Nikki Stringfield of the Iron Maidens shares stories of her early days at NAMM, artist endorsement and her 2015 experience with Peavey, Schecter Guitars and Rock-N-Roll GangStar Apparel.
Music Connection: Hi guys! Welcome to Music Connection at winter NAMM 2015. We’re here with Nikki Stringfield of Iron Maidens and just to start things out, this isn’t your first NAMM. Your first was actually in 2012. Tell us a little bit about that first experience coming out.
Nikki Stringfield: I had just moved here a couple of weeks prior to NAMM, and I was lucky enough to get in. And I didn’t know anybody at all. I came here just trying to get a guitar endorsement, to know people in the industry, get into a band. I didn’t have a band at the time, came here everyday, I networked, I got to know tons of people, obviously, and I ended up leaving with a guitar endorsement and a job.
So, I mean, and now I’m here and I can’t walk a couple of feet without somebody—a friend or somebody saying hi—so it’s really amazing what you can do coming here and networking everyday. It’s amazing.
MC: Yeah! It’s awesome! It’s kind of how everybody wants to be: they wanna go out, they wanna network and then come out with a job, a band, everything like you were saying.
MC: So what is the best advice you have for that musician, that person, just starting out coming to NAMM for the first time?
Stringfield: I would say definitely come everyday and especially on Sunday. Most people don’t come on Sundays, but that’s when everything’s dead. There’s not many people. My professor [Jeff Weber] that got me in told me, “Make sure you go and seal the deal. Make sure you come and follow up.” And that’s what I did on Sunday. I wasn’t going to [at first] because I was sick, but I did and that ended up being the defining moment. So just come here and network, and try not to get lost and in the craziness of everything. It’s still overwhelming.
MC: I feel a lot like with South By [Southwest] or any other big festival, you can never get used to it. You just mentally prepare but you’re never fully 100% ready for it.
MC: You’re here with a couple of people. Who are you here with this year?
Stringfield: I’m here I’m working for Peavey. I work in a Peavey Hollywood store—car show room actually. So we were here. We did the Peavey 50th anniversary party. That was fun. On Thursday we had Blue Oyster Cult and Lynyrd Skynyrd play, Michael Anthony from Van Halen.
And then I also did a clinic for Schecter guitars yesterday [Friday] with guitarist Brad Jurjens. So we did a little 20-minute guitar shred session, and then today I’m signing for Rock-n-Roll GangStar, which is this clothing company right over here. After this I’m just kind of chilling.
MC: Aw so you’re busy! You’re kind of all over the place.
MC: That’s awesome.
Stringfield: It’s good!
MC: So is Schecter and Peavey who you got hooked up with that first time that you came out?
Stringfield: Schecter was the first one. I worked with them for a brief amount of time until I got a full job. But Schecter was the first thing and then, through all the friends that I made here, I got in with Peavey. Got a full-time job where I could actually do what I pretty much went to college for marketing and stuff.
MC: That’s the dream. You get that job you went to college for, that’s the hard part.
Stringfield: Yeah it’s amazing!
MC: Can you tell me a little bit about what everyone’s showcasing this year? What Peavey’s showcasing. I know you said it was their 50th anniversary. Did they unroll some new stuff?
Stringfield: They did! The booth is down site a little bit this year, but they have a special edition 50th anniversary classic 30 amp, and it’s black and gold, which they’re usually like tweed and color. And then they have a 16 50th anniversary, I think, 6505. They have a mini head, a guitar amp as well, which is black and gold instead of just black and silver. They’re very beautiful so those are the main special limited edition things that you can get and I think that was: The 6505 and the classic.
They have Simpsons guitars, Star Wars guitars—signature ones, which are really cool. They have Marvel, DC…In addition to that I don’t think anything else is really new.
Schecter has got a million new guitars going on. I haven’t even gotten to go look at all of them but they’re beautiful. There’re quite a few of them that I would love to have.
MC: Amazing. We’re walking around and I’m like, “Ooo! I love this! I love that! I can’t even play guitar but I’ll learn from that guy.
Stringfield: Man I wanna play keyboard. I wanna do all this stuff and have all this stuff.
MC: Even like with all the little band instruments I’m like, “Oh I wanna go pick up like a tenor sax now, cause that’s cool.”
Stringfield: Yup! Cause they have some really beautiful guitars that are downstairs that are just works of art that would be for my wall. I’d be afraid to touch them.
MC: You mentioned you’re here with [Rock-N-Roll GangStar Apparel]. How did you get started with them? How did you get that?
Stringfield: The owner [of Peavey] Darryl came into the store to do a photo shoot with AC/DC’s drummer Simon Wright, and he was wearing the clothing.
I don’t remember exactly what they were doing the photo shoot for, but our photographer James Eberly—he always shoots for them. I met him and he said he’d love for me to wear the clothes, so we did a photo shoot one day and gave me the clothes, and I’m totally down with that. I’m a girl; I love clothes, cool. That’s better than my regular plain black tank top. It’s a little more rock-n-roll looking. Thank you, Darryl!
MC: To close things down and get you back to what you were doing, get you back to your booth and your work and stuff. If you could define NAMM in three words what would they be?
Stringfield: I wanna say “insane music zoo” is part of it, but “amazing networking opportunities.” That’s a good one too, so that’s six words.
MC: But we’ll split them up! It still counts, three here, three there.
Stringfield: But yeah, “insane music zoo” and “amazing networking opportunities.”