The Namm (National Association of Music Merchants) show was held at the Anaheim Convention Center in the heart of the tourist paradise of Orange County, California from Thursday, January 24 to Sunday, January 27, 2013. Connect! This was the theme boldly displayed on the highly coveted entrance badges that are reserved for music merchants and their professional endorsed musicians and employees along with their fortunate guests. If you’re a musician trying to get a pass and can’t find one, go anyway in 2014. Musicians lacking a pass could still enjoy countless Namm parties held at nearby hotels and network with CD’s and promotional kits in front of the Anaheim Convention Center; it’s a sweet location near Downtown Disney in the heart of Orange County, CA close to Knot’s Berry Farm and sunny Southern California beaches. Going early in the morning with voiceover artist/former child actress/acoustic guitarist and story teller Michele Marrotta (formerly known as Michele Wood) led to a jam packed Saturday filled with excitement and surprises. Namm mornings started with daily 8:00am power breakfasts that were geared toward music vendors looking for valuable tips and directions to take their business to the next level. We missed that, but our first adventure was a Namm highlight parked right in front of the convention center that travels all over the United States with Chris Walker at its wheel. Touring the top of the line John Lennon tour bus presented us with a sensational Namm welcome along with meeting the dedicated trio of Kyle Baudour, Ryan L’Esperance and Hans Tanner who not only mentor young aspiring children and teens, but they help launch careers of talented young adults with their state of the art studio bus. Extremely functional features include the ability to be divided into three recording sessions along with doing double duty as living quarters for the young musicians that tour the countryside ten months out of the year as the engineering team that honors the legacy of the late John Lennon. Speaking of music legends, Namm’s Grand Illusion booth hosted Kenny Metcalf, known as an outstanding Elton John tribute, who is known for selling out shows and hosts “Elton the Early Years” all over the countryside with his full band. At Namm Metcalf appeared in full costume playing and singing on Grand Illusion’s baby pink shell piano. People that were walking by stopped in their tracks and listened. It was amazing how Namm organized the booths together in proper sequence especially since there was over a million square feet to walk to see it all. Speaking of a million, it seemed that many Namm attendees showed up to experience the Dean Markley USA, Inc. late afternoon Meet and Greet that included legendary musicians: Nicki Stix (Motley Crue, Brides of Destruction), Sean McNabb (Dokken, Quiet Riot, Great White), and Dave Amato (REO Speedwagon, Ted Nugent, Black Oak Arkansas, Cher). Sean McNabb has also made a name for himself as an actor being a regular on the hit television show “Sons of Anarchy” and being attached with a significant role alongside Eddie Griffin in the Eddie Dee Williams film project.
Touring various booths was amazing; one minute Stevie Wonder was playing harmonica, Jimmy Wilson was borrowing a horn, and Michael Coppola was playing on 9 strings…then as if things couldn’t get better we saw Gemini’s GMX Pro Media Controller System that debuted at Namm 2013 drawing quite a crowd. The question was not what it does, but what it doesn’t do. Alan and Artie Cabasso should be quite proud. It was great catching up with Stuart Smith and Ritchie Onori of Heaven and Earth Band who have also been members of Sweet and Aliens of Extraordinary Ability. A new Heaven and Earth album, “Dig” is soon to be released on April 23, 2013 that was produced at the Glen Wexler Studio. Ritchie Onori also is busy with his solo career as a songwriter and guitarist with his album “Days of Innocence,” and has become an international businesman with his amazing line of affordable beautiful guitar straps at Onori Guitar Straps and Onori Entertainment as the exclusive US distributor for Albion Amplifiers. We then met Jack Pinckney, CEO of Dusty Roads Products and his brother Chris Pinckney that was helping him out at their busy table. They presented their Roadie Road Cloth and Pik Pocket that holds 20 guitar picks,and they have a Fuzion Guitar Pick that they’re introducing soon. We ran upstairs since Michele wanted to play with a Taylor guitar. We were pleasantly surprised with a young musician named Allan Stone singing and playing to a crowded room. Stone is in the upcoming Coachella lineup. Another young multi-talented musician is 24 year old Jake Allen from Northern Michigan, who started with music at age 5 in his father’s studio, and plays several instruments along with being a singer/songwriter. Allen is endorsed by Gretsch Guitars, Takamine and Dean Markley Strings and travels heavily (8 months out of the year) all over the countryside, both solo and with his band. Jake Allen currently seeks management that can get him to the next level. His new album “Etherica” will help him soon rise above calling himself a “starving musician.” The Kushinator band’s artwork on their “Martian Buds” CD cover was amazing giving them an edge in the clubs as a developing band of young musicians.
Namm is all about the music with there also being an upcoming summer Namm; it was sweet getting ready to leave the Convention hall and seeing a table set up promoting Russian Namm; but you don’t have to go to Russia to experience an international Namm, vendors, buyers and musicians came from all over the world to enjoy, learn, perform, connect in grand international business style at Anaheim’s Winter Namm with everything from sales being made to endorsements earned to renewing old friendships and making new connections while enjoying hundreds of merchants booths and countless top of the line performers. With over a million square feet to cover, one day just wasn’t enough.
WWW.GEMINISOUND.COM, www.StevieWonder.net, www.dokkencentral.com/bio/sean-mcnabb, www.twitter.com/SeanMcNabbLA, www.taylorguitars.com, www.AllenStone.com,
www.jakeallenmusic.com, www.nikkisixx.net, www.DaveAmato.com, www.lennonbus.org/nammshow, www.EltontheEarlyYears.com, www.richieonori.com, www.onoriintl.com, www.albionUS.com, WWW.HEAVENANDEARTHBAND.COM, www.namm.org/thenammshow, www.grandillusionpianoshells.com, www.JimmyWilsonLive.com, www.9string.com, www.dustyroadsproducts.com.