POST NAMM PROG-NOSIS

(For the uninitiated, check out last year’s infamous, introductory posts on NAMM )

Back from NAMM, that over-stimulated stew of amps, accessories, acoustic guitars, beer, booths, breasts, brochures, business cards, DJs, demos, drums, effects, exhibitors, electric guitars, handshakes, hairstyles, hats, headphones, instrument cables, jazz musicians, keyboards, long lines, leather, marketing reps, metalheads, miniskirts, mixers, nametags, PA systems, product specialists, quartets, registration booths, retail buyers, rock stars, shoulder bags, smiles, sunglasses, suits, ties, tuners, trumpets, ukuleles, video screens, water bottles, xylophones, youth programs and zithers.

NAMM. Where everyone is trying to sell you on something- “Come on over to our booth” “Try our tuner” “Play through our pedal.” Where you get handed more demo CD’s than you’d ever have time to listen to, more business cards than you’d ever have be able to follow up on and pamphlets for more equipment than you’d ever be able to use (or even store).

You know the routine: you bring a shoulder bag, a bottle of water, some breath mints, and a pack of trail mix. You hit the Starbucks at the Marriot or Hilton on the way in. You scope out the bathrooms and the exits. When running late, you wear a hat, which acts as an invisibility cloak.

All the usual freaks and weirdos were there. Once again there was the much too skinny ‘Gene Simmons Guy,’ in full make up, costume and gargoyle platform shoes. This time he brought his facepainted cohort, ‘Paul Stanley Guy.’ Scattered about were various guitar wielding science fiction creatures from another world who, in the process of taking over the Earth, had discovered screamo, goth and black metal. Then there was “Mohawk Girl,” whose giant multi-colored coiffe appears to be the result of a Trojan helmet cross-pollinated with a peacock. And what would NAMM be without the Dean Girls? For as everyone knows, nothing says ‘quality’ in a guitar like a scantily clad troop of trollops moonlighting from their gig at Hooters.

Speaking of hooters, wandering the premises was a lone lady with the biggest breasts I’ve ever seen. We’re not talking Hustler big, not porn-star big, not even Dolly Parton big. These boobs were so glaringly, painfully and uncomfortably huge, that as I stood next to my friend Juliette, a talented, petite female drummer, I couldn’t help but notice that those monstrosities were as big as Juliette’s whole head. Just then, Boob Girl called out my name and wanted her picture taken with me. A swarm of onlookers followed with cameras. Somewhere out there are pictures of me with my arm around Boob Girl, doing my best to maintain an expression of normalcy.

This year, I was invited to be one of about half a dozen presenters at NAMM Preview Day, which was only open to the media. Appearing right after me was Phil Collen, guitarist for Def Leppard, both of us demonstrating Agile Partners’ iPhone and Ipad apps for guitar. Afterwards, Phil and I stood together and smiled for the throng of cameras. As a teen in the 80’s watching those bigger than life Def Leppard videos like ‘Rockit,’ ‘Love Bites,’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me,’ I never could have imagined…

Most Surreal Moment: Hanging with Presidential candidate, Fox News personality and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, promoting his initiative for music in schools. Despite not being aligned with Mike politically (teaching creationism over evolution? I can’t get behind that!), I commend him on this. Mike jammed a 12 bar blues with Phil while I was doing interviews. He told me he’d read all about me in the NAMM program and was disappointed he and I didn’t get a chance to jam. My father, a liberal left wing academic, sent me an e-mail wondering what Mr. H was like and more importantly…could he even play?! I answered that Mike’s one of the nicest people I’ve met, but he’ll never get my vote. And sorry to say: the Huck’s better on his bass than than Bill Clinton is a on his sax.

Most Awkward Moment: Bumping into an old acquaintance, a once promising but misguided musician, now unhappily working as a product specialist. “Congratulating on all your success,’ he said, smiling a painful smile through gritted teeth, as though I’d just won the Miss America pageant and he was first runner-up.

Most Fulfilling Moment: playing with my trio in the lobby of the Marriott hotel, having folks enjoy it like a real gig, not just a NAMM gig. Review.

Biggest Buzzkill: getting offstage at that gig and having to ditch all my friends and fans to go play solo at an exclusive invitation only event for top music dealers and manufacturers. Everyone there was very nice, well meaning and appreciative. Unfortunately the brightly lit sports bar, NFL games on big screen TVs and tables and chairs a mile away from the stage didn’t make for an atmosphere of good listening. There was so much idol chatter during the performances just before me that as I waited my turn to go on, I couldn’t help but think of the irony: each of us had risen through the ranks of the music industry for the privilege of becoming background musicians at a cocktail party.

Most Awesome Moment: mischievously walking out of the Hilton bar, sneaking our cocktail infused plastic cups past security guards and getting into a London style cab with a hero of mine, Adrian Belew ( the ridiculously innovative guitarist of King Crimson, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, Talking Heads etc..). We hit it off as soon as we were introduced by my friend Andre, a fine guitarist himself who also techs for Adrian. Adrian bought us a round of drinks at the bar and invited me to come along for the evening to the Boss/Roland event at House Of Blues. I’d planned to go back to my hotel, drop off my bag, rest and change into evening clothes before catching a later show with Megadeth. But how could I say ‘no’ to Adrian Belew? In the cab, I got to ask him all about one of my favorite stories involving him, Ben Folds, William Shatner and another hero of mine, Henry Rollins. Amazingly, he hadn’t seen Henry’s telling of the story, so I was thrilled to email it to him. If you have ten minutes, check it out, this is one of my favorite on-line clips of all time: Henry Rollins On Adrian Belew, Ben Folds & William Shatner.

More Surreal Moments: At the House Of Blues, we watched a series of solo artists performing various combinations of beat boxing, droning, dancing, rapping and comedy, all using a new loop pedal made by Boss/Roland. After each performance, a spotlight would shine on the balcony, where several judges passed a microphone around offering commentary similar to ‘American Idol.’ The first judge was Dave Navarro, the Jane’s Addiction guitarist, and music reality show host. Next to him was Billy Idol/Michael Jackson guitarist Steve Stevens and his wife, the two of them stars of the reality series ‘Married To Rock’ (Reality TV meets NAMM). As the ‘Loop Idol’ contest ended, Adrian went to go say hello to his friend, Steve Stevens, just as I was approached by my new friend, Herman Li of Dragonforce. Herman introduced me to his girlfriend Nita, also a shredding guitarist. As if on cue, the most blistering arpeggios I’d heard in a long time started appearing out of thin air. What was going on?! They told me they’d come to see Yngwie Malmsteen who was on next. Of course- that could only be Yngwie playing! I’d had no idea he was going to play. “C’mon!” they said grabbing me by the arms. “Lets go watch Yngwie!” The three of us ran up to their special ringside, balcony seats, where we watched, high fived and giggled for about half the set, before it was time for me to head across town to catch Megadeth. It felt as though I was Harry Potter and they were Ron and Hermione.

Now before you go any further, you may be wondering: what the hell was I, the author of ‘The Shred Epidemic,’ doing sitting there with master shredder Herman of Dragonforce and his shredder girlfriend cheering on Yngwie? I shall explain… First of all, I have no issue with ‘shredding’ as an act, only ‘ ‘shred’ as a genre. My biggest problem with shred, the genre, is that it takes itself soooooo seriously. However, Herman and his band Dragonforce, like the guitarist Buckethead, are an exception, inserting humor, creativity and cleverness into their presentation of flawless, hyper-speed guitar playing. And in my two cohorts that night, I’d found like minded souls- not so jaded that we couldn’t be blown away by Yngwie’s supersonic licks but also able to find humor in the sheer absurdity of the performance..

Watching Yngwie was like watching Elvis in Vegas doing karate kicks in a gold lame´ jumpsuit. He’s wearing pants so tight they look as though they may burst. He holds the guitar over his head, plays with his teeth, spins it around his shoulders and poses like a Swedish Olympics athlete who’s just conducted a triple axel flip. While his playing is agile as ever, his music, like his body, are not aging well. As Yngwie enters middle age, the acrobatics seem a bit forced, and the band has the feel of a live backing track, like hard rock elevator music. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be knocked out by him as I was when I was in high school all those years ago. But somehow, doing the exact same music with the exact same shtick just feels a bit, well, odd. Of course, this being NAMM, the crowd ate it up. And, when it comes to the ‘neo-classical’ style of shred , one cannot deny that Yngwie still outshreds them all. Its just that he’s become a bit of a caricature in terms of his stage performance to the point where its hard not to think of Elvis…

Weirdest Moment: being rolled up on by a drunk, overzealous amp technician as I attempted to have a non-business related conversation with a couple female friends at a corner table. It was my last night of NAMM. We’d left the packed madness of the Hilton bar for the civility of the much quieter bar at my hotel. As the girls listened in bemusement, he leaned over the table and got way too close to my face- I could smell the Beefeaters Gin on his breath. He hurled his gear questions at me, wearing the agitated expression of a mobster who’d just found out I’d been an undercover FBI informant all along. My feelings of having escaped the NAMMness of it all quickly disappeared. The conversation more or less went along the lines of this:

DRUNK AMP TECHNICIAN:, You said you love your Marshall Mode IV amp. LOVE! Wanna know why!

ME: When did I say that?

DAT: I saw this thing on-online, this gear rundown thing. You said “I LOVE it! It’s the best amp Marshall’s ever made!” Why is that? I’ll make you a better amp!”

ME: I’m sure you can. Look, I might have said it was the best for touring, not necessarily the best for the studio. Uh…I think you’re taking what I said out of context, let me explain what I…

DAT: NO, it’s exactly what you said! You said ‘I LOVE it! It’s the best Marshall’s ever made!” What is it?! Tell me why you like the sound!

ME: Listen, if we had the rig in front of us, I could point out sounds I’m able to get that I like. But I’m not a tech, I can’t describe the EQ or anything, especially here at the bar where I’m just trying to chill out. It’s been a long day and I’m just…

DAT: Tell me WHY you said you LOVE IT!

ME: :.Did I really say…

DAT: You said I LOVE IT! I LOVE MY MARSHALL MODE IV!! That’s what you said! Tell me what you love about it! I have to know!

The conversation went around in circles for a few more minutes until he abruptly ran to the bar one last drink, giving us the chance to escape. I’d was literally saved by the bell as Sue, the bartender, gave several clangs and cried out: “LAST CALL!” It was one of the few times in my life I was happy to hear those two words.

65 Responses to POST NAMM PROG-NOSIS

  1. Between Tom's pictures and your over-view, I didn't have to miss NAMM so so much! This is great; laughed out loud several times… thanks for sharing your colorfully detailed stories, Alex!! Francine

    • So glad you enjoyed, Francine. It is great to be able to take all that was in my head from those insane four days and use that to bring you there. And this way, no hassles of travel, tiredness and or drunk amp techs!

  2. who says Americans don't “get” sarcasm and irony then? 😉 Enjoyed reading this as per usual Alex, is it Miss Julietta Randall you're referring to btw?

    • Thank you. Clearly some of us do get it, some of us don't. I feel more like a citizen of the world myself. And you are correct, that would be the one, the only, the adorable Miss Julietta Randall.

      • yep, generalisations are purely that. Out of curiosity, as a “citizen of the world”, what does the word “home” mean to you then (beyond the obvious bricks and mortar)?

        • Home to me is anywhere you're trying to get to at the end of the night. It could be your place of residence, hotel room, tour bus bunk…anywhere you have the stuff you need for the next day.

          • Another great Namm story…sounds like a fun time…luv the yngwie story..though im not a muscian..he never really did much for me..i can picture him up there busting out of his clothes..playing the gutair over his head…lol!!! Luv the boob lady story too….hopefully someone will post that pic.;)..well at least u didnt have to throw any girls out of your room this year…lol!! Take care,hope to see you perform with the trio in Nyc soon:)

  3. I apreciate when an artist knows to be old with dignity, dont forgot your past, but accept that some thing not is more possible as years ago ! I dont imagine David Lee roth jumpping today ! an exemple. Yngwie continue killer on guitar but not need jump as a monkey. Whatever, today the “velocity” is a question that make the eyes of newcomers shinning different.

    Hahahahah…after sounds, noise,guitars,hookers,big breasts,nice music, fans, satisfaction with your show…Well…do you already discovered why do you love your marshall?

    See the good side: the NAMM always renewing itself: this year the “Drama Girl” give place for “drunk tech” !

    • I think of Tom Jones is an example of someone whose been able to do the same act while aging gracefully, poking fun at himself in films, doing Lenny Kravitz songs, etc… He does a few of the same moves, women still throw underwear, but he's in on the joke, not the butt of it. You have to be able to step outside of your presentation and look at yourself objectively, be your own manager/consultant. I understand that's really difficult for some artists to do, such as Yngwie.

      As far as the Marshall, I'm still using it, however I'm working with Budda, who makes my jazz amp, on coming up with a signature amp to replace it. And I plan to 'love' it even more!

      Drunk Tech replaces Drama Girl…good observation… : )

  4. Sometimes it's hard to watch when an aging musician or band seems to be stuck in the 80's, but on the other hand, I've found that it can be the best fun I've had in a long time…..I probably would have been one of those people in Yngwie's audience “eating it up”…LOL!!

    I really enjoy reading all of your blogs, but definitely love these funny glimpses into the music biz the best…..keep 'em coming & thanks for sharing!

    • BTW – I happened to see your twitter post about Chuck pushing over the amps…are you talking about the Megaforce 5th anniversary show? I would love to hear that story – I was at that show. In fact, I gave you a recording of the show & always wondered if you ever got a chance to listen to it (I know people must give you CD's to listen to all the time)

      • Glad you enjoy. There are so many stories to tell that if I didn't write them down, I'd probably end up in a bar somewhere spouting them out to all within earshot. It's much healthier to write them down….

        And yes, the 5th Anniversary story is written down. Saving that one for my memoir.

        Sorry, I haven't listened to the CD, you're right, if I listened to all the CD's people give me, I'd never get anything done!

  5. Your NAMM stories make me want to go so bad. Wish they'd do it in the Dallas area some time. I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Malmsteen perform on an outdoor stage at the yearly Dallas International Guitar Festival, and you nailed it Alex. This particular time he did have a backing track! But damn that guy can play. I put my daughter on my shoulders so she could see the spectacle and I can only imagine what was going through through her ten year old (at the time) mind. Me and my buddy just looked at each other and shook our heads in amazement about both his playing and at the douchbaggerry on display. I didn't think of Elvis at the time but that is dead on. I saw the vid the drunk amp tech was grilling you about, and you did express admiration toward the Mode Four, but not over the top. Just how it was a great metal amp that most people didn't take the time to get dialed in correctly and voiced your displeasure that Marshall discontinued it. You made me want one really bad!

    • Almost forgot, regarding the pic of you and Phil, He's been one of my favorite guitar players since I was a sixth grader in '83 so I can relate to how you must have felt getting to hang with him. That black Ibanez Destroyer he played back then was so badass. It is cool to see guitarists that I really admire hanging out together.

      • Yeah, it was cool to talk to Phil. Really nice guy, good sense of humor. I don't remember raving about the Mode IV at the level this guy seemed to think I did, but he was drunk. I do think the Mode IV has some features, like the boost button, that should be on more amps. I had Elvis on the brain since I recently hung with comedian Tom Rhodes, who has a great routine about how Elvis is a metaphor for America: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  6. This is a very entertaining read. I laughed out loud. I hope to see one of those pictures of you and “Boob Girl” LOL!

  7. Almost forgot, regarding the pic of you and Phil, He's been one of my favorite guitar players since I was a sixth grader in '83 so I can relate to how you must have felt getting to hang with him. That black Ibanez Destroyer he played back then was so badass. It is cool to see guitarists that I really admire hanging out together.

      • I just found the pic. You're right, it is a hoot(er) LOL! As crazy as this sounds, seeing that pic has been one of the more pleasant experiences I've had today – I've had a rotten day and at least the pic made me laugh 🙂

  8. have you ever been to Yngwie show before ? back in 80's ?
    he is a showman & entertainer just like Steve Vai, at least he knows what he's doing better than Herman Li *(Not LEE)
    it's funny that you label DragonForce as band that tries “inserting humor, creativity and cleverness into their presentation of flawless, hyper-speed guitar playing” !!! they are a fake band for god's sake! I had a talk with a transcriber who works for Alfred music publishing company and done couple of their books, including Dethklok's tab book, and he told me that DragonForce is a studio band.and they do all their tricks in studio for the album but they can't pull it live !

    Herman Li http://www.youtube.com/watch?v… seriously ?

    YNGWIE LIVE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    • Thanks for the comment (and the spellcheck). I did see Yngwie back in the day, I was a huge fan. And I do think some of what he does, as in that clip, is astounding. But his shows, at least the ones I've seen recently, need to be paced better. Every song is like a highlight/finale moment and it wears thin after a while, as does his shtick. At least Vai's show isn't mimicking what he did in the 80's.

      On a purely entertainment level- I was more entertained when I saw Dragonforce. Everyone there would say they did pull it off live. Not saying they're better guitarists than Yngwie and I can't speak for Herman, but I don't think he'd ever compare himself to Yngwie. I don't get the impression of he thinks he's as good as some fans think he is.

      Its hard to compare those videos since one is in concert, one is a lesson. It is a great clip of Yngwie, sure. I do know that there are a few of those lesson videos of me that I'm not proud of. The most watched video of me on YouTube I say 'I'm Alex Skolnick And I'll Bet You Can't Play This.” I would never say that, but its what they told me to say. There's another one where I was made to play along with a horrible backing track I could barely play to. Not wanting to be 'difficult' I just went along with it in both cases. Never again! I'm no diva, but from now on, if I get an awkward feeling about something, I'm not doing it! I”m just saying, it's hard to judge someone from one YouTube vid.

  9. Another nice and amusing post.
    It was in fact a tremendous amount of boobs….and I guess everyone at the show spotted her. I first came across this Silly Lady at the Fender booth. I actually saw guys chasing her for a picture and had a laugh watching the whole scene. The second time I saw her was the one you just mentioned! I'm sure she was the talk of the day among male attendees?!…
    That guitar/sound tech must have been a pain! Is there any point to arguing about tone? Each musician has it's own and it's nobody's business. It is as subjective as art!
    This year was my very first time at the NAMM show, I loved it and had a great time. You're quite right, it is overwhelming, too much of everything in one place: All things Rock'n'Roll.
    Being a huge fan of Def Leppard myself, I can't help but love your picture with Phil Collen, he's such a nice guy, so very British and at his age he is so fit, unlike Yngwie.
    Concerning your concert at the Marriot, I'm particularly fond of the new songs, “Bollywood Jam” being my favourite, simply brilliant. I sat quietly at the front row just listening, as usual, and I noticed that you have two great pedals on your rig (Carbon Copy and Tube Screamer). After the concert I was feeling jet legged so went for sleep.
    Just now, I was fiddling around with my new guitar and thinking to myself that, there are moments in life that are truly unforgettable. For me, the NAMM show was one of them. Thanks for being part of it.

    • It was nice to meet you there. I'm glad you survived your first NAMM… Sometimes I look back at my posts from NAMM, and say to myself, 'Nobody's ever going to believe this.' So its great to get a post from someone saying 'You're right. That's exactly how it is.' Yes, Phil was really nice, down to Earth, especially for someone from such a famous band. Great that you caught the show. Wait till you see the video for 'Bollywood.' I don't want to give it away, but its going to surprise a lot of people. So glad you're happy with your new AS Signature Heritage. Enjoy!

      Alex

      PS Thank you for the e-mail by the way, I tried to reply but it got sent back.

      • Too bad you could not reply but my server has been down a couple of days back. I'm eager too see the video for “Bollywood Jam”. Don't tell me you have the likes of Shahrukh Khan staring on you video? Just kidding!
        Good luck for your projects and hope to see you in Portugal with Testament.

    • Ironically, he's a very good amp builder/tech. But at this event, people tend to get a bit self-righteous about their own products. When you add alcohol and the loose social atmosphere at the end of a long hard day, anything can happen.

  10. Back stage pass….thats what your stories read like!Alex, with all that is going on in the world, I like the idea of business as usual, in the best way to beat the status quo, being a Rock Star. Beyond the Boobs and bombarding ( drunk) fans, you manage to salt us with your wit and wisdom as only you can do, its refreshing, even if it doesn't align perfectly with the conformers of the scene.
    I just have two questions, what were you thinking in that photo of you and Mr. Lynch in the NAMM photos?, and would you consider writing a ” You might be a rock star if..” In a ( don't take yourself so seriously) fun for all to laugh at the life of the hardworking musician. I look forward to more amazing posts and life stories as only you can tell it. Stay real.

    • When you're backstage, onstage, at NAMM or whatever the case may be, everything is happening in real time and you're supposed to just take it all in as 'normal.' Many who are in the music world just accept it all as normal. But so much of the behavior is far from normal, in fact much of it is downright bizarre! Not necessarily bad…just odd. So it helps me a lot to be able to share these things with laymen and laywomen, simply because I tend to view all these things more as a layperson than a jaded music biz type.

      If you mean the picture of me and George from the Seymour website, it was one of those unfortunate moments where there was more than one photographer- he's looking at the official one, I'm looking into someone else's camera. So it appears I'm looking away but I'm just accomodating a fan photo.. What was I thinking? I was remembering slaving away to learn all his guitar solos from 'Under Lock And Key” Ridiculously good solos, probably the best in 'LA Rock' at that time, along with Warren Di Martini. Good idea to write a 'You might be.' I'll think about it. Thanks for the thought!

  11. Loved the new entry! It's funny as soon as I got done reading this, I went to go check my mail and in it was the newest Guitar Player magazine. Guess who was on the cover “unleashing the fury”? He had his flowing black pirate shirt and 80s' rapper gold chains and everything. Small world.

    • Thanks. Its funny because when I posted my laptop story on Twitter right after it first happened, I got a lot of tweets asking 'Did you unleash the fury?' or 'Unleash the fury Alex, LOL!' Somehow I'd never heard that story. So I Googled 'Yngwie' and 'Unleash the fury' and got filled in. What an insane story. It kind of explains the type of character he is, adding to his presentation. I hear there is audio of that Yngwie incident on-line which I look forward to listening to.

      • Yep, the audio is out there. I have it somewhere and it's really funny. In Yngwie's defense he was a good sport about it. Also in the Guitar Player interview he is still that guy you described. I'm not sure I have ever seen a picture of that guy in some sweats or something. He must own a leather pants manufacturer or at least endorse them!

  12. Sounds like you had a good time for the most part.Hanging with Adrian must have been a blast,I met him a couple of years ago in Tampa what a great guy. The Adrian Belew power Trio and the AST are responsible for 2 of my favorite shows over the last few years. The ABPT at Skippers Smokehouse in Tampa and the AST at Earthdance in Sarasota.And besides who wouldnt enjoy an AST show. I did check out the Rollins video great stuff . Thanks for sharing.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    • I remember the Earthdance show- that was a real blast. The energy there just took us someplace else. I actually quoted one of the licks from our funk jam in a song from the new album, which by the way, comes out Mar. 29th. I've never heard Adrian live but I'm seriously looking forward to it.

  13. What an amusing, behind, creative, descriptive, enjoyable, fun, gratifying,honest,, insightful,jocular,knowing,laughable,mindful,novel,observant, personal, quaint,revealing,sublime,telling,unique,virtual,well-done story! Your words are like a virtual post card of your visit to NAMM. A show and tell of your your experience there with absorbing descriptions about the collection of special people and moments. Exposing us to this place and venture where the nature is anything but a vacuum, but plenty full of interesting things, characters, situations, and sounds. And, your circumstantial narrative and profile of them, their attributes and effects on you is an entertaining read on all standout points; Boobies(head-size), Huckabees( nice bass), Wanabees(lookalikes etc.) and Formidables(Adrian,Phil) some of which I could and couldn't get behind. Thank You for taking us there with you, retrospectively, and conveying your memorable moments in your Alex- gifted, memorable way, and letting us drop in on your world for a bit :))

    • Thank you, your comment is a great read in itself. I especially like this: “Boobies, Huckabees and Wanabees” Wish I'd thought of that. : )

      • Your 'Prognosis' captures the culture and sense of the place, a 'NAMM-sense” of unfolding fun to read, and, filling, like your playing, Ty

      • haha! Oh, you gave plenty of warning… a year in advance. Even though I went to NAMM on short notice, like, 6 hours short notice. I really did enjoy it though. Learned quite a bit. Maybe next year when I go I won't be sick from an abrupt diet chance and lack of sleep.. and I'll *really* be able to enjoy the experience. =P

  14. GREAT post Alex! Loved the alphabetized paragraph of NAMM nouns. It seemed as if you had a whirlwind of a schedule at NAMM. Product demos, performances, events, appearances, etc. It was great talking with you at the Heritage booth. I wish we could have talked more, but I understand the craziness. I can only take so much of the convention in one day, but love the performances and bands at the hotels during and after the show. I'm sorry you run into quite a few freaks, but I guess it's the nature of the business.

    • Yes, that paragraph pretty much captures the state of my brain after a few hours on the convention floor. Sorry time was limited at the booths. And I hear you about only being able to take so much. When you put that many thousands of people in one place, especially music people, its bound to get a little draining. Overall, I truly enjoy NAMM, but hey, it is a little bizarre at times and I find that side just as interesting to write about as the music stuff.

      • I absolutely agree with you, but some of these individuals were pretty scary-odd. I'm loving the uniqueness, but I've never seen anything like it, all in one place at one time.

  15. Great write-up on a NAMM experience, so totally on-target. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting D.L. guy Phil C. at one of the booths downstairs. And I saw the flashy Mr. Yngwie M. doing his signing over at the Marshall Amp. area, but I didn't feel up for wasting precious time waiting in that insane long line just to get his signature on something. Instead, I unexpectedly stumbled across you & George L. over at the S-D booth instead, and got a great “sandwich” picture with you two as a result.

    And about the chick with the big ta-tahs–is that the same one who cornered you at the Hilton lobby bar Saturday night? I recall that I saw her talking to you, and it looked to me like you just wanted to get the heck out of there, even though you were being polite & cordial with her! My friend and I saw you, and I reeled my friend back to introduce her to you–I wanted to say hey to you again as it was. I let this particular boob girl finish her schpeil with you–I still think the vibe/look on your face at the time was priceless! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.

    • Thanks for coming by the SD booth and saying hi. And you're right, that was absolutely the one from the bar (who else?). See photo above. Glad you enjoyed the post and it's good to have another witness to all this!

  16. Alex, you set the tone for my playing and have been my greatest influence ever since I was a kid listening to those wicked arpeggios all over the New Order… I wore out that transcription book… so no disrespect intended please… but that drunk tech was correct, and honestly I was shocked when you said it too … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

    • Sorry but what's the point in discussing one's tone?!
      Yes, Alex did say that he loves the Mode Four, so what, an amp is a personal choice!… Don't you love your amp?
      It's a nonsense to be arguing or even commenting on this subject.

    • I appreciate the compliments but, no disrespect intended, can't understand why anyone would be 'shocked.' That amp, when dialed in properly, sounds really, really great. Everyone who's heard me with it in person, whether in concert or soundcheck seems to agree.

  17. Hey Alex, seems like quite a NAMM it was! Glad you had the time to share the experience with us, not all famous musicians are willing to! Pretty funny that tech story, guess you kind of see a bit of everything in this crazy world, haha. Say, I know you probably hear this all the time, and I'll just be another one saying it… but nonetheless, you sir are my inspiration when it comes to pick up a guitar in one of those days that you feel you can't pull anything out of it. All I have to do is hear any solo of yours, (In this case, Testament's)and off i go all thrilled by your amazing pinched harmonics waving in bending awesomeness. I must say, keep going man, just keep going. Any chance for a Portugal visit, soon? (:

    Take care!

    Dave / http://www.myspace.com/adamantinehear...

    • Thanks. At this point, its hard to imagine not sharing these experiences. So many of these things must be seen to be believed. Capturing them in writing makes them even more worthwhile. And since NAMM is something not everyone gets to go to, it's an honor to be able to bring it to others, especially from my perspective. I always love going to Portugal, especially Porto. So no plans yet, but I'm hoping for an opportunity to come up…

      • Thanks for replying! I do enjoy, like so many others, reading all these updates, it really shows how much you care about who follows your work and is a fan of yours. Well, i'm glad to read that, i'm from Lisbon but love Porto aswell. Hope all is doing well on your new Testament album, and maybe a Portugal gig might come with it? Haha, i'll be waiting along with so many other fans.

        Cheers ,

        Dave/ http://www.myspace.com/adamantinehear...

    • He told me it was a pleasure meeting Henry and they had a great time. It was nothing like Henry's spoken word routine, which, as I'd always figured, is a performance based, poetic reinterpretation of an actual event. Adrian is such a warm, easygoing guy, I just could never picture him saying 'Yes, I know… I'm Adrian Belew, you're Henry Rollins, do not touch me, do not slime me, do not ask me about 'that band.' Go go go.”

  18. How great to be able to experiance NAMM throught your blog ! I was sad I missed it but through your stories I feel like I was there with you
    Great Stories!
    P.S I saw Ingwie at G3 a few years back , I laughed more then I ever have at a gig . He is still a master guitarist but I agree on the show .

    • A little late seeing your comment, as the next NAMM approaches. But glad you enjoy. Let's see what this one brings…

  19. […] #split {}#single {}#splitalign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#singlealign {margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;}#splittitlebox {text-align: center;}#singletitlebox {text-align: center;}.linkboxtext {line-height: 1.4em;}.linkboxcontainer {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;background-color:#eeeeee;border-color:#000000;border-width:0px; border-style:solid;}.linkboxdisplay {padding: 7px 7px 7px 7px;}.linkboxdisplay td {text-align: center;}.linkboxdisplay a:link {text-decoration: none;}.linkboxdisplay a:hover {text-decoration: underline;} function opensingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = ''; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = 'none'; } function closesingledropdown() { document.getElementById('singletablelinks').style.display = 'none'; document.getElementById('singlemouse').style.display = ''; } My NAMM Experience by Alison CohenPOST NAMM PROG-NOSIS – Alex Skolnick Official Website […]

  20. Hereing the amp guy story is funny but I bet it was very uncomfortable at the time. I hope you look back on it and laugh now 😛 and I hope you don't have a phobia of amp techs now xD

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