Metal Life Magazine Winter NAMM 2013 Report
Winter NAMM is an industry only convention where members of the music industry, music manufacturing companies and musicians all gather to network, shows off their products, announce new products and announce new business partnerships and projects. The event is also attended by endorsed musicians, music industry heavyweights and other special guests. Think San Diego Comic Con for the music industry minus the general public.
Metal Life Magazine attended Winter NAMM for the first time this year and we were very impressed with how well the event is run and with the sheer volume of interesting booths and people there were to see. We were impressed both professionally as members of the media exploring the booths and personally as fans of music. Yes, we did stand in lines to get autographs from the likes of Kerry King (Slayer), Phil Demmel (Machine Head) and more.
While in line, we talked with our line neighbors about their NAMM experiences and we were blown away with the diversity of experiences. Some people worked at a music shop and they were all excited about meeting celebrities. Others were musicians and their focus was on checking out the new gear and playing new instruments. The one common thing everyone was excited about was the booths that offered merch or gear that our line neighbors did not even know existed. This included things like custom molded earbuds, or being able to use your iPhone to control certain amps and the cool items in the special pro light and sound area.
After getting our autographs and obligatory photos, we continued to explore the booths and network the the booth peeps. We found out that this year’s NAMM has grown by almost 300 new vendors and that the aforementioned pro light and sound area had expanded from the previous year. The people at each booth were very eager to show off their products and or describe their services which made the whole experience of booth browsing all the more fun.
For our heavy metal fan readers, we did run into quite a few “hero” status people. They included Kerry King, Phil Demmet, Lita Ford, Gary Hoey, Scott Ian, Zakk Wylde, Great White, Will Adler, SLIPKNOT, Gus G, Alex Skolnick, Gene Hoglan, Eddie Trunk, Nick Catanese, Michael Wilton, some dude named Nikki Sixx (lol), Michael Devin, Marten Andersson, David Ellefson, Bjorn Englen, Robb Flynn, ANVIL, Richie Faulkner, Neil Turbin, Michael Keene, Jeff Loomis, Rex Brown, George Lynch, Gary Holt, Devin Townsend, BUCKCHERRY and many more. It was like a celebrity field day for metal fans. Each of them were there to help promote either their respective sponsors or they were attending for the same reason the rest of us did… to network, make friends and learn about what was new in the music world.
Metal Life Magazine was invited to special 50 person performance by ANVIL in a quasi-sound proof room right on the convention floor. That was an amazing experience and we have been told it is typical of the magic of NAMM for crazy things like that to happen. Other performances included a set by Iron Maiden tribute band THE IRON MAIDENS, rock band BLACK STONE CHERRY, Alex Skolnick did a jam, STRYPER performed at the LA House of Blues and a jam session in the TC Electronics booth featuring Tony Harnell (former vocalist for TNT) and Bumblefoot.
Schecter Guitars also threw a NAMM party at the Grove in Anaheim featuring EXODUS, PRONG, JEFF LOOMIS and OHM (featuring Chris Poland) Saturday night after NAMM.
Guitar World took photos of the NAMM 2013 Metal Jam, which we have been told, has become THE opening night event. The concert was held at the Whisky in Hollwood and featured Neil Turbin, Zak Stevens, Jeff Martin, Michael Angelo Batio, Aquiles Priester and more.
George Lynch, Ray Luzier and Billy Sheehan all did a jam session at the Sheraton Hotel.
Besides all the great sightings and concerts, the main attraction is the exhibit floor. New products were announced throughout the week. Some highlights of metal interest were the following:
Overall, the NAMM experience was overwhelming in the best way possible. We learned a lot about the music industry and we are excited to announce the addition of a new section to Metal Life Magazine… Gear. This new section will contain news and articles about musical instruments, amps, strings, gadgets, etc.