Text, images and video by Ronn Dunnett copyright 2009 (unless otherwise noted**)
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The Anaheim Convention Center circa 1973 (**file image)
And now, before we begin, my dissertation...
WHAT IS NAMM?
NAMM means never having to say you're sorry, unless you accidently step on a minor. It also means you're going home with a cold and some hearing damage( especially if you attended the Sabian event.)
Missed meetings. Arriving late for appointments. No shows at dinner. It's all good. Its NAMM and the event moves faster than that Taco salad you had at Coco's.
No apologies - its just understood.
(or How I learned to stop worrying and love the reccession)
It's been a tough year (or eight) for everyone and the the music industry is not immune to the current strain of pathogen that is chewing it's way through the economic flesh of the patient known as "The World". The reality is this: this is the reality. Things are not going to get back to 'normal'. Ever. Normal, as the music business (and virtually every other business) as we once knew it, is no more. The infection may be gone, but the virulence factor - the toxins left behind - remain. Prognosis: a very long recovery and an ongoing rehabilitation...do not ask for whom the bell tolls.
Yes! It's the new No.
Or should I say "Yes, we can!". The theme of this years show was one of cautious optimism. Hope, but there were no expectations. In the 3 days that preceeded the show opening, the most common lament was "I wish we had known 6 months ago what we know now." I got the feeling that many exhibitors might not have made the trip, and those that did would have reduced the size of their booths. Word is that NAMM was down approx. 50 vendors this year from last*.
To that I say "Only 50?".
Aerial view of the Anaheim convention center circa 1973 (**file image)
NAMM Policy changes - Some good news
Vistor Badge Policy
For the past two years I have snivelled endlessly about the number of NAMM attendees sporting visitor badges, particularly those affiixed around the necks of visitors who were in strollers or perhaps SHOULD be in a stroller. I'm not sure my complaining had any direct effect, but someone's did and this year NAMM instituted a policy that denied badges to those under the age of 16.
The effect was both positive and noteworthy. True, there was less traffic during the show, but the traffic that was there was the traffic that you WANTED there. Only once during the entire show was I approached by a minor asking "Dude, can I sit down at yer kit?". My understanding from NAMM is that the feedback they have been receiving has been very positive and it looks like next year there will be even more positive changes to the yellow badge policy.
Sound Policy Although I never actually saw any NAMM personal patrolling during the show, I was assured by NAMM that floor personel had redoubled their efforts to control the sound level in Hall D and that they were being as lenient as possible when in the presence of a blue badge (buyer) repeated violations were not tolerated. I do believe that NAMM is trying, but it can be very hard to enforce what should be a matter of mutual respect and cooperation between neighbors.
D R U M S M I T H . C O M
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The 2009 Winter NAMM pictorial is the most comprehensive pictorial on the web. 17 pages and over 880 images. Depending on your local time of day or night, I suggest you grab a big cup of coffee or a beer and get comfortable.
Multiple choice:(**file image)
1. Big 3 auto maker CEO's walking to Washington.
2. Cleverly disguised minors celebrating the procurement of some visitor badges.
3. Rumsfeld, Condi, Bush and Cheney on their way to
the opening of the new Disney attraction" California Drownin' " water boarding park.
4. Dean Guitar girl rejects (or winners).
5. OCDP artist signing
Instruments of aural pleasure...or torture, depending on where you're standing.
Anatolian is a very popular cymbal brand in Europe.
Anderson International Must be nice when your display IS the product.
Steve Anderson shows off some recent work.
Aquarian Chris Brady (no, not THAT Chris Brady) mans the Aquarian booth whilst Ron and Roy hit the stand up circuit.
This year was bass drum pedal year at NAMM. Axis is one of the pioneers of the new wave of pedal and you can see that influence in some of the more recent offerings from other manufacturers.
I didn't ask, but I assume this is a nifty trigger accesory.
Big Bang Distribution BB distributes an array of excellent products. This year they introduced a new Ahead practise pad and added to the ahead line of sticks and mallets.
Big Dog pedals and hardware
Big Bang has added some hot rod extras to their line of snare drums with these Brunson design lugs. The lugs are detachable a la Yamaha.
Protection Racket added some new colours this year. These bags are exceptional. PR also introduced a hard soft case that provides the protection of a hard case but the weight of a bag.
Sleishman Pedals Unfortunately team Sleishman didn't make it this year, but their pedals were well represented at the Big Bang booth.
Sleishman created one of the first (if not the first) modern double pedal.
Beatnik A cool tool for anyone into timekeeping perfection.
Beyond Shimano Apart from the unfortunate acronym these drums seemed to be of decent quality and had sort of a Slingerland vibe.
Can Beyond Slingerland be far behind?
Blackwood Drum Sticks / IQ Page Turner For anyone who was curious about what Ray Ayotte has been up to...
...he hasn't been sitting on his laurels. The restless Canadian innovator / product designer / marketing genius has thrown his weight behind some new products including this device, the IQ page turner. This device has a foot operated pedal that engages a bionic finger to flip charts etc.
Now you can use both hands...
The Stanton Moore Drum Company A Jimmy Ford creation compliments these extraordinary cymbals
The Stanton Moore Drum Company 2009 marks the year that Stanton Moore took matters into his own hands and created not only his
own signature drum, but his own drum company to market it. No easy task.
Stanton's own 4.5" x 14" titanium model featuring traditional tube lugs, steel single flange hoops, R Class throw off and
a very cool badge that pays homage to Stanton's hometown of New Orleans.
The drum is distributed through Bosphorus.
Stanton demonstrates some Pang Thang.
Bosphorus partner Jeff Hamilton had his hands full.
Rikki's Rocket ride
Bosphorus artist Ralph Peterson with Bosphorus president Micheal Vosbein.