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One of the most talked about rock bands of 2011 worldwide was Sweden's GHOST! James Hetfield & Duff McKagan have even praised the band and their 70s meets 80s styled devilish classic rock! One listen to their debut album Opus Eponymous and you'll hear why this beautiful combination of satanic rock mixed with pop sensibility is so catchy. Classic Mercyful Fate was instantly a big thought in my head with this band but what separates them from the rest is the melodic straight-forwarded tone of singer Papa Emeritus. Seen onstage as the Satanic Pope, Papa delivers just a one tone vocal style that some how works from song to song. The band is filled out with nameless Ghouls. No one truely knows who these guys are. Check them out at the El Corazon Monday Jan 30th as they play their first Seattle show ever! Expect me with the likes of Lenny (Zero Down), Jolene (KISW) etc. in the front row of service rocking with Ghost! Don't be afraid it's only Rock-N-Roll ;) Check out their twisted version of The Beatles "Here Comes The Sun" below!
PS: Had to share this funny photo of Ghost playing against Trivium in Foosball on their recent UK tour! Thanks to fellow Belgium photo buddy Tim Tronckoe for this classic shot!
Today was the day that we'd catch up on photo editing (videos later) and seeing innovative gear. Well be having a final blog over viewing a lot of those companies we’d enjoy sharing a little more in-depth with you all. We know how many of you are KISW listening musicians.
As I stayed editing Day 3 blog in the NAMM Press Room, Stef headed into the hall and found the Voyager folding travel guitar. It is the only full sized guitar that can fold in half and fit in to a backpack as a carry on. Then she found her way over to a guitar that has a screen built in to it from Visionary. The screen makes all kinds of wacky psychedelic movement. Porcupine Tree guitarist Steven Wilson has been seen playing one. Check out this video.
She also ran into the Dube. A square drum that can be hit on all sides. It can be made in many custom colors and comes in four sizes. She also came across a 3 string guitar that is billed as a guitar that can’t play a wrong note. Is that like auto tune for people that can’t sing?
After she finished her innovation hunting, She made her way over to the Peavey booth to wait and wait and wait for Michael Anthony’s (Chickenfoot/ex-Van Halen bassist) signing. Then I found her and got her to come along on a little photo shoot with guitarist A.C. Alexander from Lizzy Borden. The shoot started with A.C. borrowing a new Music Man Silhouette double neck guitar from the Ernie Ball wall. He literally pointed to it on the wall and they got the ladder and took it down for him. Then we had to sign it out. Luckily, A.C. was set up as an Exhibitor so he could actually sign it out of the main floor. We ended up in a couple different locations. So with thousands of people walking around we were a viewing spot wherever we went. Fellow rock photographer Karen Mandall from Las Vegas bumped into us which was cool!
Our first location was inside though at a cool textured cement wall. After about 15 minutes or so, we made our way out of the main venue to the stairs where we spent another 40 minutes getting shots from a few angles. The day before I did a couple shots of David Ellefson (Megadeth) for his upcoming self-released book here. Very cool location! Once we were satisfied with the shots we got there, we headed to the Engl booth for some shots with their amps.
We finished up with A.C. and made our way over to Dean to shoot a signing that included the bassist of Shinedown, Wayne Static, Jeremy of Five Finger Death Punch, etc. and was supposed to include Dean Roland of Collective Soul. Dean was not there however. This was bad since that was the whole reason Stef wanted to go to the booth today. He was the only member of her favorite band she didn’t get to see this whole weekend.
I headed over to Yamaha to try and get with a rep I have been working photos with for Jeff Rouse and Mike Squires of Duff Mckagan’s Loaded. After I left the Yamaha area I saw this gal in super high heels texting while walking. I knew what was going to happen next and it happened! Curb and crash! Not a pretty site.
By this time, the mostly calm day had come to an end and our NAMM adventures were over. It was time to clear out or locker and catch a ride to the airport for our flight home. HUGE thanks to our personal NAMM drivers Gary & Jill from www.TourBusLive.com!
I’ll be doing a final overview blog in the next week or two and I’ll include some video samples from all the days. Photos from this day will be posted later but for the first three days go here, ya might be surprised who ya see! View photos at KISW Facebook!
Holy Cow! Fatigue from the last 3 days set in today at NAMM. The 4 floors and 1 million square feet of vendor booths are catching up with us. Just after 2:30 today we all started to feel the pain of long days, tons of walking and late night shows/parties.
I have been focusing on a few artists that I've been working with and Stef continued to travel the mammoth convention center in search of interesting appearances and gear photos. Today got us shots we'll be sharing from Scott Ian, Lita Ford and to a full Anthrax signing. There was Skid Row, an acoustic set from Joe and Lzzy of Halestorm, John Dolmayan, Duff/Squires & Bumblefoot, Steve Stevens, Matt Sorum, Jimmy Ashurst and Billy Morrison. Not to mention running into some of my buddies like world famous rock photographer Robert Knight (http://robertmknight.net), Mike Portnoy, Mark Goodwin (Sick Puppies) and Stephanie into Art Alexis and Stix Zidinia while out and about. She attempted to get a shot of Tommy Lee, but the shot she got will let you see how impossible it was. Complete pandemonium to see Tommy.
Today was so busy that neither one of us ate after our quick breakfasts until dinner. It's constantly go go go here at NAMM if you want to see as much as you can. Luckily Sunday is a calmer day and we can concentrate on the gear. The reps will also have more time to talk with us.
After dinner, it was time for a stroll through Downtown Disney on our way to the House of Blues for Steel Panther. Is it just me, or is there something a bit wrong about walking through the 'Happiest place on Earth's" property to see Steel Panther?? Nah...I think it's just me! It was packed to the rafters. Good turnout for the guys.
Time for some more photo editing and some shut eye before the last day at NAMM and traveling back home.
So here's the thing about NAMM. You can spend days going through and scheduling who you want to see and where they will be using the NAMM app and website - like Stef did and have things go nearly flawless. Or you can have things go like they did today. Chaotically!
I saw Stef in the morning when we got picked up by our great friends at tourbuslive.com - Jill & Gary. I saw her in the press room for
about a half hour then I didn't see her again until after 1pm when she told me she found our friend Alex Kane headed to the Peavey booth. We walked over to Engl and I didn't see her again until it was time to leave just before 5pm.We were trying to divide and conquer, but I think NAMM won a little today. Traffic and weather totally played a part in who and what we saw this time.
So here is what we were trying to do...
10:30: Get our passes for the Dean Guitars NAMM Jam 2012 11:00: Stef to take a class given by producer Jeffery Weber on 'Survival Secrets of the Music Business'. She took it and recommends his book on it. 11:30: Orianthi from Alice Cooper's band at Paul Reed Smith Guitars. Nope. Didn't even try. Class got out late. Noon: Mike Inez & dUg Pinnick at AMPEG. dUg was late but Stef shot Mike then I went up later and saw both of them after finishing my day 1 blog in the Press Room. Noon: Stef tried to see Kenny Loggins (Bedell), Phil Everly (Cleartone) and Tito Jackson (Dean Markley Strings). Loggins was late and she didn't see him. Phil Everly was late but she did end up seeing him and Tito was late and she didn't see him. But on the way to Cleartone, she did see Keith Harris from the Black Eyed Peas at Ibanez. So that was a make up from not being able to see Loggins and Tito. Noon: I was trying to get over to Samson for Eric Bass, Charlie Benante, David Ellefson, Glenn Hughes and John Tempesta, but went long with Inez and Pinnick so I didn't make it. 1:00: On her way over to see Dave Navarro at Paul Reed Guitars, Stef ran right into George Lynch at Randall. She snapped some Dave shots and headed over to Dean Markley for Montrose and Verheyen of Supertramp. Carl Verheyen was there, but Montrose cancelled and on the way there she saw Ratt's Warren DeMartini. 1:00: I saw Rudy Sarzo at Peavey ( I caused camera pandemonium when Rudy posed a shot for me then 50-million others pulled out cameras and flashed like crazy! NYC 5Revolt guitarist Mike Suppa was with me and was caught in the middle of the flash bombardment!) then over to Dave Navarro at Paul Reed Guitars right after Stef did. 1:15: Stef ran into David Shankle of DSG/Manowar fame at Kahler. 1:30: Stef ran in to Alex and let me know so we could meet up at Peavey. Alex was accompanying Caitln Love from Disney's "I'm in the Band" on guitar. 1:30: I was over at Samson to see Nicko McBrain signing with my 8x10 photo cards along with Mike Inez, Frankie Bellow and Kerry King. 2:00: Pantera's Rex Brown was at AMPEG but neither of us got up there to see him. 2:00: AC Alexander (Lizzy Borden) was at Engl for a signing and both of us got some shots at various times. Stef tried to see Tito Jackson again at another signing but he still hadn't arrived at NAMM. So she went by Shure and got a shot of Lincoln Brewster and got in line for the Korn signing. Then she tried to see Michael Wilton but he was still snowed out In Seattle. 3:00: Stef was in line for Korn and I was ready to shoot, but by 3:25, Korn hadn't come out and Stef gave up and headed over to Hohner for Tobias Ralph and I made my way to Neil Schon. Wait til you see the photo I got there!! 3:30: Neither of us made it to Samson for Vinny Appice, Rex Brown, Eddie Jackson & Billy Sheehan. 4:00: Stef walked around the bottom floor trying to find the Alex Skolnick location but never found the mislabeled booth. Her feet were
tired and she was hungry so that was the end of the line for her. She had wanted to see Munky from Korn but after what happened at Shure, she didn't try. 4:00: I tried to see Alice Cooper but 50-billion people were still waiting for Korn so I never found him.
We headed out by 4:45 so we could get over to the Dean Guitars NAMM Jam quickly since they hand out more passes than capacity and it's first come first served for entry. 4:15: While heading back to the Press Room I ran into all my Lizzy Borden buddies got a couple quick snaps. 6:00: Dean Guitars NAMM Jam - Testament/Jackyl/Wayne Static/Vinnie Moore - The Grove - Anaheim, CA - As we get there parking, here comes Wayne Static and his wife walking past us got into his hot Challanger car. The funniest part watching this is if you know his hair you ask yourself "How does he get into his car?" Just like anyone else. His hair just goes sideways ha! Show went great! Vinnie Moore opened and I think surprised everyone. Moore is known as one of the most influential guitarists to emerge out of the shredder boom in the mid 1980s. Fantastic instrumentals and it was really cool to see Black Label Society bassist JD DeServio in the band. He even sang the Hendrix cover "Fire." Wayne Static played next and WOW, that really kicked ass! Always fun shooting pics of Wayne. Then the girls came out for the Coffin Case & Dean Girl fashion show by Toxic Vision. After the girls left the stage we went out to the outside bar area and caught up with some friends like Wayne Findlay (MSG) and more. Jackyl hit the stage, took a couple photos then back out to the bar. Got in position for Testament took a couple pics, little video then got the hell outta there cause the pit exploded during the opening "The Preacher" and with standing/walking all day long it was time to get back to hotel and write this blog!
This was the calm day before the storm of people expected on days 2 and 3. This was the day to make it to booths for gear pictures before there are too many people around to get clear shots. We still had a full day of artist appearances and chance meetings to document too.
We got to the Press Room about 9:15 Thursday morning to get some of the press kits and a locker. The lockers are invaluable. We can leave things there so we don't have so much to carry around the 1 million square feet of mechant booths. Yes, that was 1 million square feet. This is why the trade show is 4 days long.
The doors opened to the showroom floors at 10am. This is where we split for a time. Stef headed into the showroom to see the opening ceremony march. The grand marshall this year was Governor Mike Huckaby. The Governor is an avid bass player and attends NAMM regularly. I decided to head outside to shoot the big NAMM sign above the convention center when I ran into Mike Suppa. Suppa plays with Ace Frehley's band and in Face Lift - a very popular Alice In Chains cover band in New York. I turned around and there was Megadeth's David Ellefson. We were talking and met back up with Stef to head outside and do a mini photo shoot with David.
Next up on the agenda was the Gibson booth to see 10 year old guitar phenom Nik Kai, but he ended up not being able to appear. I left Stef at Gibson to shoot Brian Wilson while I made my way over to Fender. Stef camped out in the Gibson booth for a hour and a half waiting for Brian to make his appearance. The room was electric and completely packed to see him. There was even a John Stamos sighting. Brian sang 2 songs - 'California Girls' and 'God Only Knows'.
Off to the Gretch/Fender live stage for Collective Soul's Ed Roland and Will Turpin. The guys sang 3 songs and Ed did a little chatting with the crowd. After the appearance, both Will and Ed stuck around quite awhile chatting, signing autographs and taking pictures. I met up with Ellefson again for some shots at the Jackson display. I was happy to see that one of my Ellefson photos was being used at Jackson.
Next up - Stef got shots of Colbie Callait on the way over to see Alan Parsons. The right over to the Samson booth to see David Ellefson, Frankie Bello, Billy Sheehan and Stu Hamm. Great line up and the actual line for autographs prompted a call to the Fire Marshall from another booth. Stef wanted to see the Orange booth and made her way over there running into a couple of artists along the way. She saw CJ Pierce from Drowning Pool and Nicko McBrain from Iron Maiden. Not a bad little field trip for her. Once I was done with Samson's signing we met up at Carvin for our bud Marten Andersson, bass player for Lizzy Borden, with Bjorn Englen, bass player for Yngwie Malmsteen. This was a great spot to be. We also saw A.C., guitar player for Lizzy Borden, and Clair B of Noizee and formerly with Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg in all her British punk rock girl glory. We love her!
It was time to move over to Engl where we saw Bumblefoot (guitar - Guns N' Roses) jamming on A.C.'s guitar for a video. After a great first day, it was time to find our ride (our friends from tourbuslive.com) and make our way back to the hotel. On the way out, we ran in to Norwood of Fishbone fame. That's the way to end the day. Sore feet and artists everywhere!!
Palm trees, warm sun, rock stars, concerts, parties, meetings, interviews, etc. here we come! It's that time of the year again for the yearly NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) convention in Anaheim, CA Jan 18-22. As you saw from all my blog coverage from last year you know it's a media coverage playground of epic proportions! With over 1 million square feet of walking/display space with music-related companies from around the world there's never a dull moment to a day of coverage in the Anaheim Convention Center. It was a little overwhelming last year covering it by myself so this year I have my Wonder Twin powers activated and have my wife Stephanie tagging along this year to help with my coverage for KISW. So remember to keep checking my blog here and KISW Facebook page daily starting Jan 19th for photos and video from NAMM 2012. (Click HERE and save my KISW blog URL in your bookmarks)
As stated on the NAMM Wiki page: "The NAMM Show is one of the largest music product trade shows in the world, founded in 1901. NAMM is a trade-only business show catering to domestic and international dealers and distributors, and the product exhibits are an integral part of the show, allowing the dealers and distributors to see what's new, negotiate deals and plan their purchasing for the next 6 to 12 months. Only employees of the exhibiting manufacturers and/or NAMM member retailers and distributors are allowed to attend, along with credentialed members of the press. Exhibitors are alloted a specific number of badges based on the square footage of their booth." For complete NAMM company and event info please visit: http:www.namm.org