Interview: Hall of Heavy Metal History founder Pat Gesualdo
Image provided by Pat Gesualdo

The Hall of Heavy Metal History is dedicated to recognizing the iconic metal musicians and music industry executives responsible for making Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music what it is today. The contributions these talented men and women have made to the metal music genre have been invaluable and inspired generation after generation of Heavy Metal fans throughout the world. AXS spoke with Hall of Heavy Metal History founder Pat Gesualdo to learn more about the Hall and the 2018 HHMH induction ceremony.

AXS: When did you found the Hall of Heavy Metal History?

Pat Gesualdo: I was at home watching the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2016 and I was really kind of aggravated how there were artists that deserved to be in there that were never inducted. I didn’t like the way Deep Purple was treated either and I thought something needs to be done about this. I decided to create my own show and call it the Hall of Heavy Metal History to honor all those metal musicians that have been carrying the flag for so long and go unrecognized and unappreciated. It is not just musicians either there are plenty of other people in the industry that need to be recognized as well.

AXS: You said the HHMH doesn’t only honor musicians. Who else is represented?

P.G.: Managers, record company executives, music journalists, photographers, DJs. Anyone who has been prominent in keeping metal music real and alive over the years. There are other criteria too. For instance you have to be in the metal industry for 20 years. The people that work behind the scenes are just as important to the industry as the artists are. The music industry is one big family, we are all related. We all work very hard. The people behind the scenes often go unnoticed though and they work just as hard if not harder than the musicians in keeping metal music out there.

AXS: How do you decide upon inductees? Is there a nomination process?

P.S.: Yes. I went to industry executives I knew, told them what I wanted to do and we put a nominating committee together. It is also open to the public though. People can sent in an email and drop us their vote. With most award shows fans really don’t get the chance to be part of things. They may say fans have a say in those other shows, but the reality of it is they really don’t.

AXS: When is the induction ceremony?

P.S.: It takes place Jan 24, 2018 at the Wyndham Anaheim Garden Grove.

AXS: Is the event open to the general public and is there a meet and greet?

P.S.: Yes. Fans can go to to purchase tickets. There is a limited amount of tickets available for the meet and greet option as well.

AXS: You are also involved with some wonderful organizations, D.A.D. (Drumming and Disabilities) and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. Can you tell us a bit about them?

P.S.: The D.A.D. program is something I started about 14 years ago. I had pioneered in drum therapy years before that, but 14 years ago is when I turned it into a non-profit. We 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 including Turrets, Autism, MS, Cerebral Palsy, ADD, OCD and ADHD. Drum therapy helps develop retention, coordination, fine motor skills in addition to physical and cognitive functioning.

All this came about do to my own fight with disabilities. Originally the Drs. thought I had cerebral palsy when I was younger. I had no fine motor skills. I could not speak. I had braces on my legs because of not having the motor skills. I was also severely dyslexic so I couldn’t read or write. Through all of this though, I wanted to be a drummer. It took me one year of practicing 3-4 hours each day to just get the coordination to get my left hand and left foot to come down at the same time.

Working with Wendy Dio and the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund has been phenomenal. They are a wonderful organization that has done tremendous things for pancreatic and prostate cancer. The D.A.D. program works with them to help the children battling cancer.

AXS: How is the Hall of Heavy Metal History associated with the D.A.D. and Stand Up and Shout charities?

P.G.: Actually 100% of all the money raised by the Hall of Heavy Metal History goes to the charities.

AXS: Do you do other types of musical therapy, such as guitar?

P.G.: No. I have had other people ask me that before. It really is about the rhythm in drum therapy and its effectiveness. Drum therapy is different than regular music therapy because drum therapy actually retrains the synapsis of the brain. It helps develop coordination, retention and fine motor skills whereas the other types of music therapies are more cathartic. Those types of therapies are great things. The D.A.D. program has trained neuroscientists, brain surgeons, occupational and speech therapists, behavioral therapists who have reported back that the children and adults they are working with are achieving great milestones in their lives due to drum therapy. It is a very powerful moment when a parent sees their child do something for the very first time. We have had some great success stories.

Bill Ward (Black Sabbath, Ward One)
Lzzy Hale (Halestorm)
Billy Sheehan (David Lee Roth, Mr. Big, The Winery Dogs)
Carmine Appice (Ozzy Osbourne, Paul Stanley)
Induction by Vinny Appice
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater, Rudess/Morgenstein)
Metal Mike Chlasciak (Halford, Painmuseum, Courtesy of Marshall Amps)
Munsey Ricci (President, Skateboard Marketing)
Sammy Ash (COO Sam Ash Music)
Elliott Rubinson (Dean Guitars, with Rubinson family accepting the Induction)

Red Carpet 5 PM
Press Conference 6 PM – 6:45
Doors Open 6 PM
Cocktail Reception 7 PM – 8 PM
Budderside Band 7:15 PM – 7:45 PM
Induction Ceremony 8 PM – 9:30 PM
Carmine & Vinny Appice Band 9:30 PM – 10 PM
Induction Ceremony 10 PM – 11 PM
Meet & Greet 11:00 PM (VIP TICKET ONLY)

Hall of Heavy Metal History tickets cost $34.99 in advance or $40 at the door. Meet and Greet tickets are $100 and include general admission.