Adventures in Guitar: Winter NAMM Adventure Part 1 Print
Wednesday, 07 February 2007 12:29
Image By Ronny North
Well, it was time for another NAMM show. As always when NAMM is in California my show experience actually starts a few days before the show kicks off. Two days before the show I had to go meet with Steve from Brazen guitars at the Anaheim Convention Center to get my pass for the show. I managed to meet him in the parking lot and did not have to go inside since he was unloading his stuff for the show. It was cool to chat with him for a few minutes and I managed to talk the parking guy into letting me park in the driveway for a minute to get my pass and saved $11 bucks to park.

On Wednesday, I went back to the Convention Center again and got a couple more of my passes and dropped by all the booths that I was playing at during the show to make sure everything was ready to go and of course it wasn’t. Oh well, welcome to NAMM.

It was cool to see a lot of my friends in the industry that I usually don’t get to see other than at trade shows. I also ran into Mark Waetli from Coffin Cases. I thanked him for getting me a new pedal board for the show after I broke my other one the week before. On the way out the door I also ran into my friend David Rosenthal the owner of Stash Picks. He gave me a bag of some really cool picks he made me with my logo. What a guy! They are very cool. He also hooked me up with invitations for his party he was throwing on Friday night.

I was now ready for day one of the show. I had all my badges and I was ready to go. On Thursday morning my assistant Karen came by the house and we went to the show together. She definitely keeps me organized when I do these events and she fields all my phone calls that I get during the show (which is a lot). I could never do these events without my girlfriend Arlene and her helping me. It really is a team effort.

We arrived at our hotel a little after 10:00a.m. We always keep my car there and walk the two blocks to the show. It also makes it easier if we have to go anywhere during the show since the car is clear of all the traffic.

My first demo was at Mills Acoustics. Dave and Susie Mills are just the best and it’s always great to hang with them. I played a bit at the booth and then went down and played at the Brazen guitars booth as well for a bit.

After that Arlene arrived at the show to bring us some McDonalds - a major lifesaver!! I just hate convention food.

The first day would end up being the craziest since I had to play at the show all day and then rush off to play the NAMM event at Fender’s Bar & Grill at 8pm and then Headline the Mills Acoustics NAMM Showcase at 10pm across town and then return to Fenders where I was scheduled to play in the All Star Jam at midnight.

Did I mention I had to do a live Radio interview at 6:30pm???

Karen left the show at 3pm to get us checked into our hotel and to get our luggage in the room while Arlene stayed with me at the show. It was also so cool to meet everyone at the show and especially all my Myspace friends from all over.

We decided to leave the show at 4pm to go have some dinner before my first show.

Arlene and I got back to the hotel to meet Karen without a hitch. I had just enough time to rest a minute change clothes and then we were off to dinner. Karen graciously volunteered to drive us around in my car to all the NAMM events.

Our first stop was dinner. We decided to eat at this cool new restaurant called the Slide Bar that was right down the street from the first show I was doing at Fender’s. The place is owned by the band Lit and was a very cool. It’s got a very Hard Rock Café feel to it and has tons of Rock collectable stuff all over the walls including guitars and drums from a lot of famous OC bands like Lit, No Doubt, Social Distortion and a few others. It was a cool dinner because my band joined us with my buddy Don Barnett CEO of AMT Pedals and his son Chris. I prefer to have friends around whenever possible.

Halfway through dinner Karen reminded me it was time to call in to do my radio interview. I called in to VM Underground Radio and did an interview with show host Vic. It went great and they world premiered all the songs off my brand new DISCONNECTED CD live on the show. After the interview we finished up dinner and we all were off to the show. We arrived a little early and I checked in with the promoter Debra and got my gear in the club. I also got to chat with my manager Annie who met us at the show. The first show was being broadcast live in the web so the crew was already there getting everything set up.

Just before we went on to play the gig the show hosts interviewed me in front of the club. After the interview, I quickly got my gear set up. I just brought a Carvin V-3 head and my back up demo pedal board with a couple of pedals. We hit the stage on time and had a blast in front of the cameras. We played all the stuff off the new CD and a couple other songs as well.

The crowd was great and our whole set was broadcast live on the Internet. A couple songs into our set I noticed that I was losing feeling in my left hand. It seems that the new stage jacket that I was wearing for the first time was cutting off the circulation in my hand. After struggling with it a bit I managed to get it up on my arm where I could feel again.

After we got off stage I decided to take the coat off in the parking lot. Well, it would not come off. Even after having the girls pulling on both arms I couldn’t get out of the coat! It really was a very Spinal Tap moment. And of course Don was making fun of me the entire time and even filmed it a bit. He’s currently black mailing me that he is going to put the footage on You Tube. LOL!!

Eventually we got me out of it after Arlene put some lotion on my arms. You really can’t make this stuff up!

We then drove across town to the Mills event that I was headlining. We all arrived on time at Hot House Studios where the event was being held. When we got in the studio we found out the show was running behind schedule. Oh well it gave me a little time to hang out and catch my breath. It was cool to hang with everyone and to chat with Susie and Dave Mills.

My guitar tech Tim went ahead and was already at the show and had my rig ready to go. All my stage gear and guitars were already at the studio. We had delivered my stage rig to the studio the day before. We played our set and had a blast playing. It really was a well planned show and it went off pretty smoothly and a great crowd was there. I was honored to be the headliner and to show everyone what my Mills Cabinet could do.

After we finished playing I hung and met everyone and signed stuff and took pictures with everyone that wanted pictures with me.

Soon Karen was telling me we had to head back to the All Star Jam at Fenders. We arrived back at Fenders only to find out it was a total mess and the first group of “All Stars” couldn’t get it together enough to even play one song. I quickly looked over the situation and decided I wasn’t in the mood for it. I talked with the promoter Debra and she said it was cool and I could go if I wanted to ( COOL!!)

I quickly jumped on the offer. Debra also introduced me to Athena Lee (a great drummer and sister to Tommy) She was cracking me up and agreed the jam was a real mess. She was so cool and I told her we should jam sometime. She said that would be fun (Stay tuned!)

We made a break for the hotel to try to get some sleep as it was after 2:00a.m. at this point!! On the way back we decided we had the munchies and pulled into the Del Taco drive thru to get some quesadillas and fries. I ended the day sitting on my hotel room bed eating my fast food at 3am and trying to get my laptop to work with the hotel’s phone line (don’t get me going on that.)

This was only the first day of the 4 days I was at NAMM. Stay tuned for the rest of my adventures at the show including my first night at the Hilton Bar.

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plays his own signature brand of instrumental guitar rock and is fast becoming a So Cal guitar hero. He has appeared in several national and international music publications, including this one each week.