Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Dave Carlock - A Day In The Life
NAMM 2014 PT. 6--WRAPPING UP ON GRAMMY SUNDAY
Originally Posted: 02-28-2014 8:59 AM
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In previous years visiting NAMM, I had bemoaned the fact that just a week after I returned back from LA, the Grammy Awards were happening with plenty of Grammy-themed parties and events. This year that all changed with a schedule adjustment which put the Grammys in sync with NAMM Sunday. If this continued in the future, it would be fantastic. I could plan to be in LA a couple days earlier and attend the NARAS Producer/Engineer Wing party at the Village Recorder early in the week.

After missing a last minute call this year for a Mutt Lange session by arriving in LA just two days late, I've already determined for the future to arrive the weekend before to be available for sessions. Getting some work in before NAMM festivities is a great way to kick off a week of sensory overload and fast paced reconnection with friends old and new.

Sunday is usually a somewhat dead day but this Sunday had me checking out Jules Follett's new organization called "The Sessions". "The Sessions" was created to educate newcomers to the music biz with mentoring sessions at college campuses by numerous industry vets like Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel), Nathan Watts (Stevie Wonder), Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) and many others. The Sessions provides the bridge between dreams and reality by Enriching artists' lives through Education, focusing on Empowering and sharpening their business skills in the pursuit of excellence, according to the website.

I sat in at a Sessions event that Jules had invited me to, and as we all began to disband, Jules asked me if I was free around 2:30 that afternoon and if I'd be willing to do an on-camera interview with Ndugu Chancler, the man behind the drum beat on Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean". I was definitely game and began doing a bit of research on the great music he'd made before and after his most familiar piece of work. How about this:

Stanley Clarke, Jean Luc-Ponty, Donna Summer, George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Carlos Santana, Frank Sinatra, Weather Report, Lionel Ritchie, Kenny Rogers, Thelonius Monk, Herbie Hancock, and John Lee Hooker. That's just the top of his list, a highly prestigious group of pop and jazz artists able to demand anyone's respect, but I did not know he played on and co-wrote...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

"Let It Whip" by The Dazz Band! Absolute funk classic!

The interview was fun and it was a real honor to ask Ndugu questions about his career, the way the music industry has changed, and what inspires him today. Jules, Sharon, and Marissa made everything a breeze.

Afterward, they invited me to come see their event at UC Long Beach the following week, which I did, and it led to a spirited jam session with my singing "Sir Duke" and "Sweet Home Chicago" with Nathan Watts and Liberty DiVitto. Moments like these always take me back to being a kid again, dreaming of making music with the greats. I'm so blessed to be able to hang with cats like that in my life, and I don't take it for granted. I first connected with their grooves on records and now I'm grooving with them. Dreams do come true.

Shortly after the interview, I ran into Wrecking Crew member Don Peake and we set up a plan to check out his North Hollywood studio the next week with my friend Rob Vukelich (Survivor). Rob's been engineering for Don for about a year or so after relocating from Nashville. I also bumped into Danny Seraphine (Chicago, California Transit Authority), and hugged it out with fellow Benton Harbor native Sinbad. Not bad for a "slow" Sunday at NAMM!

And finally on the convention's last day, after scouring all the upper levels of the Convention Center, I found the attraction that had been eluding me all week: the circular keyboard controller designed by Lady Gaga keyboardist, Brockett Parsons. This thing was something to behold! With it's backside hiked up even more impressively than Kim Kardashian's, the klavier was the combination of (3) 88-key keyboards in succession.

This convex curvature of the keys made the beast a significant thumb to the nose of every rigid classically-based piano instructor. It would take quite a bit of getting used to for technically demanding pieces, if they could be played at all. I could see Mozart embracing it in its firm rejection of tradition. Salieri, not so much. Brockett and I had a nice chat--he's a very soft-spoken, charming guy with grand vision, definitely well-paired in his work with Gaga.

By 5pm on Sunday afternoon, the NAMM show had my dogs barking and I snuck out to the Marriott pool area behind the restaurant and soaked my feet in quiet solitude in the open air, garden hot tub. And to my joy, no one was there. What a beautiful contrast to the pressure cooker of the convention center.

Just then, Josh Eagan texted me and invited me to a group hang at Buca DiBeppo with James Zota Baker and some other friends of the Steakhouse Studio at 7pm, which left me just enough time to nod off on a poolside recliner and refresh myself to the soundtrack of rushing water and distantly chirping birds in the enormous pergola's perfect shade.

On the East coast, the Grammy's had begun and my phone began vibrating with various friends texting me the winners and sending me short video clips. Richard Hilton texted me that the CHIC pass still wasn't looking good, but confirmed the location just in case, which was very thoughtful.

Surrounded again by the people and places that make up the music industry, soaking in the warm Anaheim comfort, and having Grammy results texted from Michigan seemed just fine to me in all of its irony as I drifted off to a cat nap, intoxicated by fresh January jasmine air.

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Dave Carlock
DAVE CARLOCK -
A DAY IN THE LIFE
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