic.com.

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