Thursday, January 25, 2007

Where has the time gone? NAMM update & more

There has been plenty of big news since I posted at the beginning of the month. Grammy and Oscar nomination announcements, lineup announcements for the forthcoming Stagecoach and Coachella fests in Indio, and of course my trip to the NAMM show in Anaheim last weekend.

I was only able to make it to make two days, for half a day on opening day, Thursday, Jan. 18, and then back for most of Saturday, Jan. 20. In addition to getting to see and check out some exciting new musical gear, I also got to meet a few musical legends including Brian Wilson (see lower photo). It was definitely surreal meeting the architect of so many amazing Beach Boys classics. But the well-chronicled story of Brian's struggles played out before my eyes on Saturday afternoon where I waited in line at the Gibson booth to get an autograph and photo with the singer-songwriter. I said "Hello" and he kind of blankly responded. There were a number of photographers and autograph seekers circling like sharks, even cutting in front of those who had patiently waited for an hour or so in line. I will both fortunate and sad to have had this up-close encounter with an icon who seems to be spending part of his life in this world, and the other part in some far-off distant place. It was sad when some kind of handler/music rep thrust a guitar in front of him and asked him to sign it, treating him like a little boy and instructing him to "sign it clearly" that I found very offensive.

After meeting Brian Wilson, I was off to catch the press conference where Duran Duran bassist John Taylor unveiled a new Peavey Liberator Series of instruments, including a bass guitar. Then he signed autographs and chatted with fans. I am a big fan of the band's most recent album, the wonderful "Astronaut," and had John sign a copy of that release (see top photo). The line to meet John Taylor was even longer than the line to meet Brian Wilson. But that might have something to do with the John Taylor event being more heavily promoted and it being held in the main hall (whereas the Gibson booth was located upstairs and away from some of the main action).

Other highlights of my trek to NAMM were getting to see fingerstyle guitarist Laurence Juber perform an acoustic set at Martin Guitar Booth on Thursday, and meeting guitar virtuoso Gary Hoey for the first time on Saturday afternoon. I will have a complete technical-styled look at NAMM published in the Orange County Register on Friday, January 26 and you might want to check that out. I had a blast checking out the new gear at Roland and saw some pretty amazing stuff at Yamaha Corp. of America too, including an 8-pad digital drum set that will be released in summer 2007.

I'll report back tomorrow with thoughts on Coachella and other musical things.

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