Cambria might be known for its tourism, but what really makes it a special place is some of the fascinating people that have chosen to reside in and around the area. Meet Larry McGuire, he and his wife, Mary Margaret, retired to San Simeon, just a minute north of Cambria, in 2012 to relax and enjoy the coast with a glass of wine.
Larry is a laid-back guy, modest and unassuming. Not one to toot his own horn, you might say. But just one question of “what did you do before you retired” opens up a story that is just one mic drop after another.
Larry is a professional trumpet player. Always was. While in high school in 1956, as a band member, he was forced to attend a Stan Kenton concert. Pressed against the edge of the stage, he was hooked. By the time he was a senior, he was getting paid gigs and it would only be a few more years until he would get hired by Stan Kenton himself. And that is just the beginning of the big names Larry can drop. His first big band gig was with Harry James. Twice he was in Harry’s band, playing mostly in Las Vegas and Tahoe. In 1978 he played off and on with Les Brown and his Band of Renown. And then there was those two weeks with Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughn at the Universal Amphitheater. “I have some great Sinatra stories”, says Larry. By this time in the conversation, this writer was picking her jaw up off the floor.
The 70s brought variety show jobs with Sammy Davis, Jr., Glen Campbell, Sonny & Cher, and Jerry Lewis. He is even credited on the last album of Nat King Cole. Larry can also list over 20 trips to Japan with Percy Faith and one with Henry Mancini. And he still gets residual checks for playing on Donna Summers’ song, “Last Dance.”
In the 80s a lot of live music jobs slowed down and Larry and Mary Margaret got the opportunity to go to Switzerland to play with the Zurich Radio Orchestra. They stayed eight years. Mary Margaret adds, “He did one season with the Zurich Opera!” Larry says, “We had a great time in Switzerland!”
After returning to the U.S. he filled his calendar with studio work, jingles, and film sound tracks. Then as he was starting to consider retirement, he got a contract for some studio work for a group he had never heard of — Daft Punk. The album, “Random Access Memory” went on to win a Grammy. “They were really great guys,” says Larry.
But Larry put away the horn in 2012. “It was a good life. You never knew what you were going to see, what you were going to do. You would walk into a concert hall and the music would just appear,” he said. “I can’t imagine having a day job. I have traveled the world and made some great friends.” Then he adds, “Did I mention Burt Bacharach?” Mic drop.