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Apple Evangelist Guy Kawasaki and The Art of Innovation: ‘Don’t Let the Bozos Grind You Down’

Guy Kawasaki Says Forge Ahead With Good Product

By DONNA BALANCIA

Guy Kawasaki gave his inspiring “Art of Innovation” presentation before a packed house at the NAMM Show Saturday breakfast.

The former Apple marketing “evangelist” had an important message for the crowd of mostly music merchants: Persevere with new ideas no matter what others say.

Stick with your idea, continually develop your idea, but stay away from the clowns, he said during his 10-point presentation.

Kawasaki: No Clowns Here

“There are two kinds of ‘Bozos,'” Kawasaki said. “There is the ‘Loser Bozo,’ the kind with the B.O. and the pocket protector and there is the ‘Winner Bozo’ who wears all black clothing and has a lot of things that end in ‘I’ like Lamborghini.”

The “Loser Bozo” is not a threat.  But be careful of the “Winner Bozo,” the dangerous Bozo, who says no to your idea. You have to separate rich, famous and powerful from those who have been lucky, Kawasaki said.

Kawasaki told the audience it’s important to be “inoculated” against “Bozocity” by being attuned to phrases like “It can’t be done,” and “Why would anyone …?”

Guy Kawasaki said innovators have the bravery to crack a joke - Photo courtesy of Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki said innovators have the bravery to crack a joke – Photo courtesy of Guy Kawasaki

Generally, those who are afraid of change or the new idea, are threatened for their own job security and will say no.  So go find someone else to pitch and keep going, he said.

Kawasaki says ‘Jump’

Don’t be afraid to “jump the river” and get to the next level of development and continue to think ahead of the curve.  He also said that when you make a presentation, don’t be afraid to crack a joke. He mentioned that on a trip to Russia, he snapped a pic of himself in front of large cannon balls and made a crack about bravery in his presentation.

Other suggestions Kawasaki made include making fans not just at the elusive CEO-level, but start at the ground level, with the people in the trenches because they’ll always be your fans.

Make a niche for yourself. Find the place that the competitors are not, in terms of uniqueness and value. And if you have fans and supporters who may not exactly be in the niche you’re going for, that’s OK too. Don’t turn them away.

And work hard to get that first believer or investor.  It’s good to show people you have at least one solid supporter.  Then you can get the others.

Don Was To Be Honored with Les Paul Statue During TEC Awards at NAMM Show

Don Was - Photo courtesy CBS

Don Was – Photo courtesy CBS

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.

NAMM 2015 Wrap-Up: Products You’ll See In Music Stores

Moog Theramini demo - photo by Donna Balancia

Moog Theramini demo – photo by Donna Balancia

By DONNA BALANCIA — Synthesizers, new apps, and guitars dominated NAMMShow 2015 as music retailers got a sneak peek of what will soon hit the stores.

Favorites included Moog’s $300 Theremini, Orange Music Education’s Musicboard, and Taylor Guitar’s latest line of guitars.

Bob Moog began building theremins in 1954 — they are considered one of the  oldest electronic instruments.  The theremin is the only instrument known that you play without touching.  Moog has come a long way since those days building theremins in the basement with his father.

The theremin is a single oscillator instrument that uses two metal rod antennas to control pitch and amplitude.

Make Noise photo by Donna Balancia

Make Noise – Photo by Donna Balancia

The left antenna — a horizontal hoop —  reduces the amplitude as the left hand is moved closer to it. Meanwhile, the right antenna — a vertical pole —  increases the pitch as the right hand is moved towards it.

Moog’s company has sold more theremins to more professionals than anyone in history.  While there are a range from which to choose, for the price and the convenient size, EastCoastRocker.com likes the Theremini.

Up-and-comer in the category is Make Noise Music, who have come up with a cool, portable synthesizer.

The Musicboard - photo by Donna Balancia

The Musicboard – photo by Donna Balancia

Another cool innovation, this one in the area of music education — is the Musicboard by Orange Music Education.

The invention enables teachers to engage students with an interactive board that plays notes and changes keys with the touch of a wand.

Music education is the key to success in music retail.  Orange Amplification, the parent company to OME, is based in the U.K.

Blackbird Guitars- story by East Coast Rocker

Blackbird Guitars – photo by Donna Balancia

Guitars of all shapes and sizes about at NAMM, but our two favorites are California’s

own Taylor Guitars and Blackbird Guitars.  Taylor’s Big Baby line is popular, and if Taylor is good enough for San Diego’s Jason Mraz, it’s good enough for us.

Our other favorite is up-and-comer in the category, Blackbird guitars, which makes its instruments from all-natural products.

For more NAMM VIDEO go to the YouTube Channel of EastCoastRocker.com’s sister site: California Rocker YouTube Channel.

END #NAMM

Slash To Receive Les Paul Award at NAMM

Slash TEC award - story by Donna Balancia

Slash – photo courtesy NAMM

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Superstar guitarist Slash will receive the Les Paul Award during the 30th Annual NAMM Technical Excellence and Creativity Awards, Saturday night, 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.

Previous winners include Pete Townshend, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, Neil Young and Peter Gabriel. Last year’s recipient was Todd Rundgren.

Rock Stars and Guitars: The East Coast Rocker Interview with Stevie Salas

The Stevie Salas signature Idolmaker is a lot like the artist himself, purposeful with quality, and just a little flashy.

The Stevie Salas signature Idolmaker is a lot like the artist himself, purposeful with quality, and just a little flashy.

 

The Idolmaker, Stevie Salas signature by Framus Warwick —  

By DONNA BALANCIA – Stevie Salas has worked with the best.  But despite being selected to play lead guitar for Mick Jagger, George Clinton and a host of other famous superstars, Salas is true to his humble Southern California roots.

“This is my third signature model in 25 years,” Salas told East Coast Rocker.  Salas’ extensive work as musical director for 19 Entertainment and American Idol inspired the name of the guitar.

“People have told me they think it’s the most beautifully crafted guitar and that’s not because they were talking to me and it’s my signature guitar.  It is extremely good quality. I wanted something different, something that wasn’t a ripoff of a Stratocaster or a Les Paul.”

Sleek in its purple and black with gold tone, the Idolmaker, like the rock star himself, purposeful with quality, and just a little bit flashy. The neckwood is maple, the fretboard is Tigerstripe Ebony with Indian Feather Inlay, a reminder of Salas’ Native American heritage.  It is a carved body top, the bodywood is 1-inch AAA Quilted Maple top with Mahogany body.

Particularly interesting to Salas is Warwick’s devotion to the planet: The company is known to purchase its wood from sustainable sources.

“A few years ago,  I met Hans-Peter Wilfer, who owns Warwick,” Salas said. “I like his views.  Since I have a Native American background, I wanted something that was environmentally friendly.”

Salas said he took a tour around the production facilities in Germany, met the head of production, designer Marcus Spangler and was impressed with what he saw.

“I wanted the precision of German craftsmanship but also the Native American warmth,” Salas said.

Check out Stevie’s Guitar 

CLICK HERE FOR SALAS at FRAMUS NAMMSHOW

— By DONNA BALANCIA

 

On Todd Rundgren’s Les Paul Award: ‘We’ve Been Waiting So Long’

Todd Rundgren in 1981 - Photo courtesy Eric Gardner

Todd Rundgren in 1981 – Photo courtesy Eric Gardner

By DONNA BALANCIA — Todd Rundgren will receive the Les Paul Award at the National Association of Music Merchants Show, and fans say it’s been a long time coming.

Todd will be presented with the award at the 29th annual Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards during NAMM for his several decades performing and writing music, his producing skills, and continued experimentation in electronic music.

The award recognizes outstanding achievement in professional audio technology and production and will be presented Friday, Jan. 24 at the Anaheim Hilton.

Todd’s recordings ranging from “Hello It’s Me,” and “Can We Still be Friends,” to the Boomer vacation theme “Bang The Drum All Day,” are known to the masses.  His consistently interesting and artistic live performances may be known to fewer.

But how is it that this prolific musician and producer of such talents as Rick Derringer, Hall and Oates, Patti Smith, Grand Funk Railroad and Meat Loaf could go all these years without a nod from his colleagues?

Maybe, we’re told, Todd just didn’t clap loud enough at the right times. Or for the right people.

Utopia: Todd Rundgren, Willie Wilcox, Roger Powell and Kasim Sultan

Utopia: Todd Rundgren, Willie Wilcox, Roger Powell and Kasim Sultan

Besides, Todd doesn’t have time to deal with professional politics, because he’s too busy giving back.

Like the time he and his band Utopia performed during the benefit at South Street Seaport in New York City to raise money after Derringer’s instruments had been stolen. Even robotic Roger Powell stiffly glanced up from his keyboard through wrap-around shades to blurt into the microphone in his monotone voice: “It’s a beautiful thing.”

Over the years Todd’s shows have always included some kind of suprise: New wave jumpsuits, a cool new version of a classic like Debussy’s “Bolero,”  or a techie treat.

One year we saw Todd play a San Diego stage all alone with two projection screens on either side that simultaneously broadcast his unplugged session.  It appeared as if he did all the adjustments and fine-tuning himself, and, it sure didn’t sound like he was up on stage by himself.  The audience was enraptured – the guy sitting next to me admitted his admiration and love for Todd, and alternated between swooning and weeping during the show.

Innovative tech sounds can be heard on Todd’s recordings. But technology infrastructure is something that made him a standout. Todd licensed an I-Pad-like slate to Apple years prior to anything similar, and he established a distribution model based on “interactivity” — long  before the word became the mantra of Northern California’s Silicon Valley.

But sometimes, Todd’s adventures in technology are misunderstood.

Todd Rundgren: Trying technology and more.

Todd Rundgren: Trying technology and more.

As Bugs Bunny once remarked, “They laughed at the guy who discovered Penicillin,” and there may have similarly been a giggle when Todd held a press conference for last spring’s release, STATE, via an online Google Hangout session, sporting some fancy glasses.

But it is an evolving era as Todd says, and he’s been happy with his laptop and software.  But now his new music innovation will come through a different type of interactivity.

He and Michele are investing time and efforts into their latest mission: Spirit of Harmony Foundation.

“The purpose is to provide support and funding to school programs and other sorts of organizations who are trying to bring music to people who don’t have it,” said Todd, “Especially in terms of learning how to play instruments, learning how to understand what music is all about and having the opportunity to express yourself through that medium.”

UPDATE:  Check out the newly created website for the Spirit of Harmony Foundation

Cort Guitars teams with Jeff Berlin on 2014 model Bass

cort berlinCort Guitars and Jeff Berlin have collaborated to release the Jeff Berlin Signature bass guitar for 2014.  The new model will debut at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, Calif., and will ship to dealers in February.

An official European launch will begin in March starting with the London Bass Guitar Show followed by various clinics around Europe and culminating at the Musikmesse Frankfurt.

Called the RITHIMIC, the bass features an alder body with a spalted maple and padouk top.  Outfitting the body are a pair of Bartolini Jeff Berlin custom soapbar pickups, a Babicz FCH4 bridge, one volume control, one balance control, one tone control, passive electronics and gold hardware.

The hard rock maple neck is complemented with a rosewood fingerboard and four inline headstock featuring Hipshot Ultralight tuners.  The action on the bass is low and it is set up with DR Strings Custom DDT (Drop Down Tuning) for easy playing.

NAMM takes place Jan. 23-26.

Read more at www.cortguitars.com