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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!!