QUEEN by Neal Preston and Behind the Scenes

Who is the one band you wish you wish the most you had been able to see in concert? For me, it’s Queen. I grew up with a poster of Freddie’s striped costume above, and all the vinyl I could get my hands on, singing into open albums to hear myself better. Queen taught me harmonies, and a love for intellectual lyrics and musicality.

At The NAMM Show, there were surprises at every corner. I had been following news on this Queen book for quite some time. Every time I’d see press about it in my work emails, I’d get so curious about the book. When I found out that photographer Neal Preston was going to be at the Behind the Scenes booth signing copies, I knew I had to meet him. I wrote an email in hopes he was actually checking them during the convention. He actually replied and told me where and when to find him.

Neal Preston photo by Rochelle Smith

Neal Preston is someone you know. You know his photos, posters, album covers, magazines, documentaries, and more. This legend has spent 4 decades doing concert photography, best known as the Led Zeppelin U.S. Tour photographer. He has also worked with Springsteen, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Heart, Duran Duran, Live Aid, and Queen in Mexico and South America.

This book is a grand masterpiece, and I’m sure Freddie would approve. It’s a quality coffee table sized book, with many personal and tour photos of the band. As their tour photographer, Neal captured many sides of each member of the band. He also includes stories and conversations he’s had with members of the band. If you or anyone you know is a huge Queen fan, this book is a must-have. I’ve shown it to a few friends who flip through it and say, “wow, this is awesome.” I am going to savor each page of this book, and take it all in. I was on the air at a local rock station the night Freddie Mercury passed away, and announced it live, with a lump in my throat. The phone just kept ringing, as people hoped the news wasn’t true. It took me years to even be able to finish a Queen DVD or documentary without getting too emotional. This band had helped me out of some dark times growing up, where I could seclude myself and enter these colorful musical worlds they had created.

More photos of your favorite singers can be found in the book above.

The booth was very busy at NAMM, as everyone wanted Neal’s autograph. As he signed my copy, I asked if there was one specific memory of Queen that stood out to him. He just said, “It’s all in the book.”

The Behind the Scenes group is an amazing resource of suicide prevention information. Some of the proceeds this day were going to this amazing organization.

Specifically for Entertainment Technology Professionals, Basic Needs, Counseling, and Funeral Assistance grants are available through this website. Behind the Scenes resources are impressive. Counseling includes clinical, psychological, social work, and substance abuse help.

Purchase the Neal Preston Queen book HERE, and know you’re helping this worthy cause of suicide prevention.

Donate HERE!

Have questions or comments? Email me.

NAMM 2022

Imagine having Treefort inside and out, and adding a huge convention convention center filled with around a thousand booths of instruments on 3 different floors, software, stage lighting, DJ equipment, workshops, and performers. Last time it was 4 floors, but there still wasn’t enough time to see everything there. Imagine different sounds every 10 feet, where you can play your favorite guitar, drums, keyboards, ukuleles, and new inventions you haven’t even seen yet. This is NAMM.

A broadcaster’s grant helped me make this journey possible, and I’m very thankful to the Publicists who gave me media credentials for press coverage. It’s been a rough year with health stuff, and I really needed this bit of doing my favorite thing.

Fog Bubbles

I know it’s silly, but I love this fog bubble machine. I saw it during the 2020 NAMM Show, and fell in love. I’d love to see a club here get one of these. Kids love this machine.

I hit the ground running with a Women of NAMM after-party at a hotel. It was a great networking event, we were given a free beverage and fancy appetizers, while hearing music and speakers. Hotel Row is filled with many extra performances and events during the convention. NAMM is full of crazy cool tech. The workshops and seminars are really informative. I attended events like Sound Advice From Women Visionaries, hands-on immersive audio, and a double session on how to make effective videos for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. This one was so interesting, breaking down what elements are needed at what time to keep your audience, and the importance of the first 3 seconds.

Robots

These were creepy and cool, full human-sized robots. No one else was with them, and there was a strange quietness compared to the surrounding cacophony all around.

I was inside a hotel, when I heard a sound that drew me outside. I was lucky to catch part of a sound check with Preservation Hall Jazz Band, from New Orleans. There is every style of music you can imagine, performing somewhere at NAMM.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Electronic, organic, and everything in between can be heard in the convention center. This guys doesn’t work in the booth, but makes this suitcase drum sound amazing.

Suitcase Drum

Some of my favorite things over the weekend, included meeting Neil Preston, author of this delightful Queen coffee table photo book. I will be reviewing this very soon, with much more information including the suicide prevention non-profit he is associated with.

Saturday night I attended the NAMM TEC Awards. This is nerdness to the nth degree .It honors brand new tech, some of it isn’t even in stores yet. Last NAMM I saw Joni Mitchell at this award show. I wrote a separate blog about this, products, software, mics and preamps that are the BEST of the best. Let your nerd/freak flag fly by reading the blog HERE.

My absolute favorite event was the industry drum circle. The founders of REMO drums were an incognito part of the 300+ people circled around between hotels. I grabbed a seat and small djembe, and found myself playing for an hour until I had to run to get my TEC Award credentials. I’ve done drum jams and circles for years, but never one this large. I can’t describe to you the power of this event. All instruments were provided. Everyone of any age or background was encouraged to play, reminded to breathe. We made up rhythms that would change in speed and intensity as the group felt it together. It was impossible to think about anything but drumming, and the people smiling all around you.

If you write, play, produce, film, DJ, dance, or even just listen to music, you will absolutely love The NAMM Show. Plan ahead for next year’s show, April 13-15 2023. Your entire family will love this, plus it’s near Disneyland. I really hope to be there next year, and so should you!

Have questions or comments? Email me.