For those who don’t know me and who I am (which I’m assuming is all but my mate Neal, who I know personally... you know in “real-life” (foreign concept I realise :P) who is in my friends list, and any cyber-stalkers I may have inadvertently picked up around here (mainly consisting of people misunderstanding my second name...no! I didn’t invent the drum! Go away!), I am Daniel Drumm. I am 18, play the instruments and that (guitar, bass, drums), and am all interested in music like...Great! Now the formalities are out of the way I can get to the nub of the reason I’m even bothering you with what I’m sure at this point, using this paragraph as a precedent, you think is, or is going to be, inane drivel.
I am from a small but thriving town in the North of England named York. It’s nice enough, has a decent music scene, and is full of wonderful people, but in the grand scheme of things it’s just over shadowed by other places that are better at doing what it does than it is. A bit like Ringo Starr’s song writing. To this point, a quite significant “adventure”, if you like, that I have decided to undertake recently is to break out of York for a bit to attend the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants: a bloody yeeeowwge music convention) show in Anaheim, California, with my dad’s company (JHS; best known I’d imagine for the “Vintage” brand of guitars, and more recently “Fret-King”...and also Spongebob musical instruments). Now, we Yorkies are a simple (inbred) folk from simple (Podunk) locales, thus making this a big jump culturally and socially, which I felt was worth documenting for the enjoyment of you dear reader. I also thought it might offer you a behind the scenes look at the goings on at music conventions, as I’ll be helping set up the convention stand with my dad and that and talking to the public about guitars, as well as actually “convention-going” myself. I’m sure all will be embellished with pictures, hopefully of me doing cheesy-thumbs-ups next to famous people, but probably just of sweet-ass guitars and stuff, and I guess I just hope you read on.
Now if you’ve survived this far I would congratulate you as a) you haven’t lost the will to live and are still alive, and b) You’ve won a free tube of smarties*. I would also urge you to read on as I document every day of this lovely journey as it comes. Enjoy J!
*Terms & Conditions apply...I could type them however the nub of the matter is that there is no real smarties, just a link to a JPEG with a picture of some smarties. And even they aren’t really smarties, they’re those cheap imitation ones that Vue Cinema buy in bulk and sell for like 3 times the price of actual smarties. I believe they’re called “Brainies”, presumably to avoid copyright, or perhaps as an ironic statement against the people paying 3 quid for 100g of carcinogenic chemicals. Come to think of it “Smarties” does that too.
"I AM NOT FEDERAL AGENT JACK BAUER, BUT THIS IS STILL THE LONGEST DAY OF MY LIFE"
Forgive the tonally sporadic nature of the next piece as it is being written at a point when my head is screaming out that its five in the morning and that I’ve been up for verging on 22 hours straight, after only 4 hours sleep, but the clock - oh cruel mocking clock – on my iPhone coolly points out that its only 20.30 local time. The upshot, of course, is that my title is justified. I’m not Jack Bauer (In fact I’m not even Kiefer Sutherland. I’m not even that guy he played in “Flatliners”...) but by the time it reaches midnight tonight I’ll have been in the same day for 29 hours which as far as I know is the longest day of my life (note to self: Idea just conceived on how to make a never ending season of “24” by setting it on a Geo-asynchronous satellite.. On closer inspection it probably doesn’t work but hey).
Anyway I got up at 4, Taxied to Manchester at 5, planed (not even a word...should have just put “took a plane”) it down to Heathrow at 8.30, from where, at about 12.00 (after about 2 hours of doing sweet FA(A...aeroplane pun there...you like?) for about two hours), there was the mother bitch of an 11 hour flight to LA making a trip of about 20 hours. Strait forward stuff really. I got through customs trouble free as I’d been briefed on what not to say. I find it decidedly ironic that on the advert for California on Brit TV (in which coming to California is eluded to sarcastically as being like a job (for instance a man snowboarding says “we have lots of board meetings” stuff like that)) is beautifully capped by Guv’ner Arnie with the line “When can you start?”, yet if you go through customs and you even mention work, or anything that could be construed as work you’re fucked! Royally!
Any way things were already getting good when I got to the baggage carousel at LAX to get my bag and found myself stood next to none other than Billy Boyd (probably best known to all as miniature, hairy footed “Fool of a Took!” Pippin from the Fantasy, Adventure, Hobb-erotic epic “The Lord of the Rings”, though I’m assured he’s been in other stuff too). I would have gotten a picture for you guys but he was with his family. I’m all for badgering a celebrity when they’ve asked for it (like all the ones that will hopefully be at NAMM will have simply by attending at all) but he was with his family just on holiday so I thought I’d best leave it.
Then was the drive from LAX to the Desert Palms Hotel on the corner of Ketella and Harbour (Ooooh don’t I sound all American!?) in Anaheim. Now, I’m not a prejudice person, and I was ready have all my preconceptions of this lovely place smashed to pieces, but when your transport is driven an underpaid Mexican fellow and the first Hummer driver you see is wearing a truckers hat, Ray-Bans and actually has no top on, it’s pretty hard. I don’t mean this offensively; it’s natural that there be some adherence to stereotypes, because enough people have to be like that for it to be a stereotype at all. And California of all places is probably one to be cliché heavy. Anyway, I digress.
Reached my hotel did all the important-but-not-so-interesting stuff (unpacking, washing, obtaining the internet to make this blog even possible at all etc.), then went out for my first meal on American soil at a rib house, which I believe is part of a chain, called “Toni Roma’s”. Here I gained two things. Firstly, a new level of understanding as to the obesity problem out here (again, not meant offensively, undeniably there is an issue with it, same as Britain, and much of Europe. Every where’s fat!) as my portions were fucking huge! I had about 3 pints of Pepsi, the second two being brought to me free of charge and without my asking, one side of a pig and an entire cow’s arse. And side dishes. The second thing I gained is a new level of respect for size, like, 1/0 models out here. It must take effort to constantly refuse food that is vended out so willynillily (is that a word?), an effort worth noting. Oh and heart burn. Three things I gained.
And so now I am about to take myself to bed, full stomached, heavy eyed and empty headed (neither time nor sleep shall change that last one I’m afraid). I hope you enjoyed what will hopefully be the lowest quality blog of the bunch (as I said it’s written off the back of some brain cripplingly bad jet-lag) and I hope you feel compelled enough to read on. For those who thought “what the fuck is this bollocks and why have I just wasted 15 minutes of my life reading it” I have this: Wise words.
I should add a note to the end that the actual music related part of this set of blogs will commence in the blog after next as it is not until the day after tomorrow (UNIVERSAL STUDIOS!!) when I will be helping set up the convention booth, that anything to even do with the convention begins. Feel free to skip the next one and strait to a good bit instead of struggling through 800 words of excited tourist shite! Cheers!
Me and some mates compiled this list of tracks we think you should all listen to with ergency!!
Track 1. Hey Jude - The Beatles - "This song not only starts with a beautifully simple melody on piano but has amazing vocal with increasingly awesome layering through out and harmonies that i'm very very envious of. But its the end that makes it for me, mainly the screaming vocals in the crescendo and all writen in 1968! GENIUS!". Andy Track 2. Paradise City - Guns N' Roses - "Most things about this track kick ass in most ways, Slash being the highlight. Its on of those songs that just got me wanting to play. If i had to choose something that didn't rock about this I'd probably choose Axl f***ing rose...cos hes a tosser!" Dan. D Track 3. Renegandes Of Funk - R.A.T.M. - "This song is an awesome piece and by a great band!" Dan.C Track 4. Hey, Jonny Park - Foo Fighters - "The best opening of any track ever. Fact!" Dan. D Track 5. 21 12 - Rush - Track 6. Californication - R.H.C.P. - "The chili peppers completly transform when performing live from a great rock band into a whirling mass of funky energy, improvisation and crazy stage antics... not to mention the naked ness and strategically placed tube socks! Flea and John's intro improv is truely inspiring and you've gotta love the song, can't beat a bit of singin' 'bout random sh#t can you!" Andy. Track 7. Money - Pink Floyd - Track 8. Street Spirit (Fade out) - Radiohead - "The best closing track of any album ever. Fact!" Andy. Track 9. I Don't Know - Lostprophets - "An amazingly catchy tune. One of those ones I've put on repeat for an hour cos its so good with a real inspiring chorus. One of the worlds best albums too!" Dan. D Track 10. Consequence - Incubus - "a great inspiration and a great band to me has always been incubus, there album Make Yourself with Consequence on it has to be an all time fave" Dan.C Track 11. Master Of Puppets - Metallica - Track 12. The Glass Prison - DreamTheater - "The Epitomy of dark prog-metal, the things that make it awesome are the bass intro with blistering guitar riffage, crazy use of wah wah and its reletivley conservative lenght of 13.52! one thing that annoys me is also the thing i love dream theater for, their vertuoso musical abilities that have made me consider jackin' in playin bass because these guys gods at what they do." Andy Track 13. No One Knows - Q.O.T.S.A "Choosing any single song off this album is a task...so I thought I'd just stick yo the obvious and go with this little materpiece of rock/metal/dark pop. A true rock party anthem with the bouncy triplet feel that just makes you want jump. And of course Grohl rips the drums!" Dan Track 14. Show Me How To Live - Audioslave - "This band....well.... need i say anything!?" Dan.C Track 15. Moby Dick - Led Zeppelin - Track 16. This Is How I Disappear - MCR - "I have recently been very much into this band and album. it has to be up here in this list for me because there is so much power in this song, it has to be a fave of mine. Its just one of those songs that is hard hitting and beautiful!" Dan.C