An unlikely (yet hilarious) trio. Be patient. It only gets funnier.
Me: So why can’t Mommy and I play with your stuffed animals?
Sophia: (exasperated sigh) Because you’re adults! Adults don’t need toys – money is your toys!
I know many of you are making the trip down to NAMM this weekend, and for many of you APU students, it will be your first trip. You should know that NAMM is a vapid, soulless wretch of a trade show, carefully designed to make you feel alone in the world and bereft of value, not unlike the Amsterdam redlight district. It’s also the biggest music nerd field trip of the year, so enjoy!
To help you navigate the treacherous waters of the trade show, here are a few guidelines.
WHAT TO WEAR
Don’t wear swag. Just don’t do it. Unless you’re getting paid to be there, and the company you’re repp-ing insists, don’t drag out that awesome Pearl Drums shirt to shown everyone that you’re a drummer. Everyone there is a drummer.
The only exceptions to this rule are faded Fender swag (Fender has reached a level of awesome that transcends all rules) and vintage swag (if you have an emagic logo cap from the late 1980’s, do it!).
Everyone else, there are three NAMM outfits.
1) Black t-shirt, jeans, TOMS shoes. This is the standard outfit for anyone under 30 who has no reason to be there, but bribed their local music store for extra passes.
2) Rockstar casual, dark sunglasses. This outfit will be worn by people you recognize from their one hit 10 years ago, who are there to play on small stages in front of banners promoting the instruments they are shilling, while they try desperately to figure out what catastrophic career decisions led them to this point.
3) Polo, khakis, dirty tennis shoes. These are the people who actually make the gear and write the software.
Nobody there cares who you are or what you do. Don’t let that stop you from passing out your demo and card to everyone wearing outfit #2 or #3. If you’re looking for an endorsement deal, by all means, bring your Grammy with you.
SWAG VS. GEAR
If it’s on a table in a bowl, it’s swag.
If it’s on a table and bolted down, it’s gear.
If it’s being handed to you, it’s swag.
If it’s being handed to you and it’s plugged in, it’s gear.
If it’s edible, it’s swag.
If it’s wearable, it’s swag.
If it’s stickable, it’s swag.
If it’s edible, wearable, and stickable, it’s probably some new bread-based modeling guitar from Line 6. It’s gear.
If it’s swag, take it.
If it’s gear … take it. Just don’t get caught. If you do get caught, see the section below titled “EYE CONTACT”.
If you are handed an instrument to play at any point during the show, please show taste and musical discretion. Ask yourself this question, “Is there perhaps some way I can test the expressive tone of this new guitar string polish without resorting to an Yngwie Malmsteen solo?”
THE BACK ROOMS
Everything interesting at NAMM happens in back rooms that you are not allowed to enter, and that you probably can’t even find. This thought will haunt you throughout the entire show.
If you are wandering through the exhibit halls and you happen to see someone who looks like your music tech prof, wait patiently for him to make eye contact, and then respond with a subtle head nod of recognition. Then, do not go over and interrupt him because, dude, we’re not gonna hang out.
When the shows shuts down for the night, the sickest players on earth pack into the clubs and theaters surrounding the convention, and music gets made. This is where you want to be. Do anything, anything you can to get into these shows. Bribe the Yamaha drum guys to find out where the superband session is happening, sneak in to the club through the kitchen, stand against the back wall the whole time if you have to. You will hear things that you didn’t think humans could do. It will be staggering. Thank me later.
These are the rules. Enjoy NAMM.
Some students and I were joking about how bad most professors are at giving lectures. They said that you could tell how well a lecture would go based on the introduction and the first slide.
So, in continuation of that joke, this post is the first semi-demi-annual contest, “Today’s Lecture Is … ” Post your rambling intro, and then the title of the first powerpoint slide, to what you would consider the worst lecture ever.
Before we begin today’s lecture, I’d like to take just a few minutes to explain the grammatical differences between “who” and “whom”. I brought a brief powerpoint presentation, If someone could just hit the lights …
… and, there we go. Slide one:
The Linguistic History of Objective Cases, part 1: Sumaria
Drunk History. (Warning: F-bombs.)
If you’re planning to ditch my class, not turn in any homework, then show up to the study session for the exam only to realize that you don’t know any of the material and are doomed to fail, decide to email me to let me know that you’ve had the swine flu and have been bed-ridden for the past two weeks and can you please take the exam late, please take just a minute to modify your facebook account to remove photos of you drinking heavily with friends for 5 consecutive nights last week.
Dear Flash Forward,
I really want to like your show. I love the premise. Love the casting. Seriously. Want to love it.
But a high-stakes poker game for the fate of the world? Really? That’s your big idea for this last week? Did you fire the writers and hire Ms. Peterson’s 9th-grade creative writing class to take over? Are we going to find out next week that the blackout was caused by emo vampires? Guest appearance by the Jonas Brothers to rock out at someone’s backyard party?
Love (but not in that way),
A Hesitant Fan
Overheard in the car this morning:
Sophia (on her “cell” phone): “Ugh! I can’t believe it!”
Us: “What’s the matter Soph?”
S: “They want me to come down and go to that doctor’s appointment. But that’s not my job! I’m not a Doctor, I’m an ARTIST, people!”
Priceless. Thought it’d give you a chuckle.
What are some of your favorite overheards? Need not be kid related.
In case you ever need to know, this is how you play triplets.
Ever wonder what our brilliant and talented students do with all of the crazy music skills that we force-feed them? Crap like this (the keyboardist for the summer Celebration tour did this):
We’re recording an album this week, of the touring small group from APU. It’s going to be pretty good.
We’re doing one song that’s a deep R&B, hip-hop groove. In pre-production, I built this massive phat 808 electronic kit loop. We tracking scratch vocals yesterday, and the group went nuts over the loop. I mean, seriously nuts.
I guess they didn’t realize that all the great hip-hop songs are actually programmed by middle-aged white guys living in the suburbs.get-on-up-loops.mp3
Any long term relationship has it’s own internal language, and that includes awesome long-standing jokes. I am a firm believer that if something is funny once, it is hilariousness when you’re still throwing it out there 10 years later.
So, the thing about Gretchen is that she remembers every lyric to every song, even songs she’s only heard once. I can’t remember the words to any songs, even songs I just lead the congregation through in worship, even songs I wrote and recorded and sang 50 times.
So, of course, one of my favorite things to do is start the first line of a song, and then immediately veer off into left field, just making up lyrics as I go along.
When we were dating, she thought it was cute. When we were dating a little longer, it was a little less cute. Then we got married, and she would just groan at me. This continued for like 7 years. Then, we had a pair of little ankle-biters. Sophia is sharp enough now to get what I’m doing, and she falls of the chair laughing, then says, “Nooooooo, Dadddddyyyyy!” In almost exactly the same exasperated tone that my wife uses. It’s hilarious.
So, I’m firmly convinced that this will be the running family gag for, like, the next 50 years. Sorry babe.
What about you all? Any long-standing gags that keep coming back around, 10 years in?
Some language (f-bombs), but laugh-out-loud funny for anyone who has ever seen a Ken Burns documentary. The middle-aged white hippie academic expert is just awesome.
Have a happy Friday. Here, this should help.
Michael Bay Eating Cereal.