View Full Version : SOAD back together ..n deftones at stagecoache lol

01-20-2010, 07:47 PM

3rd last paragraph just thought id post it

NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, began in the year 1901. The goal, stated on the official website, was and is still “to unify, lead and strengthen the global music products industry and increase active participation in music making.” The show itself didn’t begin in 1901 but the actual association formed during this time. The group of merchants who came together created the main trade association within the whole music products industry, worldwide. The central idea, industry growth, is supported and promoted by the two main trade shows each year: winter and summer NAMM.

Now my experience at a NAMM Show each year has many traditional qualities and experiences. The convention is held at the Anaheim Convention Center, directly across the street from Disneyland. So, I tend to park in the lot literally right next to the center itself, even though the cost to park rises each and every year. The whole process of obtaining the actual passes into NAMM completely changed this year. Instead of having to wait in line at will call, new electronic devices have made it much easier to print: scan your confirmation email and walla! The Wicked Tinkers, a band of many different genres, kicks off the convention each and every year.

I have been to NAMM going on eight years now and my adventure always begins in the same place, the very bottom show floor. Hall E opens up at 9:30 a.m. while the rest of the convention opens at 10. This is always a nice place to kill some time before the doors actually open. The lowest floor essentially presents the smallest businesses. Smaller companies such as Tom Anderson Guitarworks and Bad Cat Amplifiers are well known and produce great products, it just seems to be a bit hard to move on up to the higher level with big companies such as Peavey and Marshall dominating the show. After skimming through Hall E, the second floor opened and everyone quickly scampered up the escalator to the hall above. This is where all of the main action takes place.

At this point, I usually quickly make one big circle around the entire event. It’s sort of like reading a school textbook: you skim the words to pick up on the main points. As I complete the circuit I keep an eye out for new companies, new products, interesting booths and artist signings. I take note and arrive back at the beginning with an idea of where I want to go next. This is how it has been every year for me and 2010 didn’t change that. As I was making my way around this year, I noticed one major change, though: Sound Control.

Their backs say it all…

NAMM is considered the loudest convention in the world, next to E3 (the major video game expo) and yet this year, the main association was trying to change that. These “police” carry sound level meters and walk from booth to booth making sure that each company doesn’t exceed the 85-dBA volume maximum. Seems kind of weird for a music convention doesn’t it? As if they could control all of the people banging on drums and strumming guitars real loud. Written on paper it looks almost like an oxymoron. Even though the regulations are a bit severe, the show still goes on and it’s loud as hell.

The products on the show floor this year, helping to keep the convention loud, were almost all electronically based. Instruments such as the Roland digital drum kits, digital pianos, and accordions all fit into the time period we are creating. The digital era is one we’ve been obsessed with for a while now and the instruments are starting to portray that. Digital pianos that look like old-fashioned grand pianos are nothing but built in sounds, same with the drums and accordions that were on display. Roland even had a “battery band” play right at the entrance of their main show floor.

Another focus point was the DJ. Everything from record players to analog and digital mixing equipment was proudly shown off. Almost every demonstration throughout the weekend showed off a new mixer or program for the everyday DJ and that was the main idea. Anyone can be a DJ these days. The programs are becoming simpler and mixing favorite songs with cool beats obviously appeals to the masses. These companies, such as Numark and Pioneer, know that big money can be found in all of the DJ equipment shown. More traditional equipment companies, such as Mesa Boogie, Ernie Ball, and Marshall Amplifiers showed off their new products as well. Mesa Boogie has a new line of old-fashioned amplifiers and Ernie Ball has a bunch of new artist-designed basses. Paul Reed Smith Guitars also had something to show for all they have done.

PRS Guitars had a major presentation at NAMM. It was their 25th year being in business and so they had a commemorative press conference to celebrate it all. Ted Nugent and Carlos Santana were both there to ring in a brand new year for the Paul Reed Smith Company. Mikael Akerfeldt and Frederik Akesson, members from Opeth, were also there to sign autographs and meet fans. They even brought along the PRS custom Opeth guitar.

Mikael Akerfeldt and Frederik Akesson of Opeth

Other artists that were milling around the convention were Mike Inez and Jerry Cantrell from Alice in Chains, all of the Dream Theater guys, George Lynch from Dokken and Lynch Mob, and Bootsy Collins himself. Many well known drummers such as John Dolmayan from System Of A Down who officially confirmed a SOAD reunion and the Rammstein drummer, Cristoph Schneider, who also confirmed a major fall US tour for the group, hoping that they have enough fans in the United States to fill the venues, proudly walked the floor. The day ended with a nice chat with Abe Cunningham, drummer for the Deftones, who told me that they were “playing Stagecoach Festival this year.” What a funny guy.

NAMM is the world’s premiere music convention next to Musik Messe in Frankfurt. Each and every year thousands of merchants and artists travel from all over the world to represent and show off different companies and products. NAMM doesn’t seem to be slowing down or getting any smaller. As it keeps growing the sound will continue to get louder and louder. Hiring sound control seems to be a bit ridiculous in the music world, which is why I feel there is no need for any of them. NAMM is a MUSIC convention, not a silent movie festival. It needs to continue to get louder and louder as the years go on. Music is loud for a reason. It’s meant to be heard and NAMM has a major voice that should be represented by the “loudest convention” moniker. So, you know what? Crank the volume up past 11, rock out and watch the sound police blow an ear drum.

Note: I would like to thank Eveanna Manley of Manley Labs for allowing me the chance to experience NAMM each and every year. Enjoy those bottles of wine!