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It’s the last day of NAMM. Thankfully, it’s also a quiet day. We don’t really have much on the docket. It’s our day to walk around and really be able to talk to vendors and get more photos of products. The Dean Guitars section is always one of the most visited places in NAMM. Never know who you'll run into there. Check them out online: http://www.deanguitars.com
One cool thing happened when Megadeth's Dave Mustaine stopped his autograph session with hundreds of fans in line and got out from behind the autograph table at the Dean Guitars booth to chat with a fan in a wheelchair that was in line as he signed her an autograph and took a picture with her :)
Ran into Buckcherry guitarist and friend Steve D. at the Rapco Cables booth.
Now here's a new product I saw I really thought should be talked about. Ever seen musicians fingers from playing guitar, bass etc? Sometimes not the prettiest of sights with cracks cuts and wearing that make their tips sore. Here's a cool product called "Rock-Tips" that's just like the stuff we bowlers use in league and on the PBA Tour (Professional Bowlers Tour) called New Skin.
A safe new alternative to using toxic glue on your fingertips! Check out their awesome website for a lot more information and ordering: http://rock-tips.com
How would you like to change a drum head in 45 seconds!? Yeah I'm NOT joking...check out Tru-Tuner cause this is what you've been looking for drummers..WOW! Check out the website: http://www.trutuner.com and video below!
Stopped by the Krank Amps section and found Queensryche Michael Wilton inside the test room goofing around (see video below). **Updated 5/2/13 - unfortunately Krank Amps have closed their doors. Repairs under the Lifetime Warranty are being handled by Krank's parent company, (this sounds funny) Kinetico Quality Water Systems.**
Remember Poison's drummer Rikki Rockett? Check out his Rockett Drum Works - U.S. Made Custom Drums! Need a custom drum set made check out http://www.rockettdrumworks.com
Want your own designed 3D guitar? Customized by you, inspired by nature! Work directly with designer Olaf Diegel to customize your 3D printed guitar. http://cubify.com/products/guitars
All of Olaf's guitars and basses are designed to have a rich, beautiful sound. Amazing pickups from Seymour Duncan and sustainable wood choices for the neck and fretboard (in maple, mahogany, and rosewood) ensure gorgeous tones. Check out the video below the Steampunk Guitar rules!
As NAMM 2013 draws to an end we said our byes and headed to the airport for our trip back home. It was a very busy 5 days and we were ready for our own bed! The body does take a toll with all the walking, running and very late nights. Until 2014 see ya next time NAMM!! Remember NAMM's mission is to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. Go support NAMM with your membership! http://www.namm.org
"Iron" Mike & Stephanie Savoia - KISW NAMM Reporters
It’s day 3. The busiest NAMM day of them all! We slept in as much as we could today but I did have to be to the show before 11 to meet up with David Ellefson at Beamz. You gotta check this cool device that you play with light beams with your hands! See video below.
Stef headed over to EMG to catch Kerry King and Phil Demmel. Rob Flynn was supposed to be there as well, but he didn't’t make it. She managed to get over to SIT Strings for Shinedown and Theory of a Deadman signings for their 11am signing too. This is the hardest thing about NAMM. There are overlapping appearances that we try to get too. At 11am today, we had 5 different appearances we were interested in getting to. We made it to 3 of them.
At Noon I was at Samson for Shinedown and Stef was back over at SIT Strings for David Ellefson, Willie Adler, Traa Daniels, Max Cavalera & Keri Kelli. She tried to get Viv Campbell at Engl, but he wasn’t there before she headed over to Samson to meet up with me and the Shinedown guys. The line was nearing the end to she jumped in to see the guys. She got her picture with her guitar pick necklace and Eric. She had one of his picks in it.
I have to give it to Stef. One of her favorite bands is Avenged Sevenfold and they were doing a band signing in the Schecter booth. She went up and go the attention of one of the Schecter employees (The room was closed for the signing). She asked if she could get in for a few photos. He took her business card, went inside and came back to escort her in! Go Stef! He told her to come back later and he’d get her into the Nikki Sixx signing too.
We met up at the Sennheiser booth for Dilana’s set. She is so great. We were treated to 5 songs. She did some of her originals and a cover of The Veronica’s song “Mother, Mother”.
Stef caught up with Tommy Thayer (Kiss) for a photo op and then back to Schecter for Nikki Sixx. Well, she tried to get in for Nikki but his management was not letting any press in at all. For a “photographer”, he shows little respect for other photographers. Sucked.
We got passes to the Schecter NAMM Party (Chris Poland, Jeff Loomis, Prong & Exodus) but Stef was done for. We got back to the hotel room and I got ready to go. She drove me over to The Grove and was going back to the room to take care of her aching feet, but I had her wait with my cameras to try to get a media pass. I went up to the locked gate to ask how they were handling the photo passes for media cause I didn't have one yet and someone at Schecter overheard me ask the security and said "Really dude? I know your work get in here" and handed me passes and got me in the door before they let the crowd in. That was my Hollywood moment and good-guy payback from the night before across the street when I paid for a homeless mans dinner :)
Even though it’s Day 2, it’s the first day that you’ll experience big crowds at the booths and traffic jams at all the intersections. This is the day where Stef and I really have to divide up our day to cover more.
Before we started running around for appearances, we headed over to Dean to get our passes for NAMM Jam from Curse & Elliott. Then Stef started her day off dropping by the EMG booth to catch a shot of Zakk Wylde, over to the Steve Clayton booth for Kyle Gass of Tenacious D and then over to Grover Jackson to see Tom Dumont doing their appearances.
Lines were short for a Friday, so Stef stood in line so she could get unobstructed shots of Mike Inez (Alice In Chains), Rex Brown (Pantera) and Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta, Racer X). Next stop was the Monster booth for Kerry King, Dean Markley for Orianthi (Alice Cooper) then Stef met up with me at Samson. They didn’t have much going on at Samson, only Mike Portnoy, David Ellefson, Phil Buckman, Frankie Bello and Scott Ian ;)
Once the Samson signing was over, Scott asked Stef and I to walk him up to Fender/Jackson for his next appearance. We grabbed a couple of the security guards at Samson so we could get Scott out of the area quickly. There were people trying to stop him until we crossed out of the more rock band area over to the woodwinds. Suddenly, no one tried to stop him any longer. It was pretty funny.
Stef and I split up again. She went back downstairs while I went over to Schecter to catch up with Jeff Loomis & dUg Pinnick. Stef headed over to Engl to see Bumblefoot but ran into our buddy AC Alexander (Lizzy Borden) instead and had a great little visit with him. She scrambled over to Monster to try and see Slipknot but by the time she got there 7 was the only one left.
Wayne Static was going to be up next at the Monster booth along with Evil D. There wasn’t much of a line at Monster so Stef jumped in line again to get more up close shots.
Peavey had a couple of the guys from Black Stone Cherry doing a little acoustic set that I was able to capture. At the same time, Stef was over at Remo seeing Mike Portnoy. As soon as she was done there, she was on a mission to see Steve Stevens. She tried to see him at 3 different scheduled appearances but he was either too late or no showed to them so she was pretty bummed. Especially since you know that you also get to see Josie when you see Steve.
I had one more big appearance to shoot at Samson before we headed back to the room for a bit of a rest before heading over to The Grove for the Dean Guitars NAMM Jam. We got over to The Grove with a little time to spare for dinner so we stopped in the McDonalds nearby.
While eating our dinner, I spotted a homeless man trying to find some food inside the restaurant garbage can. I thought he must really be hungry to come inside to look in a garbage can. I got up and gave him 5 bucks to grab some food. He thanked me and immediately got in line. He was there for a long time so I went back up to him to see if he was OK. He was trying to make the most of the money to get a full meal. I told him to order what he wanted and gave him the balance. We were on our way out when he was waiting for his food and I told him goodbye.
The NAMM Jam this year was headlined by Shinedown. Opening the show was Wayland followed by Rusty Cooley, Michael Angelo Batio, Laura Wilde and Kyng before Shinedown took the stage. Back to the hotel room to crash!
We got to the media room bright and early to get the hottest thing at NAMM – a locker!! We met up with some of our photo friends from across the globe and did a little visiting before the doors to the exhibits opened up.
At this point, Stef and I divide and conquer! We walk the 1 million + square feet of exhibits finding as much new and interesting gear and music appearances we can to photograph and report on for you – the Rock-a-holics! This is the calm before the storm day. Less people around so there is more time to shop and take in the demos for a little longer.
At Noon, Lita Ford made a signing appearance at Dean Marley Strings. She was so funny when she saw me walking by and I said hi. The photo says it all. She's still cool as ever!
I was lucky enough to have access (along with their own photographer..Hi Tracy) at the Samson/Zoom booth signings for all the days so I got some pretty exclusive shots of some pretty big rock stars and friends. Look who my first set of super heroes were! Bassists that rules the world!
L-R Geezer Butler (Sabbath), Frank Bello (Anthrax), John "JD" DeServio (BLS), Eddie Jackson (Queensryche), Phil Buckman (Filter), Billy Sheehan, Marco Mendoza (Thin Lizzy), Stu Hamm.
We stopped by the hotel for a little bit before heading out to the Observatory for the Bonzo Bash. It was great to see such a large crowd there. Both of us has photo passes but the pit was so small that neither of us got to move around for different angles so we got some pics and left before another long day of NAMM ahead of us. Full Bonzo Bash Photos Click Here!
Last year, we were on one of the last flights out of snowy Seattle and had to fly from Seattle to Denver and finally to Orange County. This year, we made it to media day!
Thanks to NAMM for having a pretty good rental car promo code for a compact or larger car. I thought that would pretty much guarantee us a compact – WRONG. The car company translates compact or larger to whatever they have most on their lot when we arrive. Stef – our designated California driver – was living the dream in a Ford Crown Vic. You got that right...Streets of San Francisco riding in Anaheim!
We got to parking lot 1, made our way over to the Hilton to get our NAMM badges and headed into the Anaheim Convention Center. We walked into the press room just in time to catch Tara Busch’s demonstration of the Stylophone S2. I love the Stylophone and Stef really liked the British Flag version.
Then Peavey Electronics announced and demonstrated their new Vypyr VIP amplifier. This amp is the first one that will actually work for acoustic, electric and bass guitars with the turn of a switch. Mr. Alex Skolnick of Testament and the Alex Skolnick Trio demonstrated each guitar type for us. This is a great amp for you musicians that want to consolidate your gear but not lose anything sound wise in the process.
Next up – Grover Jackson (yes, the Grover Jackson of Jackson/Charvel fame) and his new guitar line, the GJ2. Tom Dumont of No Doubt has been road testing the prototype of the new Zora guitar and actually had the prototype on hand to compare next to the production version of the guitar. Tom did a little demo for us on the production model. Currently the guitar body and the Jabanero Pickups are made in house with plans to expand the rest of the parts being made in house as well. The other guitar debuted by Grover Jackson was the Glendora model.
Dean Guitars’ Curse Mackey introduced Dave Mustaine and his new double neck signature guitar. Dave was pretty entertaining and even handed the guitar to one of our friends to test the weight after she asked him how heavy it was. He did some posing with it, but we weren’t treated to a demo. I saw Mustaine the first time he played his prototype live back on 4/26/11 at The Big 4 in Indio, CA (see photo below).
We headed out of the demo area and started to see some of the preview booths. We came upon Alex Skolnick having a little jam session with Malcolm Turner(bass) & Jon Barnes(trumpet). Alex was using the new John Lennon amps from Fargen. There are 2 versions, white and black, and a couple of artwork versions currently. The white amps are very limited production and will retail for $5K. There are 11 in each artwork being made and Yoko Ono will be getting one of each which leaves 10 of each for sale. The black amp will be the production version and retail for $2700.
Lanakai will be releasing ukuleles this year with a USB port. They can be hooked right into your computer for recording.
We found the AlphaSphere and immediately thought of our kids fighting over it. It’s like an electric drum synth in a big sphere with LED lights in the middle for a little atmosphere.
If you are into woodwinds, we saw the most updated piccolo I had ever seen. Instead of round hole covers, they were square. Made by Powell Sonaré, Stef was over there asking questions for quite awhile. She said the demonstrator had a bit of an adjustment period but the square covers also had a bit of a cradle to them so the fingers set in them nicely.
Back over to the stage for NAMM President Joe Lamond and former New York Yankee/Latin Grammy nominee Bernie Williams having a chat about the importance of music education.
To end the Media Day presentations Muse Research's Bryan Lanser, Vice President of Business Development, introduced the incredible Receptor VIP. A road-worthy plug-in player used by just about everyone in the music business you know that want to bring their sounds from the studio to live situations. Check out the video courtesty of Skinny Music TV on the presentation. Amazing!
Time to check into the hotel and make our way over to Disneyland for a little relaxation before the next 4 days of The NAMM Show!!