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The NAMM Convention Kicks Off in Southern California (VIDEO)

Charles Epting

The 2012 NAMM Show got underway on Thursday, Jan. 19, in Anaheim, Calif. With more than 1,500 exhibitors filling the show floor, visitors from around the world were treated, as they are every year, to a preview of some of the hottest new products, demos and performances in the industry.

Perhaps the largest music trade show in the world, NAMM is not open to the public – only to employees of the exhibiting manufacturers and/or NAMM member retailers and distributors, along with selected members of the press.

This week, Noisecreep will take you inside the show for an exclusive look at the convention. For music fans, it’s a bit of a feeding frenzy. Aside from the chance to test new technologies, thousands of instruments and more, NAMM is also a chance to rub shoulders with hundreds of well-known musicians who are there making appearances, but also checking out the gear themselves.

Within just several minutes after arriving on Thursday morning, Noisecreep bumped into Mike Portnoy, Rudy Sarzo and Billy Sheehan – and the day had not even started yet.

Dozens (if not hundreds) of big-name autograph signings are scheduled over the course of the four-day show, with names ranging from Tommy Lee and Dave Navarro to Avenged Sevenfold and Anthrax.

Watch ‘NAMM: Day One’ Video

When Noisecreep took a break in the Seymour Duncan Pickups booth (where guitarist Mike Campese was playing a beautiful set featuring cuts from his latest CD, ‘Electric City’), we ended up chatting with famed producer Jack Douglas, who was busy texting with Steven Tyler and Joe Perry about the new Aerosmith record they are finishing up right now.

It’s just that kind of show – where if you even blink you might miss something. In the video we shot for this piece, that’s Earl Slick of David Bowie and New York Dolls fame – just one of many familiar, iconic faces that seem to pop up every few feet.

(below: Craig Goldy, former guitarist for Dio, Rough Cutt, Guiffria)

Charles Epting

Many of the booths also feature artists performances; a chance to witness big-name talent playing not in an arena – but just several feet away. The Pearl area typically features a number of famous drum sets and this year was no different. There on display was Tommy Lee’s “Roller Coaster” kit (seen at the top of the story) and Mike Mangini‘s drum set up from his debut Dream Theater tour last year.

While the show covers most genres of music, metal is heavily represented by many of the gear companies, and many musicians making appearances including members of Slipknot, Slayer, Black Sabbath and dozens more. In the next couple of days we hope to run a few of the guys (and gals) down for some exclusive interviews and photos that you’ll only see here on Noisecreep.

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