by Ricci Rocks
The 2009 Winter NAMM show was held once again at the Anaheim Convention Center last month. I heard rumours this may be the last NAMM show for awhile due to the economy, which is unfortunate because this is such a wonderful event.
Checking into the hotel on Thursday, I walked over to the show to begin my 4 day rock and roll adventure. The first rock star we came across was Yngvie Malmstein, who had a desk at Marshall Amplifiers and was signing autographs and taking pictures with a long line of fans. Not wanting to waste time in that long line, we rambled on to the Dean Markley booth, and ran into Kip Winger on the way. Kip is looking good these days, he just finished a tour of the UK with Jonny Amos of the Maker band.
Dick Dale was everywhere, at many different booths meeting fans, signing, taking pictures, and we spoke with him briefly.
Going up the escalator to check out Fender we saw Michael Kenney of Iron Maiden heading for the same destination. Michael jams regularly at the Joint in West LA, and is a member of Happening Harry’s Haptone band.
I wish I would have stayed at the Daisy Rock guitars for girls booth just a little longer, because after we left there, the Bangles showed up and played a few songs for
the crowd there…..dammmit!!!!
Ray Luzier, a drummer I met at a local club near my house, was signing nearby, so we stopped to say hello, and found out he is now in KORN. Pretty amazing!
Everywhere around us were amazing guitars, mega rock stars, and new technology. One of my favorites was the Piano disc new product, the Quiet Time GT-2, which brings features of an electronic keyboard to an acoustic piano and lets you mute a piano for a private performance. The display model was playing some old ragtime tunes and had a screen in which an old black and white silent film was playing,,,,, it was very entertaining…. Inside the Pioneer booth they had all the new dj products,,,which really isn’t my thing, but watching the sales pitch I was impressed with the software. It seems like these days, they can design and produce pretty much anything you can think up. Tony Franklin, bass player for the Firm, is a salesman for SWR, located inside the Fender room. Always nice to see Tony.
After the showroom closed, everyone heads over to the Hilton for the many acts performing there, and of course, drinks. I headed for Starbucks since I had a long night ahead of me, and who do I see??? Peter Tork, my favorite Monkee!!!! Although many years have gone by, Peter is still very recognizable, with his famous grin.
He was a sweetheart, and graciously posed for photos with us. Everyone we saw was excited about Alice Cooper’s show upstairs planned for Saturday night, but my destination was the House of Blues, where the Guitar Gods were having a show. This included Warren DiMartini, the great Michael Schenker,,,,,(who is my favorite guitarist). Michael has had a lot of drama over the last few years, and recently acquired new drummer Chris Slade of AC/DC and the Firm. Chris, amazingly enough, also drummed for Manfred Man’s Earth Band, and Tom Jones, a little trivia for you. Chris is an absolute DOLL, the friendliest rock star I have ever met. He hosted a benefit at Salon 5150 in Brea last month for victims of the fires last year, and donated a wonderful AC/DC gift basket, which was full of DVDs, drumsticks, (used !) and included a 1 hour drum lesson with the man himself. Although I didn’t win that prize, (and I did buy MANY raffle tickets!!) Chris was so pleased with a photo of himself that I provided to the Salon for duplication/autograph purposes, that he offered to come out to San Dimas and give my nephew Anthony, 15, a drum lesson.
I was speechless. I had my nephew with me on NAMM day one, and we ran into Chris downstairs, who told Anthony himself just let him know when or where. What a guy!!!!
The weekend went by so fast,,, it was just a blur, Sunday evening I was standing in the line for Starbucks at the Hilton getting ready to come home, and ran into TM Stevens, the bass player for Vanilla Fudge, Steve Vai, who has also done studio work for Joe Cocker, the Pretenders, James Brown Cindy Lauper and TM invited me and my friend Kimberly to the Dean Markley NAMM show after party. YUM! Fully catered from Tony Romo’s we enjoyed ribs, corn salad and a full bar. It was a great ending to an absolutely fabulous show.