Hall of Heavy Metal History Awards Ceremony Gives Legendary Headbangers Their Due

Testament (Courtesy of the band)

This year as NAMM rolls through Anaheim, the city and surrounding communities of OC become flooded with all things music: special concerts, jam sessions, artist meet and greets, pre-parties, after parties, clinics, and even awards ceremonies. This year is no exception, as the annual Hall of Heavy Metal History Gala and Awards Ceremony will take place tonight, January 23, in Anaheim. This year, 2019 inductees include thrash band Testament, old school metal band Saxon, Frank Bello from Anthrax, Dave Ellefson from Megadeth and many many more legends of heavy metal music.

New Jersey resident Pat Gesualdo, who founded the Hall of Heavy Metal History several years ago, told the Weekly that the HHMH was created in response to the lack of coverage and recognition by The Rock n Roll Hall of Fame or Grammy’s, as well as to give a spotlight to people behind the scenes of heavy metal music, such as producers, managers, journalists, and people who help run the tours, one show at a time. Gesualdo, a lifelong metalhead, and professional drummer also runs DAD, (Drumming And Disabilities) the non-profit organization to help people of all ages and walks of life with disabilities, by teaching drumming, using music as therapy.

Gesualdo created the DAD program in 2004. “When I was a child, I had a disability, and I used drumming as a way to help me overcome it,” Gesualdo says. “With DAD, the concept was to use drum therapy to retrain synapsis in the brain to help develop physical and cognitive functioning in children and adults with different levels of disabilities, everything from Autism, Cerebral Palsy, ADHD and more.”

Now, DAD is a program active in 15 countries worldwide, and dozens of US states, Gesualdo says. “We work with universities and colleges, mental hospitals, researchers, neuroscientists, physical therapists, drummers, musicians who use modalities of drum therapy for various disabilities,” he says. This program is in many school systems for adolescents, but we also help adults, and even veterans.”

“The connection between this Hall of Heavy Metal History event and DAD is that we do charity through music and help as many people with disabilities as we can using music, “ Gesualdo says, adding that he has also worked with the Ronnie James Dio Cancer Fund to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Gesualdo has been professionally playing drums for 42 years and has worked with musicians such as KISS, Deep Purple and Quite Riot among many others, and though he plays different genres, he will always love heavy metal. “I always have projects going on,” he says. “But my passion and love are for heavy metal music, which led me to create the Hall of Heavy Metal History Awards, as my homage to this music that we have all loved for so long, I am proud to be part of keeping its legacy alive. “

This year, among the many special icons, will be many the 80s metal/hard rock scene and legendary musicians who played with the greats like Dio and Ozzy. “This year Lita Ford will be introduced by Doro Pesch, that is so cool,” Gesualdo says. “Also, we have producer Max Norman, amazing drummer Mike Portnoy, and a special for musician Lee Kerslake.”

Gesualdo says that this year a special guest will be the legendary drummer for Ozzy, Lee Kerslake, who also played with bands like Uriah Heep. In late 2018, radio interview, Kerslake revealed that he was battling cancer, and was given months to live. “For this reason, we are going to present him with his platinum awards for the Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of Madman albums, it was his dying wish.”

Gesualdo is ecstatic about this year’s show, which will also pay tribute to Southern CA rock station KLOS 95.5, and other musicians, managers, and producers. “It’s a great honor to have all our inductees this year they are all close to our heart every year we have a lot of icons, so it would be great for everyone to turn out and join us for this massive celebration of heavy metal.”

The Hall of Heavy Metal History Gala and Awards Ceremony is open to the public. It will take place on Wednesday, January 23, 2019, at the Marriot Delta Garden Grove Hotel, 12021 Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, CA 92840. Tickets can be found online: https://thehallofheavymetalhistory.org/product/award-show-ticket/

Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy,  radio, food, tattoos,  the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.

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