We’re always looking forward to the next Winter NAMM show as soon as the last one is over.
This is music industry’s main event! It’s virtually a who’s who convention. If you’re not drooling over the latest instrument that you definitely MUST HAVE, you’re spotting your favorite musician who is usually also drooling over the latest must have while also stopping for an occasional selfie with a fan.
Doro Pesch and Tommy Bolan (Doro) with some fans.
Nita Strauss (Alice Cooper) with her Signature Ibanez Guitar
Is four days really enough to see everything? I don’t think so, but you can definitely take in a quite a bit of it. Don’t forget the evening events which seem to be growing with each passing year. There’s the Bonzo Bash, Randy Rhoads Remembered, Gibson NAMM Jamm, Ronnie Montrose Remembered, Ultimate Jam Night, DIMEBASH, the TEC Awards, SheRocks Awards and several more that I’m not remembering at the moment. It’s nearly impossible to see and do everything and if you try – wear comfortable shoes! (*Editors Note: Especially wear comfy shoes if you walk around with Diane as she has ZERO sense of direction)
Unfortunately, I could only stroll around for one day but here are just a few of the sights I was able to capture.
Kicking off the Day was a great display by the USMC Marching Band outside the main NAMM Entrance.
After touring the main floor of the convention, my NAMM mate and I headed upstairs to the Taylor Guitars Showroom to say hello to my good friend Terry Myers. I noticed right a way that they only had acoustic guitars displayed this year and what beauties they were. With the electric guitar being presented in abundance at NAMM they decided that their amazing acoustic collection should be in their spotlight this year. Young or old, whether it’s your first or your 100th – a beautiful acoustic guitar by Taylor’s is a MUST HAVE!
Moving over to the Gibson Showroom for a quick stop actually turned into a couple hours long stay.
Almost upon our arrival the ultra-talented Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick took the stage for a brief Q&A. He’s witty and quick with his humor, he kept me smiling the entire time! Among other things, he talked about his extensive guitar collection to which I’m convinced he owns at least one of every guitar that was ever made, and he can tell you a little story about each one of them.
I had the pleasure of shooting Rick and Cheap Trick last summer and have attended countless Cheap Trick concerts over the years and it was refreshing to know that the smiling face that you see on stage matches his fun and hilarious personality off stage. During the interview Rick spotted Vivian Campbell of Def Leppard in the crowd and insisted he join the fun on stage. The Q&A lasted only a few minutes longer ending with a few questions from the crowd. What a treat it was to have two icons sitting there in front of me chatting away with each other and with us in the crowd as well.
Will spotted a familiar name on the scheduled “entertainment” and he insisted we stay for the next Gibson event. To kill some-time we strolled around the showroom looking at the beautiful Gibson pieces.
We spotted Johnny Martin from LA Guns and Barry Pointer from Riott House Studio. so while Will went over to have a chat with the guys I continued my look around.
I noticed a young musician looking over a beautiful red electric. He sat down, put on the head phones with his pick in hand and started to play his own guitar solo, I wonder if he knew that LA Guns Bassist Johnny Martin was standing directly behind him the entire time? 😉
Your future Rock Star – Maddox “RockStarMadman” Kennerson
After a few minutes I made my way back to the stage area and with a dim of the lights the next session began. That familiar name to Will that was new to me was announced and bounding onto the stage was Jared James Nichols!
One look and I knew this was going to be good! The Rockstar hair and the mega-watt smile and the energy he brought to the stage definitely drew people closer. Jared was there to very proudly announce his first (and certainly not his last) Limited Edition Epiphone – Signature Les Paul Custom “Old Glory”!
After a quick Q&A Jared had Frank Hannon of Tesla join him on stage and the two perform an ultimate mini jam playing “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo” by Rick Derringer.
A couple of hours at the Gibson Showroom provided quite the afternoon, a few of rocks elite and one that is certain to be added to that elite list in the very near future.
Another highlight each year is having a look at all the Boutique Guitars from all over the world that are on display.
Of course walking around the maze of booths is pretty much what a day at NAMM experience is…
After seeing several friends and acquaintances and taking in all that my feet would let me, it was time to head back to the car, my 2019 NAMM convention experience was over but never forgotten, it was definitely a Rock n Roll day to remember!