Reports From NAMM Part 1 – Alice Cooper and Ernie Cafalu

A few weeks ago, I was given the assignment to go behind the Orange Curtain and cover the NAMM show at the Anaheim Convention Center. If you’ve never been to NAMM, it’s essentially an amped-up version of a Guitar Center; wall to wall crowds, rock stars, wanna-be rock stars, and some seriously interesting products hidden amongst just about every single music-related thing that can be sold. There’s the “drum hall,” a section of the convention center that is primarily concerned with all things drum, and it’s a loud area. There’s the requisite new guitar models, new amp models, new…well, you get the picture.

While I was down there browsing around in the annex section, I came across the Sound Techniques booth.  Sound Techniques is a company that built out recording consoles for some of the most famous bands ever, from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to The Who.  There’s a serious story there, and to help tell it they employed someone who was there, designing albums for many of these great band, my friend Ernie Cefalu. I originally covered Ernie Cefalu here in The Beat back in July of 2015, and since then have become closely associated with him and his work.

Cefalu, having taken part in album covers for Aerosmith, Black Sabbath, Cheech and Chong, Grand Funk Railroad, Jefferson Airplane and many others, was also involved with another huge band or two…I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Ernie Cefalu was one of the designers of the original Rolling Stones “Lips and Tongue” logo, and was proudly displaying the original artwork for this well-known rock and roll masterpiece. Ernie’s biggest client however, is Alice Cooper. Ernie Cefalu did some thirteen albums for Alice and they have remained close friends to this day.

Purely by coincidence, Alice was right next door to the Sound Techniques booth, making an appearance for Shure Microphones, and when thee two spotted each other, it was just as Ernie Cefalu has described it; two old friends. The two met up, exchanged hugs, and Cooper hinted at something that’s upcoming in the spring.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what that is, but remember, you heard it here first!  Legendary producer Bob Ezrin recently posted something on Ernie’s Facebook page and the two men still work together after all these years. Ernie is a true legend! Just to emphasize the gravity of this relationship, the original artwork for Welcome To My Nightmare was present.  It’s quite stunning to see this album masterpiece in person, its much larger than one would think, and if you look closely, you can see the brush marks in the oil painting.

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Ivor Levene

About Ivor Levene

Ivor Levene likes to interview musicians, write about music and musicians, play music, listen to music, read about music, photograph musicians, and anything else you can think of with music. He has been involved with the music scene for over thirty years and his posts have appeared all over the place! Ivor says "I'm going to write about music as long as I have something to say".
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