By Fredwill Hernandez
Anaheim, CA (The Hollywood Times) 1/22/15 – On Wednesday, January 21, 2015, The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), held an invitation-only media preview day at the Anaheim Convention Center, to kick-off the 113th NAMM show. Among some of the companies who greeted the media and took the opportunity to unveil new and cool stuff were IK Multimedia, Peavey, Make Noise, Line 6, Inc., imitone, McCarthy Music, TC-Helion, V-MODA, GTC Sound Innovations, Orange Amplification, Marion Systems Corporation, Blackbird Guitars, Taylor Guitars, Yamaha, iZ Technology, Monster, Rock and Roll High Guitars, Epsilon, Roland Corp., and Cordoba Guitars.
Among the companies eager to unveil their new products was world-renowned music and audio manufacturer Peavey (Electronics), which is also celebrating its golden 50th anniversary and unveiled among others things a new series of mixers – the PV 10AT and PV 14 AT – with auto-tune pitch correction.
During the press conference, Peavey had none other than Keith Shocklee, considered Hip-hop royalty, a pioneering (Hip-hop) DJ and producer who is also co- founding member of the groundbreaking hip hop group Public Enemy (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees) along side his friend and emcee Chuck D. Shocklee has also been named “one of the greatest producers in hip-hop” by Rolling Stone for his work on PE’s pioneering and innovative albums (1987’s) Yo! Bum Rush The Show, (1988’s) It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, and (1989’s) Fear Of A Black Planet. The pair were demonstrating the capabilities of the PV series mixers.
After the demonstration, The Hollywood Times was honored to also catch up with Shocklee to get his take on becoming Peavey’s (mixers) brand ambassador, and to find out about hip-hop’s early days through his use of Peavey equipment (mixers, amps, and speakers) since the early 70’s.
“I been DJ-ing since the age of 14. I heard through a good friend of mine, Jeff Kwan, at Canal Sound, that Peavey was looking for someone to represent them. It was a marriage made in heaven since I happen to also have pictures (proof). I had been using Peavey mixers and equipment (the Peavey 450 guitar head amp and column speakers, and the CS800 and CS400 power amps) at the youth center in Roosevelt, Long Island, that was in 1974,” eloquently stated Shocklee. “That was a staple, at that time for hip-hop cats (guys) coming up in the game that didn’t have the same systems the Jamaican cats were coming in with. Back then we called ourselves Spectrum, now (me and my partner Journey) call ourselves Spectrum City, Chuck D who was also a graphic artist, he sort of copied (designed) the Spectrum’s logo based on the Peavey letters, so we have always been a fan of Peavey. Back then when we were young, we just wanted to be the hot guy on the block, then we wanted to be the hot guy on the block in a way where we made a difference, then we see the difference now, look at hip-hop (now), forty years later.”
Hartley Peavey, Founder and CEO of Peavey (Electronics), who also made a surprise appearance during their (Peavey’s) press conference, expressed to The Hollywood Times, how he feels about the company’s 50th anniversary and his association with the Shocklee Brothers (Hank & Keith). “I feel extremely fortunate to have been able to last for 50 years, (because you see), I think business is kind of like a rodeo, the one who can stay on the pony the longest is the one that wins. In my little corner of the business, I been on the pony longer than anybody. I built my first amp back in the late 50’s (like 1957 or so), and I have been building amps ever since. I started out trying to be a guitar player and I found out quickly, I was better at building musical equipment than playing music, so that’s what I’ve been doing for the last 50 years, and we always innovate. Sadly, the business kind of has what I call a cow path mentality, in that as you walk through the show, you’ll see thousands of variations of the same thing. Peavey has always tried to do something different, something better, and in some cases it’s difficult…like a mixer. What else are you going to do with a mixer? Well, the answer is, we got a built-in guitar channel in the mixer (I don’t know anybody else who has that) and we have auto-tune. If you’re a lousy singer like me, you punch a button and you’re right back into key. Well, it’s been said, and I believe is somewhat true that experience is the great teacher and if that’s the case, I’ve been in the classroom longer than any body in my end of the business, and as far as our relationship with the Shocklee brothers, they started their career using my equipment (Peavey mixers, amps, and speakers), and that’s the connection.”
Another company that was also eager to show off their latest and coolest guitars was Cordoba Guitars, who were showcasing three models of their (Cordoba) Mini guitars, based on their wood combinations.
“This is our mini-series. It’s three miniature guitars just in different woods. These are essentially a small guitar body. It’s basically a baritone ukulele size body with a full size guitar neck on it, so it’s a very portable instrument, but for guitar players it feels like a full size guitar. The feel is the important thing,” explained Brandon Schmidt, Product Manager, Cordoba (Guitars) Music Group, Inc. “The idea behind its size, it is that it’s portable. You can take it on a plane, or you can take it to the beach. You can take the guitars camping, or anywhere you like, and when you pick it up and play it, your fingers are feeling the same thing you would feel on a regular size guitar, you can play it if you are three years old or if you are fifty years old.”
Another company excited to be taking part of NAMM’s Media Preview Day was iZ Technology showcasing their impressive Radar Studio.
“This is the world’s first integrated professional DAW,” explained Jordan Henderson, Administrative Assistant, iZ Corp (Technologies) about their Radar Studio. “Meaning you can do all your recording here, long in (in and out), all your digital or even analog, any application, post production, all your editing, etc… in one box. We have been around for 25 years, but the Radar Studio (the DAW side) of it’s new.”
All companies who participated in NAMM ‘s Media Preview Day had cool, fun, and innovative things, all worth time, press, and ink.
The 113th Annual NAMM Show officially starts Thursday, January 22, and runs through Sunday, January 25, 2015. To attend or for more information, please log on to: https://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2015