Friday, January 20, 2012

NAMM Media preview day kicks off 2012 event in dramatic fashion

There are three music events that seem to mark my yearly musical calendar. NAMM, which arrives in January, followed by Coachella in April and the Doheny Blues Fest that hits in May.

So now NAMM has landed at the Anaheim Convention Center, 2012 does seem real.

I'll have lots more to write when the event is over (the music trade show officially runs Jan. 19-22, 2012 this year), but I wanted to share my posts that are running in The Orange County Register's Soundcheck blog here, as well as include some additional photos.

Here is my post that ran on Jan. 18, and was part of The Orange County Register's coverage of media preview day of the 110th NAMM show:

While celebrity names are often announced in advance of NAMM, the actual performances that transpire tend to be completely unexpected. Everyone who attended the music trade show’s media preview day at the Anaheim Convention Center on Wednesday knew that both guitar hero Kenny Wayne Shepherd and bass-playing former governor Mike Huckabee would be on hand. They just didn’t know they’d also jam together.

After Shepherd demonstrated his six-string skills and Huckabee talked about the importance of music education, the two surprised a crowded field of reporters, photographers and videographers with an impromptu blues. Shepherd, one of the world’s finest blues-rock guitarists, displayed his impressive chops; Huckabee added a fitting accompaniment.

This isn’t the first time Huckabee has done this sort of thing at NAMM — last year his unscheduled jam was with Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen, who was subsequently invited to perform on Huckabee’s Fox News program. I caught up with him afterward and asked about the difference, playing with Collen vs. Shepherd.

“Politics is divisive,” he said. “Music is a wonderful way for people to get together. That’s what I love about it.” (Shepherd seemed to enjoy the photo-op: “It was fun. He is a bass player and loves to play.”)

Huckabee said he planned to be at NAMM through at least Friday, and seemed genuinely interested in checking out the unique gear and instruments on display through Sunday in Anaheim. He’s a regular, attending this winter expo whenever possible as well as its summer counterpart in Nashville.
For musicians of every stripe, NAMM makes them feel like kids in a candy store. Shepherd, too, loves prowling around it: “This is the epicenter of new and innovative stuff.”

(End Soundcheck post)

I really enjoyed meeting Shepherd, who I had previously interviewed over the phone in connection with his appearance at the Doheny Blues Fest a few years ago, and Huckabee. You can really tell how much the former Arkansas governor cares about Wanna Play?, a NAMM's public education campaign to raise awareness about the many benefits of music making. The FOX News television host noted that with public schools reducing music education in the schools, groups such as NAMM are even more important.

No comments: