Yep, we said it….the NAMM Show is fun.
The National Association of Music Merchants hosts its annual 4-day extravaganza in Anaheim every January. And each year, 100,000 eager gear hounds, uniformed in black, descend down onto the convention center taking over the surrounding hotels and restaurants for a 96-hour party.
Ok, we get it. To say that NAMM is ‘fun’ is sort of weird, because in truth, the NAMM Show could actually be used as a very effective act of torture. I mean, the standing room volume alone starts at 95db and just goes up from there. You know when you walk into Guitar Center and one guy is playing “Enter Sandman’ and another guy is playing “Sweet Child Of Mine” and a third guy is taking a free-form drum solo…? Multiply that times 10,000 and add alcohol. There you have it. NAMM Show.
There is a whole breed of musician who claim pure hatred when the mention of NAMM is made. Most of those musicians, sighing with disdain, while walking the floor of NAMM, forced to do so by the evil gear manufacturers who happen to sponsor said musician – giving them free gear in exchange for a simple appearance or two. We get it. Torture.
Now, those valid points aside…I still contend, that NAMM is fun. Rather than becoming jaded, prepare yourself with ear plugs, a few dollars to spend on a bit of liquid courage, and head in to the show. Here’s what you’ll find with the right mindset…
1. New Gear.
Considering there’s over 5000 exhibitors displaying their catalog of shiny new products, this is the perfect place to hunt down a new piece of gear that can fuel inspiration or give you a whole new approach to writing, playing and making music.
Really, we contend that this is *the* reason to go to NAMM. Every year we bump into friends we haven’t seen for years, some from across the country, others who we’ve just lost touch with, making NAMM a reunion of sorts. It’s a chance to catch up, check out the new projects everyone is working on, compare and share ideas, and maybe even set up new collaborations. And inevitably, along the way, you’ll make some new friends too!
3. Stevie Wonder and Slipknot.
Lets face it. NAMM is a freak show. Where else can you see Stevie Wonder and Slipknot under the same roof…every year?! And, are those really the Slipknot guys? Or is this just the rock n roll version of Disneyland – where we have our very own characters that are played by any ol’ guy?
By the way, did anyone see the Gene Simmons impersonator this year? We didn’t see him. Maybe he retired…
4. Hilton Bar or Marriott Bar?
The big question each day of the show…”Where are we all meeting up tonight?” The obvious choice is to re-group, rest your feet and have a drink at the Marriott or Hilton right across from the Convention Center. A great place to start, but for those with the will and energy, there are secret parties to be found. Each with amazing and unusual pairings of talent and surprise guests. Where else can you see Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Depp and Steven Tyler sing ‘Come Together’ or Van Halen and Albert Lee trading licks???
5. Swag anyone!?
Need we say more…who doesn’t love free stuff?
So, there you have it.
Now get out there…and join in on this crazy NAMM party in 2017!