A perfect excuse to get away from the New England snow, its was time again to head out for the winter NAMM Show at the Anaheim Convention Center. For those who don't know, the NAMM Show is considered the largest music trade expo in the world. It is not open to the general public, but only to qualified members of the music industry. Thousands of new product introductions and demonstrations are featured at Winter NAMM, making attendance by journalists a necessity. Apart from previewing the latest in musical developments, visitors are treated to special events including autograph signings, demos by (often) well-known musicians and mini-concerts. And every night after the doors close, there's always a party or a show to go to! As an added bonus, its always great catching up again with old friends from all over the world.
With a special thanks to Vinnie Moore, Friday evening we were able to attend the "Dean Guitars NAMM Jam" at the nearby Grove of Anaheim. On the bill was a proverbial who's-who... a four hour plus mega-event! Opening the show was Carmine Appice's SLAMM – basically him joining some glorified sidewalk bucket drummers in an all-percussion bash-fest. Hmm. Then Michael Angelo Batio joined in and proceeded to amuse with his ambidextrous double-necking. Short and sweet. While impressive, 15 minutes was a perfect length for his set.
But it was the awe inspiring Uli Jon Roth and friends I was here to see, and it was unequivocally the highlight of the evening. I had never had the privilege of seeing him play, and I was more than impressed. Like an all-knowing Zen hippie wizard, he’s on a whole different plane then everyone else! His playing was fluid yet precise, and with him, every note matters. No one in the room could even come close. Wow. Powerful stuff. And what an all-star line-up he jammed with! Warren DeMartini, Gus G, Doug Aldrich, Paul Gilbert, James Kottack, Carmine Appice and singers Don Dokken, Jeff Scott Soto and Mark Boals! (check out Jen’s photo coverage!) Again, wow.
Impossible to follow, but Tracii’s LA Guns did, as we cut out for a late dinner. When we returned COLLECTIVE SOUL had just hit the stage. 3 songs in and they called it quits, the singer complaining about vocal problems before throwing in the towel. Just as well. We had another metal jam to get to! This one started with Dave Mustaine and the rest of MEGADETH (with Steve Smythe filling in for Chris Broderick) tearing into ‘Symphony of Destruction’. The 45 minute set’s revolving door included Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT / STONE SOUR) MACHINE HEAD's Robb Flynn and Phil Demmel, Bobzilla (HELLYEAH!) and Dave Lombardo, bashing through MAIDEN, PRIEST, and PANTERA covers (sometimes sloppily) with great spirit.
Saturday morning came too soon, and it was once again back to the convention. Wandering through the huge exhibition halls, we bumped into tons of famous musicians who were all happily willing to chat or pose for a picture. My apologies upfront for those who might get sick of looking at us! Photos include Mick Mars, Michael Anthony, Ted Nugent, Billy Sheehan, Phil Collin, Paul Shortino, Tommy Shaw, Michael Wilton, Carlos Cavazo, Adrian Vandenberg, Kerry King, Peter Frampton, Steve Morse, Tim Ripper Owens, Uli Jon Roth, Rudy Sarzo, Jason Bonham, Steve Plunkett, Jordan Rudess, Dave Ellefson, Mikkey Dee, Jeff Scott Soto, Mark Boals, Vinny Appice, Eric Martin, Roxy Petrucci, Robin McCauley, Steve Lukather, Marc Ferrari, Frank & Scott from ANTHRAX, LIZZY BORDEN... Phew! And there were plenty more that we missed, not wanting to waste precious time in endless lines (Slash, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen...)
NAMM is definitely every music fans dream, and we look forward to covering it again in the near future!
All photos copyright by Jennifer Bartram-Schmitt
Thanks again to Jason Reppenhagen for setting up our passes.