The NAMM trauma is not over

I witnessed first-hand trauma yesterday. And unlike the ‘Nam of the 60’s and 70’s, the NAMM (International Music Products Association) of today doesn’t even have a dubious philosophy to make its casualties understandable.

The analogy between the Vietnam War and a trade show me seem a little far-fetched or even tasteless, but let me elaborate. Let’s use actual hardened and traumatised victims of both conflicts. A guy from my home town, John was a Vietnam vet. A friend of mine, let’s call him Steve, is still serving active duty with NAMM. Their stories are as follows:


John found he did bond very closely with his platoon in Vietnam, but found on a wider scale it could get ‘dog-eat-dog’ damn quickly. If it came down to a fight over the best position to sleep or food to eat, there was no such thing as being on the same side. Strongest man won.

Steve, when discussing NAMM said “I don’t want to have meals with people I don’t like”. He regaled me with stories of clashes with fellow industry professionals over limited resources (in this case access to music gear or information about music gear). It continues to be every man or woman for themselves.

Psychological impact of conflict

John admitted he did have difficulty sleeping for a long time after the war and still finds he drifts into thinking about key events he witnessed.

Steve, when asked to describe the impact NAMM has on him stated: “I hate the fucking stress. I can feel it all over my body, from sore joints to headaches to chest pains. Hate it, fucking hate it, hate hate hate hate hate.”

Geographical dislocation

John, as a country guy from a small town, found the Vietnam experience disorientating to say the least. The days off were not a lot more than an avoidance of the traumas experienced with no real sense of absorbing another country’s culture guven the war situation.

Steve, when asked about attending NAMM in Anaheim, stated “I don’t even like Anaheim. I only go there for NAMM. I can’t even go to Disneyland anymore, since it’s next door to the convention center and I’d run into the possibility of thinking about NAMM while I was there.”

Personal relationships

John described how it was difficult to describe what he’d been through to his wife and family, and had difficulty relating to friends who hadn’t served.

Steve was very descriptive on this same issue: “I really don’t like drinking next to Lemmy in the Hilton bar, or any other leftover piece of shit from the Sunset Strip. And I don’t like hangovers. And I don’t like being hungover along with 50,000 other hungover motherfuckers.”

General view on their experiences

John overall regrets his experiences at war, particularly given the political motives and public reaction.

Steve summarised his feelings succinctly: “Because of NAMM, I no longer give a fuck about gear. I’m sickened by the thought of some pierced, tattooed, and spandex-clad chick trying to bribe me to get to the front of the line where some fucking bozo can sign her tits. I don’t want to hear any music. I don’t want to have meals with people I don’t like so they can try and sell me things I won’t be buying. I’m sick of little wanna-be rock stars that no one other than their mom has heard of trying to tell me why I need to give away products to them.”

So my point is, there may not be bullets and people dying before your eyes, but the 21st Century has its own private wars for some people. And they too deserve medals and recognition.


  1. Great analogy!

    Never been to NAMM, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express a few times so I know this it the twuth!

  2. Christopher Robin says:

    International Music Products Association? Wouldn’t that be IMPA?? And then, wouldn’t the attendees be considered IMPA-Loompas?

  3. Maybe it’s a Baa-namm?

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