Article by Nicholas LaRosa ~ Photos by Kimberly Annette

_MG_2383NAMM is, at its core, a four day long spectacle of all things new and innovative in the music industry. It is for this reason that it has a tendency to draw artists from across the country to sunny Anaheim, California for four days of celebrating what they love the most: Music. What better time then, for assembling musicians to participate in tribute shows honoring some of Rock and

_H5A3652 Roll’s dearly departed icons? Thanks to the efforts of Brian Tichy (Whitesnake, Foreigner, Billy Idol), NAMM 2014 featured two such shows; extracurriculars for those who were still jonesing for a musical fix after the eight-hour days spent stomping around the Anaheim Convention Center. Both the Bonzo Bash, a show honoring late great Led Zeppelin drummer John Bohnam, and The Randy Rhoads Remembered tribute, an honoring of the famed Ozzy Osbourne and Quiet Riot guitarist, brought together a who’s who of the greats of Rock and Roll for two nights of memories and, frankly, damn good musicianship.

The Bonzo Bash Namm Jamm 2014 took place on Jan. 23 at the Observatory, a small venue nestled in the heart of Santa Ana, and featured thirty or so of the biggest names in _MG_2429drumming, include Korn’s Ray Luzier, Anthrax’s Charlie Benante, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction and Poison’s Rikki Rockett. Each drummer was given the chance to perform a song of their choosing from Zeppelin’s legendary catalog, accompanied by a truly talented house band on guitars, vocals and keyboards. In addition to honoring the show’s namesake, an award was presented to Bill Ward, Black Sabbath’s long estranged drummer, who attended the show in person to proudly receive his prize.

While the five plus hour show bordered on excessive, the jam session-style format allowed for a few truly candid moments. Tichey, who served as the shows master of ceremonies, encouraged participants to share their memories of growing up under the influence of the Bohnam. The night culminated in a spontaneous percussion jam, giving everyone a chance to get in on the act and pay homage by adding to the symphony of noise.

_MG_5099Night three of NAMM saw the Randy Rhoads Remembered tribute show. The brain child of Brian Tichey and Joe Sutton, the idea to honor roads was the result of hours of preparation for Bonzo Bash and the founder’s mutual admiration and respect for the work and legacy of the guitarist who, in many ways, revived the career of rock’s prince of darkness, Ozzy Osbourne. Again, Brian Tichey, who reprized his role as MC in addition to lending a hand as drummer for the house band, used his little black book of rock and roll power players to assemble an impressive ensemble of guitar royalty. Members of the Rhoads family were present for the night and, in a heartfelt address to the crowd, Randy’s older brother Kelle expressed their appreciation for the musicians and fans assembled that night.

“From my family, I want to say we appreciate you being here tonight. God bless my little brother, an icon among icons. What’s the likelihood that a skinny kid from Burbank would be the greatest guitarist who ever lived?”

His sentiment was greeted by roaring applause as the house band launched into the first of a night’s worth of Rhoads’ songs, all the while rotating through a series of iconic axe-men.

Rock stars aside, the Legacy of Rhoads may have been most apply exhibited by a performance early in the night RANDY_RHODES_STUDENT_AND _STUDENTOFSTUDENT_MG_5194featuring Janet Robin of Air Supply, a former student of Randy’s, accompanied by one of her students, twelve year old Garrett Podgorski. Together, with accompaniment from the House band, who Tichey dubbed the Mad Men, the two shredded Ozzy Osbourne’s “Tonight” with expert precision.

“We stuck pretty close to the original but messed with the solo a little bit.” said Robin, “That’s the way Randy would have wanted it.”

Judging from the crowds reception to the cover, they didn’t mind the changes at all.

Tributes to rock stars are tricky things. It’s hard to define the lives of people who shone so brightly but for so short a time in just one night. In the end it’s the music that serves as their legacy, and as long a kids sit back in their rooms, throw on the records, and dream big dreams of rock and roll glory, whether that be with a guitar in their hands or sitting at the kit, legends like Bohnam and Rhoads will never truly be forgotten.





NAMM: The Music of Bonham and Rhoads Remembered
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