Our NAMM booth in 2010 was at the back of Hall E which is as far away as you can get from the action when we got word Bootsy Collins was coming over. When the funkiest guy in the universe, who provided the bass for James Brown, walks across acres of exhibition floor fighting through all the fans just to say hello to us, we were truly honored. He said he loves the SUB-WAH because it is the funkiest wah out there, bar none.
At our very first NAMM show we had only one pedal on display! Our very first pedal was the CHOPPER — one pedal in a show full of the titans of the industry! We were unsure how people would react to the pedal and this was our test. Then Joe Baressi, a well renowned record producer (Skunk Anansie, Weezer etc) walked by. He had been working with Tool, and bought six pedals on the spot and gave them as belated Christmas presents to all the members of Tool and a few other musicians.
He later told us that Tool had a “Chopper fest” with chops going down on vocals, guitar, saxophone and I think he said drums but I am not sure. One day he called us to say that Tool had used the CHOPPER all over 10,000 days — we were thrilled with that!
If you can imagine how much attention a Creed star like Mark gets at a show like NAMM, then maybe it makes it more impressive that he actually takes the time to stop and try out the pedals despite all the fuss around him. Since then Mark has used our pedals a lot. I delivered a few more to him when Alterbridge came to town in Boston.
Buddy Miles passed by our booth and heard me demoing the pedals using a Strat and doing some Hendrix licks. I had previously played with Buddy in Boston at a gig called Harpers Ferry in Boston, but I am not sure he remembered that. He invited me to jam with him and Vernon Reid and Andrew Gouche on the John Lennon Stage at NAMM. We did all along the Watchtower and a few other favorites. Sadly Buddy passed away soon after this gig, and it must have been one of his last public appearances, if not the last. I am honored to have played with some of rock’s greats and my heroes from my teenage years and Buddy is one of them.