NAMM 2008 Blog: The stars are out!

NAMM isn't just a gear fest of new tech finery and marketing babble. NAMM's Saturday is the day when the stars - usually of the loud, lairy 'n' heavy variety - arrive to autograph anything thrust in their face by fawning fans.

MusicRadar got its shoulder pads on to muscle in, and who did we find?

Josh Rand of Stone Sour was signing to promote his new Peavey Custom Shop JR Special axe, but we had to miss that as we were waiting for GN'R/Velvet Revolver toughguy Duff McKagan on the Rotosound strings stand. Duff had a smaller scrum that 'his guitar player' Slash (on Friday 18 January), but for a man whose pancreas has actually exploded he dealt with the still-substantial throng like a trooper.

Slayer's Kerry King was back again (Friday, he was signing for Marshall), this time greeting his fans at pickup kings EMG. No wonder his rhythm playing is so tight: the man is constantly working a guitar or pen in his hands. (But it usually seems to be a pen?)

At the Washburn stand, Kiss's Paul Stanley was having a crazy, crazy morning. MusicRadar couldn't anywhere near, even at 10am (he was appearing at noon). We snapped the waiting line of hundreds, but that photo is too boring even for the internet. So we cannot say if he was in full Kiss make-up. Does it matter?

Run upstairs! On the first floor of NAMM, we bump accidentally into Jimi Hendrix's legendary engineer/producer Eddie Kramer on our way to see bass legend Marcus Miller, doing a meet'n'greet for Fender bass fans.

We hung around at Fender, 'cos Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan was next up. Billy has maybe an undeserved rep as being 'awkward'. There was a huge queue, and he finally came out 20 minutes late. But he left the throng smiling and constantly smiled back, too.

Still, delays meant we missed Deftones' Stephen Carpenter and Children Of Bodom's Alexi Laiho flexing fan-love in the ESP booth, as well as Dave Navarro (PRS) and many others. By the time three quarters of Motley Crue turned up (no Tommy Lee, boo!) we realised we'd also missed Stevie Wonder. The only thing we wanted signing by then was our taxi receipt back to the hotel.

By Michael Leonard

The MusicRadar team

MusicRadar is the number 1 website for music makers of all kinds, be they guitarists, drummers, keyboard players, djs or producers...

  • GEAR: We help musicians find the best gear with top-ranking gear round-ups and high- quality, authoritative reviews by a wide team of highly experienced experts.
  • TIPS: We also provide tuition, from bite-sized tips to advanced work-outs and guidance from recognised musicians and stars.
  • STARS: We talk to musicians and stars about their creative processes, and the nuts and bolts of their gear and technique. We give fans an insight into the actual craft of music making that no other music website can.