NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants. The NAMM Show is the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. It is held every January in Anaheim, California, at the Anaheim Convention Center, and is one of the two largest music product trade shows in the world. The event attracts numerous famous musicians, many of whom are endorsed by NAMM Show exhibitors and come to promote their own signature models and equipment. (From Wikipedia)
2014 was my 4th year of attending the NAMM show and the 3rd that I was there representing Rock n Roll Industries Magazine. They have a booth there every year since its inception and its always packed with cool celebs and industry people.
What can I say about the NAMM convention to someone that hasn’t been there? The convention itself is very overwhelming. There are something like 300,000 attendee’s all packed in the gigantic Anaheim Convention Center. One thing that hits you first is how noisy it is. If you are in the drum section its horribly loud. I definitely like the quieter sections and I am more of a guitar enthusiast anyway. This year the magazine booth was right smack in the middle of a drum aisle and it was a bit LOUD. So I did my rounds to many other booths as well, to visit many of my friends that were exhibiting like Jason Oberly at his booth next to Johnny Coffin. Jason exhibited his airbrush painted Jon 5 guitars on his new invention, the revolving guitar stand. Johnny Coffin as always has killer coffin guitar cases,some painted by Jason, and many celebs come to his booth all day for signings. Rock n Roll Gangstar Apparel booth had a plethora of 80’s rockers coming to and fro to sign items and take photo’s with fans. People I saw at Gangstar: Jaime St James, Ron Keel, Todd La Torre, AJ Pero, Stacey Blades, and many more. Darryl Boyd’s booth is always crazy! Rock n Roll Industries also had a great mix of cool celebrities stop by to sign their wares or take photo’s. They had Great White, Doyle from the Misfits, Archer, Neil Zlozower, The Sullen crew, Chad Lee and many more. That booth is always bumping as well!
My fave music equipment booth or room was ESP Guitars. The custom angel guitars on display were gorgeous. As well as all their other custom work there were many colorful guitars on display that were stunning! I also loved the Fender room because not only do they have amazing guitars but they had one of my photos blown up poster size for the Jake E Lee display next to two of his white Charvel beauties that he endorses. The man himself specially picked out my photo, so I was very honored and proud of that. There were so many pretty things to look at upstairs in all the huge guitar rooms.
You can stand in line and meet and get autographs from the various Rockstar’s but I rather like walking around and seeing them and saying hello in a more organic way. Also for me it’s a waste of time waiting in the lines. Too much to do and see to wait in a line. I ran into about everyone I wanted to see and you never know who you will see eating on the patio or having a beer. The first person I ran into the first few minutes I was on the floor was Nigel Glockler from Saxon and it’s always a joy to see him! You need to have your head on a swivel because like I said you never know if Stevie Wonder or Steven Tyler might walk by. I saw Geezer Butler over at the Marriot and no way would they let him stop. I wished them all a good day and kept moving.
The thing I love most about NAMM besides the obvious reasons of Rockstar’s everywhere, beautiful guitars and lots of good friends attending, is the shows that they put on every year. There are so many things going on at night that you would have to clone yourself several times to make it to them all. I already had my itinerary for the three nights and that was Bonzo Bash on Thursday (Thank you Noelle!), Lizzy Borden at the Epiphone party on Friday and Queensryche at the House of Blues at Downtown Disney. I would have loved to make the Randy Rhodes Tribute with BLS and the Cream show. Or the Tama party where some serious players made surprise appearances.
The Bonzo Bash was many hours of Zep with the guys from the Moby Dicks playing the house band. Many amazingly talented drummers played that night and the backstage area was abuzz with talented musicians. It was very laid back and cool. I just walked up to Mike Portnoy and Gene Hoglan and said hello. It was a great show!
Friday Nights Lizzy Borden show, sponsored by Epiphone, was as epic as always. Archer opened up the show. It was a very small party but the fans were very excited and it made for an intense show! Had a total blast and got blooded as always!
Saturday night’s Queensryche show at HOB was totally perfect. Todd La Torre, the new singer of a year now, was so on that he made me very proud to be a Ryche fan again. It was a huge sold out crowd and the set list was a mix of old hits and new songs off the amazing new self titled CD. I saw them exactly a year before and now they are getting in the groove with each other and getting back to the basics of rock. Play good music and NO drama! It’s so good to see the whole band smiling again.
NAMM tips: #1: Wear comfortable shoes I cannot stress that enough. My friends clocked themselves at 20 miles of walking in two days. The con is 4 days… #2: Bring a camera and pens, extra batteries, you never know who you will see. #3: Charge your battery well and bring your charger. You will need it! #4: If you get a room with someone have a backup plan if there’s drama. #5: Drink lots of water and try and eat well. There’s not much good healthy stuff to eat at the con. #5: Bring antibacterial, cold med’s and zi-cam. So many people walking around sick from other countries. #6: Make sure you book your room early so you don’t miss out. #7: The best days to be there is Friday and Saturday. The rest of the time isn’t a big deal. Sunday everyone is gone, but its the best time to get good deals on stuff! Just go and have fun. I don’t plan anything except the shows at night and rides. I like being spontaneous. You have more fun that way. Enjoy!!