Tag Archives: Vietnam

NAMM

NAMM stands for National Association of Music Merchants. The other day when I said to Sarah that I had just gotten back from NAMM, she gave me a big cocked eyebrow. No, not Nam, NAMM.

Regrading Vietnam, I was lucky to get a high draft number in 1971. It was only the first or second year of the numbers and the troop levels were already being drawn down from their maximum. My friend Bruce had a low number – around 20 or 30, if I recall correctly. The options were to allow yourself to be drafted for two years, and likely go to Vietnam, or enlist for three years and have some control over where you were assigned. Both sounded like forever to my 18 year old self. Bruce enlisted and went to Germany and we lost touch with each other. I’ve been forever sorry for that.

I think the estimated highest number that was expected to be drafted that year was to be around 100 and my number was around 175 so I was clear. I had my CO papers ready though.

I first went to the NAMM show two years ago with my colleague Jack V. Neither of us are really the right type of person the show is designed for, but then neither are many other attendees. Originally intended for guitar, bass, keyboard and drum dealers, NAMM has morphed into a huge exhibition of all that plus all the accessories that are needed for today’s rock musicians: effects pedals, amplifiers, straps, picks, cables . . .

In addition to all that, the Audio Engineering Society has now piggy-backed onto NAMM and now there is a significant pro audio presence among the exhibitors. Jack and I were interested in that, of course, but we also wanted to see the guitars (Chris) and keyboards (Jack).

This year, Jack was supposed to go with me but he had some last minute work issues that could not be avoided so I went by myself. Luckily, our mutual friend Uwe W. was in Southern California to visit friends and was able to join me at the show.

Uwe and I had a grand time walking back and forth through the huge expo halls mostly just gawking at everything. Neither of us had any real interest in purchasing anything either for us or for our employers. Because I agreed to have my picture taken at one booth, I was given a T-shirt and later won a guitar cable. We saw a few people we knew, but only because we went to the booth of the company that employed them. Even getting the two of us together by texts and phone calls took almost a half hour.

It was a long day. I flew out of Oakland at 8:30 am which meant getting out of bed at 5:30 to make BART to go across the bay in time for security and all that. Going home, I left the show for the John Wayne Airport (JWA) at about 5:30 pm for a 9 pm flight. I had seen all I could and didn’t want to miss my flight due to transport issues. I ate dinner in the airport then had to wait another hour for my flight. BART and the drive home took until about 11:30 pm.

The show was interesting and fun but getting in and out of the convention center was very difficult. There were no shuttles from the airport to the show so everyone was trying to park their cars in the garage. There was no place for the taxis to drop people off. They had to wait in lines along the street with all the other cars to get close.

Maybe in two more years . . .