Anaheim Convention Center
January 24, 2013
If you hear a loud buzzing sound echoing from Anaheim, it would be the thousands of exhibitors and merchants checking out the latest musical gear at the National Association of Music Merchants or NAMM in short. Closed to the public, It isn't uncommon to see your favorite musical hero roaming the vast convention center in search of that elusive new piece of gear that could give them an extra creative edge.
Having attended a number of NAMM shows throughout the years, the advent of social media has pulled back the curtain and enabled folks to see all the new gear via Twitter, Tumblr or Instagram. While I can drool over pictures of Tosin Abasi from Animals As Leaders holding a brand new Ibanez eight string guitar. Nothing can replace Tosin showing off the guitar to me in person as I examined the expert craftsmanship and unique features designed by Abasi. He also mentioned he was excited to join fellow eight string crushers and Ibanez endorsees Meshuggah on tour as they play the Wiltern on March 2.
Known for his rapid fire power chords and excellent variations of tone, another guitar that caught my eye from Ibanez was the custom guitar of Noodles from the Offspring. With so many booths to look at and so many distractions, having a set plan to visit specific companies are futile attempts. Luckily, I have a few more days to find some gems but I do need to find No Doubt's guitarist Tom Dumont's new guitar from Hamer.
Heading into the drum section of the convention center is a lesson in pain and bad beats as a cacophony of ill-timed drum hits careen together for a overarching buzz that rattles your skull. Having earplugs is nearly a requirement as I checked out various cymbals and other percussion gear. The main goal was to locate Josh Freese's recording drum kit that he used with Sting and an assortment of his projects like Devo, Weezer, and Sublime.
Having a keen eye for all synthesizer related gear, I wandered over to the Moog booth and couldn't believe my eyes as they had a 24karat gold plated MiniMoog Vovager on display surrounded by chains. At this point, I ran into Bobb Bruno of Best Coast and chatted momentarily about the awesome Quicksand reunion shows and how he was working on a side project influenced by Godflesh!
The NAMM show and various events held at night occur all this weekend with Saturday being a madhouse as many famous artists sign autographs for the vendors and those lucky enough to score visitor passes. While they often tell you not to wear your headphones too long to avoid ear damage, I keep the same principle in mind when it comes to NAMM in that short doses make it more enjoyable. While social media has pulled back the curtain to a certain extent on the magic of NAMM, being there and interacting with the vendors, musicians and gear is something that will never be replaced.