I just got back from a whrirlwind trip to Ca for the NAMM show. To me it's more of a social event than anything else. Can you really check out gear and really know what's going on in the middle of a couple of hundred thousand people? Its numbing and overwhelming at times. I saw some great old friends and met some new ones. You see in our new days of social media where you may never meet your "friends" NAMM actually brings people from all over the world to be in one place for 4 days and at times it's overwhelming for the senses. There is still something important about meeting people in person and having them get to know you for real. This past weekend I met many who were FB friends and were very kind and gracious when we met. Here are some thoughts. I'm not going to go on forever.
1- It's truly great to see old friends and to still see many of us are still here after so many years. It is also sobering to know that we've also lost many friends. people you would see every year have gone. The Reality of life. That is why if I'm enthusiastic to see you-I really am. It's also great to see people who have really supported my work over the years. Whether you gave me something for an endorsement or a great price, you had confidence in me using your products. I hope I gave something back. Young folks should know to enjoy life but to also know that life flys by-make your decisions work for you. I randomly met some very nice people,they are out there!
2- The musical landscape really is changing with the absolute take over of EDM. There were so many DJ products and so many booths with guys all doing the same thing. We are looking at a market where finally you really don't have to know anything about music. In reality it is a technological evolution but when you see it taking over you say to yourself "is there any value to be a musician and learn ones craft? " It's really interesting how the big companies are still being very generic in what they make. They say they are innovating but they are basically doing refreshes on their instruments with some tweaks.I applaud companies like Dave Smith, Moog, Nord, Arturia (sorry if I forgot one) who march to the beat of their own drummer. They are getting the rewards for being original and building on their strengths. These companies are making it with great products and smart business. I love the Pianos and keyboards that Nord makes,great quality. Dave Smith has let us know that Analog is still the best sounding form of Synthesis. Warm and fat. I also look and see companies I know may not make it because more than anything there is no buzz-Buzz is what it's about at the show
3-Many musicians aren't making a lot of $ these days. The prices for food,water in the convention center are crazy. Enter the food truck,where for $10 you got a great lunch. Individual business owners with a great talent for food are reaping the rewards of their originality.
4-I played some incredible Pianos by Yamaha,Fazzioli. The Yamaha's were stunning. So why am I very upset-I am because there are many artists (myself included) who have put many years into our craft. I sit down at a magnificent instrument and feel like it is talking to me. I then realize that in my lifetime I will probably not be able to afford an instrument like this. One that truly inspires. The companies don't care they make it for the elite who have the $. I'm sure some concert halls and a few can afford them but I'm also sure some very wealthy people who can't play buy it for decoration in their homes. This is my negative comment and if I am bitter it is about a subject like this. It is hard to take,especially after you have sat at one of these instruments and played them.
5-Talking about pianos-There are some killer,virtual pianos out there. I saw some great Physical modeling programs and a few hardware pieces that are truly amazing. The computer has opened up so many possibilities. The virtual orchestras available are truly stunning. if you spend the time you can really pull the orchestra off. The sonics are amazing
6-It seems like everybody is making beats. Are there that many possibilities to make new beats or are they just recycling grooves with new sounds?
7-It always amazes me how many musicians just sit at an instrument and start to play music with so many notes to flash their chops,whether it's drums or piano,guitar-do they think they are getting discovered at The Namm show?
8-It seems like there is always a tilt towards Rock at the show. From Drums to guitar-why doesn't rock music have a bigger place in the American music scene these days?It used to rule!! it is a fiber of American music. Where are the guitar heros? I really think for that music to take over that is what we are going to need-real guitar hereos.
9-I looked around and said-"do all these people make a living playing music or in a music related business ?". There are so many really great musicians around-Is there going to be work for them in the future?
10-Some observations on California life- Sushi in California-awesome! Fresh salads-The best! The Weather -I love it- I do however have some serious thoughts about the true quality of life for some. It took me 2 1/2 hours on the 405 to get from Santa Monica to Costa Mesa. I think someone who does that everyday without car pooling needs lo re-evaluate how they are living life-Such a stress. I have been on the 405 many times during the last 30 years,but one can watch their life just drift away traveling this road everyday. It is stressful and painful. In a city like NYC you are moving masses of people around on subways buses but on the 405 you are moving huge masses of metal running on fossil fuels with basically one person per car. This was an eye opener for me. I would also say that parents should tell their kids the downside of tattoos.They look great when you are young and tight but nobody stays young (physically) forever and after seeing some 50-60+ with tattoos I can't help but think about living with some of the decisions we make when we are young. Saw a lot of these folks this past weekend
11 - I don't know when I'll make it back to the NAMM show but i never stop learning from these experiences