Friday, November 27, 2020
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
Originally Posted: 02-21-2014 11:51 AM
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Approaching a Saturday morning at NAMM always gives me the taste of cold fear in my throat. But I'm not sure what scares me the most: not getting a parking place, or being surrounded all day by hundreds and hundreds of Vampire Hookers in the aisles on this unholy day: VAMPIRE HOOKER SATURDAY! Kim Bullard coined that phrase and it's so perfect that I must pass it on to you. However, if Vampire Hookers are your thing you'll feel right at home.

Trying to dodge quickly growing lines at guitar manufacturers booths to meet the metal gods who drew these dark seductive creatures, I ran into Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age) whom I haven't seen since working on Matchbook Romance at Sound City. He's traveling a bit working on records now, as most people are, now that Sound City has closed, his home of choice for many years.

The Ernie Ball booth always features great players throughout the show and I was fortunate to hear the end of Albert Lee's set. What an GREAT player with a capital "great". I sometimes get so used to hearing so many guitar players of good ability that it becomes a blur, but Albert's playing grabs your attention immediately. What a treat.

Saturday would have a few CHIC connections, one of my favorite old school bands, and it started by running into their current lead vocalist, Folami Thompson with Hotlanta hip hopper, Sidestreet Ked. All of us having been friends in social media for a while, it was great to bring it into real time. Folami was gracious to offer to try to get me into see her perform on Sunday night, but admitted it could be impossible since the band were at Warner Bros' official Grammy night party. It was a beautiful offer, though against all odds.

Having planned to hang when he came to the show, I got a call from Bobby Brooks (Michael Jackson, Teena Marie, Rick James, Stevie Wonder) and we gravitated to find each other at the Convention Center. We cruised the aisles for a bit and eventually headed over to the Marriott restaurant to have a drink which led to connecting with drummers Sonny Emory (Bruce Hornsby, EWF), Ndugu Chancler (Dazz Band, Michael Jackson), and Vince Wilburn, Jr. (Miles Davis Properties) at lunch. Bobby shared some new ideas with me that he had for the cooking/music show he's producing for network consideration, "Bobby Brooks--The Mix Master". I first worked with the ex-Chicago music man on Jo Davidson's "Fragile Tough Girl" album.

It wasn't long after hitting the convention floor again that I got surprise hug-tackled by surprise Shelby Spalione, freshly off her European tour with Will.I.Am as the hook singer for his Great Gatsby soundtrack songs last summer. After giving Shelby a few vocal lessons at age 12, I was convinced she had "it" and wrote and produced her first EP as a 27 Sounds artist entitled "Criss Cross Applesauce". A couple months after we released our work together, she was signed to Hannah Montana producer Robbie Nevil, and then signed to Walt Disney Records as the lead singer of the all-girl teen band, KSM.

It was good to see producer Ron Harris (Christina Aquilera) too, who was with Shelby, and they both sounded very excited about everything coming up for her. Her appearance on American Idol with Will.I.Am was a great boost of attention to her great singing, dancing, and beauty. Fingers crossed for her, no matter how far you go in the music business, it seems there's so much more to do to. She's got a huge start and I'm humbled to know that my instincts helped her start down that road in a real and tangible way, with an EP of original music.

Hanging around the Avid booth, I caught up with illustrious producer/engineer and friend David Cole (Bob Segar, Melissa Ethridge, Richard Marx) with his longtime pal and Chicago-to-LA transplant Joe Godfrey. How many people in LA are from the Chicagoland area anyway?!? Conspicuously absent from this group was my monster producer and keyboard friend CJ Vanston, who brought all of us three together to begin with. We talked behind his back and sent up a flare on FB for him to no avail. He was lost deep in the jungle of NAMM.

David was the first person in LA to hire me when I moved there, I still have a photocopy of the check to this day. He's been back and forth between teaching in San Diego and Michigan--Detroit of all places--working with longtime Michigan man Bob Segar again, which is always exciting news.

Avoiding the hypnotic black-eyed stare of various Vampire Hookstresses, I made a break for the main floor doors and headed to the upper floors where I was quite pleased to finally meet up with the architect/designer of countless pro recording studios, John Storyk of Walters/Storyk Design. For a project I'm preparing to pitch for investment, I was hoping to use his firm for studio design, so we got a chance to chat a bit and become acquainted. He was excited to begin looking at my ideas and we agreed to contact each other after the show.

I also learned that John had very limited experience with Facebook and I took the opportunity to tell him what a selfie was, take one with him, and post it on his company page with a comment attached. He was intrigued and impressed! As happy as I was to help, I was also a little relieved to see he wasn't a social media junkie. I like old school guys. Believe it or not, I'm a bit of a reluctant participant.

After a quick hello with Jermaine Jackson and his son, who I used to bump into at Starbucks when I lived in Woodland Hills, I headed back to the Marriott to meet up with CHIC keyboard player and Niles Rodgers' main man Richard Hilton for an dinnertime hang. Our friend Tim Finnegan in NY first connected us, though we came to know each other more over Facebook after the Newtown, CT. tragedy, Richard being a Newtown resident. He was good enough to help pass share the music video I created for the town's residents on Christmas 2013.

Talking synth shop and trading war stories made for fun dinner conversation and he also graciously offered to get me in to the CHIC show if he could the next night, but was pretty sure it would be locked down tight as well. I wasn't expecting anything but after discussing passes with two different band members in a single day, I was beginning to hope it could happen! We were two guys who understood being "the guy behind the guy" more easily than most and it was a nice dinner.

And to my great surprise, NAMM Saturday would wrap with my bumping into Will Champlin at the Marriott, fresh off his #3 ranking on The Voice. Will and I first met when he was in junior high when I visited his dad, Bill Champlin, one of my longtime heroes. It's so cool to see him having success and getting his name out there more and more. He was performing that night and he sounded great as always. Keep going for it Will!


Dave Carlock
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