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EXCLUSIVE: Peter Ascher Tells Musicians ‘Don’t Expect To Make Money Unless You’re Ed Sheeran’

Renowned Music Producer and Manager Says Go Solo


Peter Ascher, famed musician and manager of James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and who worked with The Beatles, said musicians should not be in it for the money, because there is none.

We asked Ascher the question: How do musicians make money today?

“They don’t,” he told in an exclusive interview following his NAMM Show keynote address. “You have to do it because you love it.  You have to be Ed Sheeran. He fills Wembley Stadium and does it all by himself.”

Sheeran is known to appear onstage solo, with a loop pedal and a guitar.

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Bob Lefsetz interviews Peter Ascher – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘The Reward is in The Work’

Ascher said the reward is in the work. And his work has been particularly enviable, working with The Beatles’ Apple Records, and managing and producing artists such as Taylor and Ronstadt. Helping them create their albums was a thing of joy, Ascher said.

With Ronstadt, he said, “Linda chose a lot of the songs but she liked folk music.  If the songs were more rock, then I picked them.”

Of his first meeting with Ronstadt, Ascher said, “Kate Taylor told me there was this young girl who sang in short shorts and bare feet, and of course she was incredibly hot. I didn’t sign her on the spot because I was working with Kate Taylor, James’ sister. I helped Linda finish ‘Don’t Cry Now’ then I became her manager.”

Peter Ascher on ‘You’re No Good’

With Ronstadt’s superhit, “You’re No Good,” Ascher said he and Ronstadt both loved the song and they were aware it was a bit hit for Betty Everett.

“We played with the arrangement a lot, and we brought in Andrew Gold and he built the song track by track.”

Sweet Baby James was a superhit album in the late 1970s with great songs. How did the tune, “Suite for 20 G,” which was actually a compilation song, come about?

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Creative producing is the key to having the hit records, Peter Ascher tells Bob Lefsetz – Photo © 2017 Donna Balancia

‘Sweet Baby James’ and The Rise of James Taylor

“James came to me and said, ‘I haven’t got any more songs, they’re fragments,’ so I told him to string them all together.” Ascher said that’s why you can hear three distinctive parts of the song.  And when the song was finished he got the last 20 Gs he was owed.

Ascher said the rise of James Taylor and the famous album Sweet Baby James was a great accomplishment.

“I had James playing every place I could think of,” Ascher said. “He was becoming popular, ‘Fire and Rain’ was the single that would change our lives.’

How did Ascher manage to do it all?

“I don’t sleep much,” he said.

At the moment, Ascher is working with composer Hanz Zimmer, who’s next big gig will be performing at Coachella. Ascher has also been working as music director on the Steve Martin play Bright Star. The Bright Star album is a contender for Best Musical Theater Album GRAMMY Award.

EXCLUSIVE: Stevie Wonder and The Story Behind The Facebook Video That Has More Than 3.4 Million Hits

Music Manager Marcy Kraft Captures Stevie Wonder with Performer in Hotel Lobby


When you’re in the music business you never know who you’ll run into … maybe even Stevie Wonder.

Marcy Kraft, a music manager in Hollywood, was walking a young musician from the band “The Villanovas” around the National Association of Music Merchants convention in Anaheim on Saturday when she had a great stroke of good luck.

While strolling through a hotel on property at the convention, she noticed Stevie Wonder enter the lobby and Marcy asked the young musician she was with if he wanted to try and get a photo with Stevie. At that same moment, she saw the performer in the lobby — Grayson Erhard — who without yet seeing Stevie Wonder coincidentally began singing and strumming “Superstition” on his guitar.

“The performer, Grayson, had no clue his life was about to change,” Marcy said. “The audience alerted Grayson that Stevie was there watching and Grayson turned to him and said, ‘I’m sorry Stevie, but I don’t know the words to the second or third verses.’ Next thing you know, Stevie was heading to the stage.”

Stevie Wonder Video

Marcy was already in place with her phone in her hand.

“It was the perfect coincidence,” Marcy said. “The musician just happened to be playing Superstition when Stevie Wonder was walking through the hotel lobby. Stevie was kind enough to stop and join the young man on stage, and even whispered the lyrics to the unknown verses to Grayson. Stevie Wonder is an amazing talent, a joy and a national treasure in any circumstance. But this was such a powerful moment.”

Marcy Kraft Stevie Wonder video hotel California Rocker

Music manager Marcy Kraft with Julian Lennon, Roger Daltrey and Steven Tyler – Photo courtesy of Marcy Kraft for California Rocker

Marcy is fairly active on social media and posts many similar videos. But this is the first one that’s gotten 3.6 million views. The thing that was different this time, is that she set the post to “public.”

“I was hoping that the young musician on stage would somehow find my video so that he could remember this amazing moment,” Marcy said. She never dreamed that the video would hit more than half a million hits by mid-morning and over a million by the end of the day on Monday. But Wednesday it was up to 3.4 million views.

Stevie Wonder Facebook Video

“I got home Saturday night around midnight and figured,’OK I’ll post this video, it’s cute,’ and then by the morning it exploded and I had requests from news outlets,” she said. “I’m glad that I at least identified the performer and linked my video to his page. Stevie Wonder absolutely changes the energy when he enters the room. He’s a faithful visitor each year to the NAMM convention and it was truly a ‘wonder’ to be in his presence.”

Marcy worked at ICM Partners and Live Nation Entertainment before stepping out on her own to help elevate the careers of young artists.

NAMM 2017 Draws Those Who Love Music, Computer Apps, Rocker Style and The Bright Lights

The Music Merchants’ Show of Shows Still a Hit


As music evolves, so does the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim. But one thing remains the same: The music merchants convention is still a true Rock Show.

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At NAMM, you can find rock and roll stars mingling with retailers as they check out the latest cool stuff in music technology, instruments and recording gear. Over the last few years, synthesized music has emerged as the industry leader but traditional instruments and recording techniques are making a comeback.

“I’m a D.J. and I love coming here to check out the latest tech,” said D.J. Jon from Cleveland, Ohio. “But I’ve noticed a lot of the new effects sound a lot like regular instruments, like strings and drums.”

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That could be both good and bad. Traditional instrument manufacturers are having a challenge putting their products into the hands of young people. And there’s the argument that there’s a more penetrable barrier to entry getting into the EDM world than dealing with the steep learning curve of actually taking up a traditional musical instrument.

At NAMM, the guitar, piano and percussion manufacturers are still out in force, but the biggest spaces taken up at NAMM these days are inhabited by audio equipment, recording companies, truss makers and lighting dealers.

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Regardless, the retailers and the fans turn out in droves, despite the cost to get in, despite the rainy weather that had been prevalent except for Saturday, which was sunny and cool. Food trucks line the main entranceway corridor, offering almost every nationality of food vendor — even a reality show winner, Tasting Spoon.

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And all genres of musicians take the main stage outside while rock stars in the making hang out by  the Convention Center. Some true rock and roll characters pack the inside of the adjacent Anaheim Hilton Hotel, where musicians also perform on an interior stage.

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A big highlight Saturday was the keynote by Peter Asher, who gave good advice and regaled he crowds with fabled stories of his work with James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt and The Beatles.


In other big events during the show, Ronnie Spector was given the She Rocks award on Friday night and Joe Perry was presented with The Les Paul Award by his pal and Hollywood Vampires bandmate Johnny Depp at the TEC Awards on Saturday night.

So while Rock Is Dead, they say, you wouldn’t know it by the packed attendance at this most anticipated convention that each year turns Anaheim into America’s Rock City.

Shirley Manson, Lita Ford and Esperanza Spalding Among 2017 ‘She Rocks Awards’ Honorees

Shirley Manson, Lita Ford and Esperanza Spalding have been named among the honorees for The 2017 She Rocks Awards, it was announced.

Presented for the fifth year by The Women’s International Music Network, the event pays  tribute to women in the music industry and will take place on Jan. 20, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel during the NAMM Show.

The 2017 She Rocks Awards recipients include:

•    Monique Boyer, global artist relations at M.A.C. Cosmetics

•    Rebecca Eaddy, marketing communications for Roland Corporation U.S.

•    Lita Ford, legendary rock guitarist, vocalist and songwriter

•    Beverly Fowler, director of artist relations and events at PRS Guitars

•    Lisa Foxx, radio personality at MYfm on the iHeartRadio network

•    Charyn Harris, conductor of music programs at A Place Called Home

•    Karrie Keyes, founder of Soundgirls and sound engineer for Pearl Jam

•    Tracy Leenman, owner of Musical Innovations music retailer

•    Dani Markman, director, A and R, Disney Music Group

•    Shirley Manson, lead singer from multi-award winning band, Garbage

•    Esperanza Spalding, GRAMMY-winning bass player, singer/songwriter

•    Leanne Summers, president/CEO of LAWIM (Los Angeles Women in Music)

“We are excited to recognize our 2017 honorees, who come from diverse areas of our industry,” said the WiMN founder, Laura B. Whitmore. “Each has made her contributions in her own, unique way, inspiring and energizing others. We look forward to honoring them all and sharing this celebration of women in music.”

In addition, the She Rocks Awards will host the album release of She Rocks Vol 1, A Collection of Kick-Ass Guitar Goddesses, a compilation of eleven virtuoso female guitarists produced by Brad Tolinksi and released on Steve Vai’s Favored Nations label. Performances from the artists on the CD will be included in the program.

Esperanza Spalding - Photo by Andrea Mancini for

Esperanza Spalding – Photo by Andrea Mancini for

The She Rocks Awards will open with a performance by Brandy Robinson, winner of the #SaveAGuitar opening act contest. The house band for the show, Rock Sugah, is led by bassist Divinity Roxx and features Kat Dyson on guitar, Benita Lewis on drums and Lynette Williams on keys.

Gearing up for its fifth consecutive year, the She Rocks Awards pays tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show. Previous award recipients include female industry leaders such as Chaka Khan, Jennifer Batten, Karmin, Colbie Caillat, Sheila E, The Bangles, Orianthi, Dinah Gretsch, Craigie Zildjian, Janie L. Hendrix, Amani Duncan, Mary Peavey, and more.

With featured performances, food and beverages, giveaways, networking opportunities and more, the She Rocks Awards brings together industry professionals, music icons, artists, fans, and media to celebrate women in music.

This event has sold out for the past four years and does not require a NAMM badge to attend.

Tickets are on sale now at For more information visit The Women’s International Music Network.

The 2017 She Rocks Awards is sponsored by Neumann, Gretsch, Seymour Duncan, Avid, PRS Guitars, Roland, #SaveAGuitar, Breedlove, Zildjian, Guitar Center, Casio, 108 Rock Star Guitars, Sabian, Linear Integrated Systems, Schecter Guitars, Gator Cases, Berklee College of Music, The Music People, LAWIM, Music Inc., Music & Sound Retailer,, Premier Guitar, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Keyboard, Bass Player, Electronic Musician, and more.


Don Was, Jeff ‘Skunk’ Baxter, Honored at 2016 NAMM TEC Awards

Skunk Baxter - TEC Hall of Famer - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Skunk Baxter – TEC Hall of Famer – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Engineering and Audio Firms Take Center Stage

By DONNA BALANCIA – The TEC Awards presented by the NAMM Foundation were a hit with musicians and engineers alike as a range of companies and honorees came away with statuettes.

Eventide, iZotope, Shure, Avid and others were celebrated at one of the few awards ceremonies that honors outstanding achievements in sound engineering.

Musicians honored during the night were Steely Dan co-founder, Jeff Skunk Baxter, and Record Plant founders Chris Stone and Gary Kellgren, who were inducted into the TEC Hall of Fame.

Don Was performs at TEC Awards - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Don Was performs at TEC Awards – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Baxter, who was presented the statuette by his son, then led the TEC band in the classics “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number,” and “My Old School,” and the audience sang along.

Baxter was honored for his work with Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers but also for his work with the government.

Producer Don Was, known for his band Was Not Was, and his collaborations with a range of famous rockers, received the Les Paul Award.

Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh was a presenter – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

“It blows my mind to be mentioned in the same breath as Les Paul,” said Was, who gave a speech from the heart, thanking his family and the artists with whom he has created top-selling records. “Les Paul melded technology with music and we are all deeply in his debt,” Was said.

“So let’s Kick Out The Jams,” he said before performing with Dr. Lonnie Smith and then with members of Was Not Was who performed “Walk The Dinosaur,” a crowd favorite.

A video was created for the occasion that showed interviews with various coworkers of Was throughout the years, and showed photographs of Was with famous friends from Donna Summer to Rod Stewart and other well-known artists.


Host Sinbad kept the evening moving – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Was: ‘I Thank My Family’

Was is well respected and well-liked by everyone — not only the flashy LA crowd, but particularly to his pals from Detroit, several of whom came to honor him.

Host Sinbad is an old hand at this event and his jokes were well-honed to the techie crowd and were genuinely and straight-to-the-point funny.  His routine on customer service touched on the frustration consumers feel in dealing with large corporations and his barbs were not lost on the audience.

Antelope Audio / Satori Monitoring Controller

Rupert Neve Designs / RNDI: Active Transformer Direct Interface

PreSonus / Notion 2 for iOS

Universal Audio / Apollo 8p Thunderbolt 2 Audio Interface

Shure / MOTIV MV88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Mic

Audio-Technica Corporation / ATH-R70x Pro

Solid State Logic / XL DESK

Manley Labs / Manley FORCE

Neumann / U47 FET

Shure / 5575LE Unidyne 75th Anniversary Vocal Microphone

Eventide / H9 MAX

Moog Music / Modular Recreation

iZotope / Iris 2

Zoom/F8 MultiTrack Field Recorder

Tube-Tech / HLT 2A Equalizer

Solid State Logic / 500-Format LMC+

iZotope / RX 4 Complete Audio Repair & Enhancement

AMS Neve / AMS RMX16 Digital Reverb Plug-In For UAD-2 Platform

Avid / Pro Tools I S3

Meyer Sound / LEOPARD

Genelec / 8351A SAM

Sennheiser / Evolution Wireless D1

Avid / Pro Tools 12



Batman: Arkham Knight

Before This World by James Taylor

Dreams by Beck

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways

Paul Epworth’s The Church Studios, London, UK

Game of Thrones

Sonic Highways World Tour, Foo Fighters

Lucky Strike Live’s Popular ‘Ultimate Jam Night’ Rocks 1-Year Anniversary

PaulieZ, Chris Jericho, Eddie-Ojeda- Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

PaulieZ with Chris Jericho and Eddie Ojeda – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Twisted Sister, Linda Perry, Nuno Bettencourt Hit the Stage

– By DONNA BALANCIA – The stars came out to celebrate the first anniversary of Ultimate Jam Night at Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood.

On hand were Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister and son of Dee Snider, Jesse Snider; Chris Jericho, pro wrestler and musician with Fozzy; Linda Perry, vocalist and songwriter with 4 Non Blondes; famed drummer Carmine Appice; Nuno Bettencourt, guitarist of Extreme; Dug Pinnick of King’s X, and other surprise guests.

Linda Perry takes the stage during the 1-Year Anniversary of Ultimate Jam Night at Lucky Strike Live - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Linda Perry and Damon Fox take the stage during the 1-Year Anniversary of Ultimate Jam Night at Lucky Strike Live – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Lucky Strike Jam is Popular

The weekly Wednesday night Ultimate Jam has become a hit in the Los Angeles music scene as well-known musicians jam together, play a few tunes and bring fans into the Lucky Strike venue during mid-week.

“Lucky Strike has really developed into a premiere music venue and has helped to fill in the gap left by House of Blues shutting down,” said concert-goer James. “The Wednesday nights here are really cool.”

The house was packed on the 1-year anniversary, which drew photographers and media from around the country, as the event coincided with the opening of the 2016 NAMM show in Anaheim.

Nuno Bettencourt - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

Marty O’Brien, Nuno Bettencourt, Ferlazzo on keys – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia

The two-set, quick and dirty format is appealing to those who want to see their favorite musicians yet not commit to an entire night.

The night would not be complete without the fabulous house band, beloved host Paulie Z, and the trademark angry puppet.


Chaka Khan To Receive The She Rocks Award During NAMM 2016

Courtesy of Alex via Flickr

Courtesy of Alex via Flickr

By JOHN DALY – Chaka Khan will be honored as a 2016 She Rocks Award recipient, it was announced by the The Women’s International Music Network.

The live awards event takes place on Jan. 22, 2016, at 6:30 p.m. in the Anaheim Hilton Hotel during the NAMM Show, and honors women in the music industry who are pioneers and role models.

With smash hits such as “I’m Every Woman,” “I Feel For You” and “Through the Fire,” Khan has sold over 70 million records. Her music industry career has spanned more than 40 years.

Khan has received the Soul Train Legend Award (2009), The BET Lifetime Achievement Award (2009), has written an autobiography, Through the Fire, and is a 10-time GRAMMY Award-winner. Khan is currently in the studio at work on a new album to be released in 2016. For more information, visit

“Chaka Khan is an iconic, respected artist and role model. I can’t even begin to express how thrilled we are to have this opportunity to honor her and celebrate her career,” said Laura B. Whitmore, founder of the WIMN.

2016-honorees-collage-(Laura’s-MacBook-Air's-conflicted-copy-2015-09-30)-(Laura’s-MacBook-Air's-conflicted-copy-oct1-forweb 620WIMN recently announced the lineup for the 2016 She Rocks Awards, including trailblazing guitarist Jennifer Batten; Jason Mraz pals Raining Jane; Amy Heidemann of Karmin; Malina Moye, Nita Strauss and The Command Sisters.  The house band is Rock Sugah, comprised of Divinity Roxx, Kat Dyson, Benita Lewis and Lynette Williams.

Other honorees include Leslie Ann Jones of Skywalker Sound; Chalise Zolezzi of Taylor Guitars; Cathy Carter-Duncan of Seymour Duncan and Mindy Abovitz of Tom Tom Magazine.

The She Rocks Awards pay tribute to women who display leadership and stand out within the music industry, and has become a standard at the NAMM Show. Previous award recipients include female industry leaders such as Colbie Caillat; Sheila E; The Bangles; Orianthi; Dinah Gretsch; Craigie Zildjian; and Janie L. Hendrix.

The She Rocks Awards event takes place on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 at the Anaheim Hilton Hotel at 6:30 p.m.  This event has sold out the past three years and a NAMM badge is not required to attend. Tickets are on sale now at

Monica Tavakoli, R, percussionist with Raining Jane at LA Rock Camp - Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

Mona Tavakoli, R, percussionist with Raining Jane at LA Rock Camp – Photo © 2015 Donna Balancia

The 2016 She Rocks Awards is sponsored by Martin Guitar, Seymour Duncan, Roland, Boss, Gretsch, Taylor Guitars, Avid, Zildjian, D’Addario, Guitar Center, Fishman, Tech 21, 108 Rock Star Guitars, Tom Tom Magazine, Guitar Girl Magazine; Music News; Guitar World, Guitar Player; Keyboard, Bass Player; Electronic Musician; Music Inc.; Making Music, International Musician; Premier Guitar and LAWIM.

To find out more about the 2016 She Rocks Awards, visit

Don Was To Be Honored with 2016 Les Paul Award at NAMM Show TEC Awards

Don Was - Photo courtesy CBS

Don Was – Photo courtesy of CBS

By DONNA BALANCIA – Record producer and music industry executive Don Was will receive the 2016 Les Paul Award at the 31st annual Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards on Jan. 23 during the 2016 NAMM Show.

The award honors a representative of the music industry who embodies the creative spirit of the legendary genius Les Paul.  The evening will be hosted by Sinbad and will take place at the Anaheim Hilton.

The NAMM Foundation presents the NAMM TEC Awards and the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame. The events honor the best in audio and sound production as well as the most impactful audio technology products from the last 75 years.

Was is one of the most well-known and accomplished music producers in addition to being an outstanding musician.

Was has earned multiple GRAMMY Awards for his production work over the past 30 years. He produced several of Bonnie Raitt’s albums, including Nick Of Time, which won a GRAMMY in 1989.  He was named Producer Of The Year for work with artists ranging from The Rolling Stones to Willie Nelson and Roy Orbison in 1994, and with  Ziggy Marley on “Family Time,” he earned Best Musical Album For Children in 2009.

He produced, wrote and directed I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times, the 1995 documentary on Brian Wilson, which bowed at Sundance Film Festival; and he also produced the TV movies “Bonnie Raitt: Road Tested,” and “Joe Cocker: Organic.”

Bonnie Raitt and Don Was receive GRAMMY awards for Album of the Year - Photo courtesy CBS

Bonnie Raitt and Don Was receive GRAMMY awards for Album of the Year for Nick of Time – Photo courtesy CBS

Was co-founded former Detroit band Was (Not Was) with childhood friend David Was (Weiss) before going on to produce decades of commercially successful and critically-acclaimed recordings for top artists.

As President of Blue Note Records, Was oversees the label’s extensive reissue campaigns that serve audiences in both the analogue and digital realms. He joins a prestigious group of Les Paul honorees including Stevie Wonder, Sting, and Pete Townshend.

The January 23 event will be held in the Hilton Anaheim Pacific Ballroom. A reception begins at 6 PM with the ceremony following at 7 PM.

Earlier on Saturday, the NAMM TECnology Hall of Fame will induct 10 audio products and innovations released between 1928 and 2002 that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of audio technology.

The ceremony, presented by the NAMM MUSEUM of Making Music in Carlsbad and hosted by George Petersen, editor of Front of House Magazine, will be a celebration of nostalgia and innovation. A panel of more than 50 recognized audio experts, including authors, educators, engineers, facility owners and other professionals selected the nominees.

The 1966 Neumann KM84 microphone was invented by Georg Neumann five decades ago and is still in use today via the improved KM184 model. It stands out as the first microphone to use the now-standard “phantom powering system.”

Don Was - Photo by Gabi Porter

Don Was – Photo by Gabi Porter

Also entering a 50-year milestone is the Shure SM58 microphone, a standard in the eyes of many rock ‘n rollers. After three years and hundreds of tests involving dropping, throwing, cooking, salt spray immersion and submersion, the Shure SM58 was born under the watchful eye of Ernie Seeler, a classical music fan who hated rock ‘n’ roll!

Turn up Supertramp’s “Logical Song” and Steely Dan’s “Do It Again” and you’ll hear the distinct sounds produced by Wurlitzer’s 1954 Electronic Piano, originally designed as a portable and substitute for the acoustical piano. It has become a mainstay of rock, pop and jazz artists worldwide.

Roland’s RE-201 Space Echo was first released when Richard Nixon was still President, but its vintage sound continues to find its way into the recordings of musicians that include Fatboy Slim, Mr. Oizo, Sneaker Pimps, Radiohead, Lauryn Hill and more who covet its slightly unpredictable analog echo effects.

Other inductees include the 1998 Manley VoxBox and the 2002 Avid Digidesign Pro Tools HD, which are both still in production today.

The TECnology Hall of Fame ceremony will be presented Saturday, January 23, from 4-6PM in room 202A of the Anaheim Convention Center in the TEC Tracks educational area. Seating is limited and available to credentialed NAMM attendees, inductees and their guests.

Moby To Keynote Generation Next at NAMM Show

Moby NAMM Donna Balancia California Rocker

Moby will keynote Next Generation at NAMM Show – photo courtesy NAMM

Moby, the award-winning musician and producer will deliver the keynote address to launch Generation Next at NAMM Foundation on Thursday.

Generation Next is a NAMM Show educational opportunity for college music students preparing for careers in the music products industry.

National Association of Music Merchants annual convention, the NAMM Show, Launches Thursday

NAMM Foundation lobbies on behalf of music education. The foundation conducts outreach during the NAMM Show, which launches Thursday in Anaheim.


Moby’s keynote, made possible in collaboration with the Los Angeles College of Music, starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Anaheim Hilton’s NAMM Foundation Lounge.

Moby is a platinum recording artist and producer, who has worked with artists including David Bowie, Daft Punk, Michael Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, New Order, Pet Shop Boys and Metallica. He has sold an estimated 20 million albums worldwide.

Music students and educators can register for the 2015 NAMM Show at

Slash to be Honored with Les Paul Award at NAMM Show

Slash will receive the Les Paul Award at NAMM

Slash will receive the Les Paul Award at NAMM – Photo courtesy of NAMM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Superstar guitarist Slash will receive the Les Paul Award during the 30th Annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards, Jan. 24, 2015, during the National Association of Music Merchants  NAMM Show in Anaheim.

Comedian Sinbad will host the evening event.

The NAMM TEC Awards honors individuals and companies across 30 categories, for outstanding achievement in professional audio technology and production.

As a critically acclaimed, British-American musician and songwriter, Slash has amassed album sales topping 100 million copies, a GRAMMY Award and seven GRAMMY nominations. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012.

Slash, who established a hot solo career in 2008, is known as former lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses and founded the supergroup Velvet Revolver.  His current album is World On Fire.

Time magazine named Slash second, behind only Jimi Hendrix, on its “Ten Best Electric Guitar Players of All-Time” list. His famous guitar solos in songs including “November Rain” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” are adored by rock fans worldwide.

The Les Paul Award, named for the inventor and esteemed musician, honors individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of audio and music technology.  The honor has been bestowed to musicians including Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young and Peter Gabriel. Last year’s recipient was Todd Rundgren.

Bob Ezrin Tells NAMM Attendees to be Precise on Music Terminology

Bob Ezrin - Photo courtesy of Nimbus School of Recording and Media

Bob Ezrin – Photo courtesy of Nimbus School of Recording and Media

Industry must call music ‘art.’  After all, Ezrin says, ‘A rose by any other name would NOT smell as sweet’ —

By DONNA BALANCIA – ANAHEIM – Legendary producer Bob Ezrin told music retailers Thursday that the industry must continue to build its talent pool in order to thrive.

Prior to his keynote address to kick off the 2014 National Association of Music Merchants Show in Anaheim, Ezrin told East Coast Rocker that the more time the industry wastes worrying about ancillary issues, the less time it will spend on its most critical function:  To inspire and educate.

“If we spend time worrying about things like how to get the music out, the less time we will have to make insanely good music,” Ezrin told California Rocker prior to delivering his speech at the annual event that draws thousands of industry members from around the world.

His morning keynote speech drew an audience of several hundred music retailers, many of whom forged through rough winter weather to attend the conference in sunny Southern California.

Using cool-sounding words doesn’t cut it for Canadian-born Ezrin, whose experience with “cool” is vast, having worked with hundreds of top musicians since the 1970s.

“When we talk about the future of making music, we have to watch the language we use,” Ezrin said.  “Someone said to me, ‘It’s about the ‘content.‘  No it’s not. ‘Content’ is for cereal boxes, not the art. If it’s called ‘content,’ you diminish the value down to breakfast cereal…When you talk about it with mist in your eyes …Now you’re talking about music.”

Ezrin spends much of his time in philanthropy.  He is co-founder with Garth Richardson and Kevin Williams of Nimbus School of Recording Arts in Vancouver.

Another word Ezrin can’t stand: “Monetization.”

Bob Ezrin: "Another word I hate: Monetize" - Photo courtesy of Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Bob Ezrin: “Another word I hate: Monetize” – Photo courtesy of Canadian Music Hall of Fame

“I don’t want to talk about business models, or the ‘monetization’ of anything, that’s a dirty word.  Unless what we make is great, nobody’s going to pay for it. ”

How will the industry make money?

“The best thing we can be doing is insure a march to excellence, to empower, inspire, to promote people who are straining to do something unique,” Ezrin said. “And to encourage them. Music is the very special creation of very special people whose entire lives and everything they’ve ever done, seen, felt or touched goes into what they do. That process is magical.”

Ezrin said: “There is a certain amount of technique involved. So how do we become insanely great? One of the things to do, whenever you set out on a journey, you need to make a list of things Not to Do, and a list of things To Do.  One of the things to do is to make a ‘Not to do’ list.”

Ezrin warned not to “Get caught up in toys, tricks, technology, packaging, positioning or any of those things before you have something to market,” he said.

Our society is perhaps too caught up in “chasing cool,” or “the latest” in tech and that viral or other song phenomena will happen without that tech factor most of the time, he said. Using the success of the catchy “Who Let The Dogs Out,” as an example, Ezrin said, “I’m sure that person was not sitting at a computer screen or at a conference like this.”

Ezrin said: “At the end of the day when somebody like Psy comes around, it travels around the world.” He said, the market is “extremely rational. The stuff of real value does get supported and earns something for somebody. And the stuff that’s not so good, typically doesn’t.”

He said formulas don’t count, unless you’re making a widget and what happened before won’t predict the future.

Bob Ezrin and Donna Balancia

Producer Bob Ezrin with Donna Balancia – Photo by John Daly for

“Art is only something artists can manage,” said Ezrin. “A craftsman is someone who can create and build code .. And an artist is someone who creates something that is different.

He said: “A rose by any other name would not  smell as sweet. If you called roses ‘kumquats’ it would not be the same.”

The music, and not the “content” or the calling it of such, is the key.

“It’s not technology or modality of delivery, it is the special creation of special people that especially touches the hearts of others,” that should be the concern of the industry.

The first line of offense in inspiring youths of today to take up an instrument is to put down the smart phone, Ezrin said.

“Kids, they hear things and kids are incredibly curious, thoughtful about what they see, even with their heads down things get in,” he said. “You need to inspire and educate.  Take them to a concert.  They may be on (the smart phone) but they internalize and maybe they’ll say, ‘I want to do that.”

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