NAMM is a place where people whose paths rarely cross anywhere else are able to get together. Here's a great shot of the Hudson Music "family," the folks behind the popular instructional drum videos and the artists who star in them.From left (standing): Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater, "Uncle" Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, monster clinician Thomas Lang, metal wizard Derek Roddy, [company co-founder] Rob "Papa" Wallis, Pink's Mark Schulman, rock legend Carmine Appice, percussion guru Pete Lockett, [company co-founder] Paul "Papa" Siegel, and the great Steve Smith.
Assistant Editor Andrew Lentz were debating tonight who was the best act at NAMM. His choice: Chris Coleman's impromptu display at the Sonor booth. I can't dispute that, because though there were tons of great demos and concerts in the vicinity of NAMM, Chris Coleman is a force of nature on the drums. But my favorite is always whatever is most surprising. Walking through the show late Saturday I came across the group Raining Jane performing on the Sennheiser Microphones stage. I'd never heard them before but the eclectic quartet was knocking it out with just acoustic guitar, cello, bass and drummer Mona Tavakoli on cajon. Not just playing cajon, but whacking, scraping and coaxing big drum sounds from it, all whiile singing wildly interwoven backup vocals. There's nothing like hearing musicians with passion and the tight timing that comes from playing together for a long time.