NAMM 2012 Recap
NAMM is one of those incredible events that deserves whatever hyperbole you can throw at it. Held at the Anaheim Convention Center the global music convention is basically overwhelming to behold and a marathon of awesome to festively endure. This year the Denver contingent of Hollywood Music got its chance to bounce its awed jaws off the NAMM floor a few hundred times and attend some very wicked after parties. Photographers Stu Kennedy (aka The Camurai) and Matthew Zinke of Matthewknowsphotos joined me in the adventure of 2012 NAMM.
We flew in on Thursday and as soon as the aircraft’s wheels squealed we immediately hit In-N-Out Burger and ate ourselves into a collective vegetative state. Then after the kind of nap symphonies are written about we hit NAMM to get acclimated to the insanity and get all our passes in order. The actual numbers of the event are ludicrous. First, the Anaheim Convention Center contains 800,000 square feet of space which is just a number until you try in vain to cover that much area repeatedly in four days with human feet. Toes become screaming little backseat bitches by about day three. The numbers for the 2012 NAMM itself were record setting with 1,441 exhibitors and 95,709 total in attendance. Even if 1,441 exhibitors sounds like the average Saturday flea market to your tough-to-impress-flea-market-going-ass just remember that some of the big exhibitors have booths the size of a grocery store, that billions of dollars of commerce happens at NAMM and no expense is spared including guest appearances by many of the biggest rock stars in the world. It’s stupid awesome.
On Thursday night the Hollywood Music crew enjoyed some very tasty dinner at The Rainbow and checked out the live music at The Whiskey, The Roxy and The Viper Room which all lived up to the legends. And yes we totally acted like the Denver rube tourists that we are. What surprised me most is that Lemmy from Motorhead does come into the Rainbow every night and plays his video bingo game at the bar and nobody goes all fan on him. It’s not just a shtick for the documentary; he really is a daily local fixture like any other pub regular.
Friday the real deal started at NAMM and trying to describe it would be like trying to describe the intricacies of the local scenery while strapped to a dragster. Every music manufacturer you can think of showing off their newest equipment and the rock stars that use them. Same deal with Saturday. We burned up many gigs and calories taking pics and interviewing anyone famous we could track down. Which due to the sheer amount of stars in attendance was more like bumper cars than tracking. There were several thousand pictures taken and exactly 158 videos shot over the weekend with interviews ranging from Hugh McDonald of Bon Jovi, to the dudes in The Acacia Strain, to Rich Ross who is the bassist for The Samples, Jim Florentine of VH1’s That Metal Show, and several dozen more. Members of the big four were all in attendance as were many other legends including Stevie Wonder who honestly delivered my personal biggest star struck moment of the weekend. I mean come on: It’s Stevie Wonder.
The after parties at NAMM are as ludicrous as you have heard they are. On Friday night we went to the Third Annual NAMM Jam at The Grove where Testament, Jackyl, Vinnie Moore, and Wayne Static were performing. On Saturday it was Seether and Filter at The Grove which after seeing a show there it is my new favorite venue. Pretty much everything else sucks hind tit to The Grove except Red Rocks and that took nature a billion years to make. So just imagine an extremely rad venue filled with 2,000 VIPs with everyone from Dave Navarro to Zakk Wylde to the guy who played Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw movies all mixing it up. Overall it’s just total rock star burnout and total radness. One side note Stu and I did manage to find some sort of super model bikini photo shoot at one of the Hilton’s roof top pools on Saturday night. We bought many beers and pulled up lawn chairs. And….. then bought more beers. Best damn show of the evening. Haha!
Sunday at NAMM is all about pulling up the tent stakes and heading home with the pipers playing. Except the playoffs were on and instead of Tommy Lee on the Pearl Drums jumbo-tron it was football. If you have ever wondered what several hundred professional musicians would look like eating In-N-Out Burger all gathered around a 30 foot tall screen with the playoffs playing well I guarantee we got pics of it. Somewhere in the thousands I still have to go through. And probably a video of it. But man, those musicians were cheering even louder than their fans do for them. It was pretty wicked to see.
NAMM 2013 here we come. After a few hundred naps and a trip to the shoe store.
None of this awesome adventure (which this lil’ chronicle only holds 5% of) could have been possible without the amazing people at Hollywood Music especially Steve Bartolone who took time away from his incredible family to make sure we experienced NAMM in all its glory.
If you would like to check out more NAMM pics please go to the Hollywood Music Facebook page.
Words and general yammering by Groovey.