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Tony's Diary Page
The NAMM Show
January 2001
Diary entries from the January dates of NAMM
Pictures and more from the NAMM show

Second page, including performances at NAMM and more.
This year Jan 18 / Anaheim / NAMM Day One

Where to start? It occurs to me that with an event like this one, nobody could really cover the whole of it, on a website or otherwise. You've got to just give your personal end of things and settle with that.

Of course, I'll be devoting a NAMM page to this week, but haven't got much time tonight to organize that. The Ernie Ball / Music Man exhibit is where I'm based. They've got it decorated this year in a '60's hippie theme(!) (Last year, they all dressed as Elvis.) At first I thought it might have been all done just to make me feel at home (coming from Woodstock!) but it's a little too elaborate for that. All salespeople in wigs, bellbottoms, hippie sunglasses, surrounded by 60's memorabilia including a flower painted VW Bus and a huge peace symbol. ... and that's just the Music Man booth. I've tried cruising around, but a bit hard so far - and lots of autographing to do when I do roam. I did run into lots of friends though - saw a number of Stick players at the Stick booth, ran over to Trace Elliot's amp booth and chose an amp for next week's tour. In the evening there was a "Stick Night," one of two this week, featuring quite a few players. I like to watch the new progress being made by a lot of Stick players - finding each time that I have a lot to learn on the instrument.
O.k, I'd like to stay up all night writing more, but I got this piece to learn for tomorrow night's show...

Jan 19 / Anaheim / NAMM Day Two

Whew, I'm glad these things only last a few days - so many people, instruments, concerts... and so little good coffee! (The company Line 6, which makes the popular bass and guitar pods has an espresso machine at their booth - so as you can imagine it's a popular place. But today the machine was broken.) (Next year I will prevail on Music Man to have an espresso machine at their booth - maybe they'll let me be the barrista!)
The Ernie Ball / Music Man show was tonight, featuring Steve Morse band, Vinnie Moore, Albert Lee, Steve Lukather, the amazing Dixie Dregs, and John Petrucci (with whom I played.) A lot of fun, and a lot of notes!
My first surprise came when, after a few groups had played, I was called onto stage. I plugged in my bass and turned, expecting to see John and play his piece. But onstage with me was bassist Dave LaRue, and another bass player - winner of the Music Man contest, who had been flown in to participate in the show. Seems a "bass jam" had been planned, and I hadn't known. Oh well - talk about no advance preparation, Dave looked at me, said "D!" and we began.
Next came John's piece, which I survived (faster than I usually play) by playing it with funk fingers. Trouble was, maybe because I hit so many notes, one of them came apart. Fortunately some glue was found between sets, the velcro re-attached, the second show went fine.
I'll try, in the next few days, to cover more of the show and get some photos of new music products (at least the bass ones.)

Jan 20 / Anaheim / NAMM Day Three

More meeting people, seeing things, hearing and playing on the floor of the exhibition. (Did a performance with my friend Artie Traum.)
I'm too burnt to write much here about the day's activities, but the NAMM Page is growing fast! - It's now two pages crammed with graphics, and includes the start of a new theme - Dome Sightings!

With late night uploading for the site, I'm not getting much sleep. Guess I'll catch up next week on the van rides of the CGT tour! (They're good about not asking me to drive.)

Jan 21 / Anaheim / NAMM Day Four

I met some more friends during the day - amazing how many musicians come to this event. I ran into Steve Hunter, guitarist on Peter Gabriel's first album and tour - we discussed his great picking part on Salsbury Hill. Soon after, I encountered Earl Slick, who played some of the guitar parts on the Double Fantasy album. We talked about how each of us has fared in dealing with the tragedy of John's death. I took more photos for the Namm pages, and left slightly before they started packing up all those instruments and amps. Next for me will be rehearsals, in Long Beach, with the California Guitar Trio and Pat Mastelotto on drums. (And, of course, nights I'll be touching up the details on the new web pages.)

Jan 22 / Long Beach / Summing up

Some notes on the event, now that it's over: I had more fun this time than in the past at NAMM. Partly because I was documenting it a bit, for you, the web visitors.(That might be more fun than actually participating.) Partly because I was able to plug into the comraderie of the musicians - it's all over the place, and a great thing - but you can easily miss it because there's a heavy business thing going on all over, with companies, large and small, trying to sell their stuff! (Which is, I guess, what the show is about!)

Anyway, high points for me were not in things I saw, but just hanging out episodes.
  The very special concert Music Man put on, which had all those great guitarists, who are also gracious guys, grouped together backstage. (You should see Lukather going wild watching Morse play - this is what the community of musicians is all about.)
  The Chapman Stick booth, always glad to greet everyone, always with different talented Stick players playing along quietly, so as not to disturb other booths (a rarity at NAMM) and a willingness to share knowledge, ideas, and dreams about the Stick with what has truly become a community of players.
  My meeting up with some old friend: Steve Hunter of the early Peter Gabriel Band, Earl Slick from the John and Yoko sessions back in 1980, bass designer Ned Steinberger, Pasquale Minieri - over from Italy, Jeff Pevar, Michael Rhodes, Ross Shafer, and lots more.
  A wild and wooly dinner with bassists Doug Wimbish and Dave Pomeroy - I wish I'd taped, and could share, the stories and bass lore from that night.
So, for once I'm not swearing NOT to go to the next NAMM, but admitting that it has a very nice side, and I'm glad I didn't miss it this year.
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