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KNAC.COM Recaps THE METAL HALL OF FAME Induction Ceremony With Video Interviews!

By Francisco Zamudio, Metal X Candy 2.0
Monday, February 10, 2020 @ 8:18 AM

By Los Angeles Correspondent Francisco Zamudio

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The energy that was flowing on January 15th in Orange County, California was indescribable. On a jam packed night full of highly respected names in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal to be honored, to the aspiring musicians who come out to be seen and absorb a hint of the energy from these honored Icons, and the highly talented musicians that performed for a hall full of fans who embrace, live and breathe all things Rock and Metal. The event formerly known as The Hall of Heavy Metal, now dubbed THE METAL HALL OF FAME has become an Annual tradition in celebrating the many great inspirations in Classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, and KNAC.COM was there to cover it all. With a list of Inductees that covers many corners of our beloved genre, this was a night for the ages. This year’s inductees into the Metal Hall of Fame included amazing guitarists Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Chris Poland. The old school Metal group METAL CHURCH, Industrial Metalists PRONG, legendary vocalists such as Don Dokken, singer and song-writer Graham Bonnet, RATT’s Stephen Pearcy, and the amazing Geoff Tate. And last but not least, Stone City Attractions and founder Jack Orbin whose concert promotion company has been responsible for some of the greatest concerts through the decades in over 40 years.

An evening that began with a star (and spike) studded red carpet with many artists there in support of their comrades. KNAC.COM had the opportunity to chat with some of the inductees as well as artists in attendance. Diego Gonzales and I tried to catch as many familiar faces as possible who graced the red carpet. Those we were able to chat with were Nita Strauss of ALICE COOPER (start of video), Neil Turbin (6:28), 2019 Inductee Carmine Appice and the youngblood group he manages known as KODIAK (17:31), local up and rising artists VANILLA SUGAR (20:58) and BUDDERSIDE (38:04). We were also able to speak to this years METAL HALL OF FAME inductees Chris Poland (23:36), PRONG (12:00), Geoff Tate (30:26) and METAL CHURCH (2:35). Aside from a few others we got to talk to, one of the great pleasures I had was to talk to Jes Fama (44:54) (ALMOST FAMA) who not only co-hosted the event with Eddie Trunk but produced the event in exceptionally outstanding fashion.

We also had a chance to talk to one of the bands opening up the evening ATTACK OF THE RISING (35:28) who recently released a video for "ON THE HORIZON" from their upcoming album that is being produced by renowned Engineer, Bill Metoyer. The live performances began outside on the terrace to warm up the crowd during a near chilly night. One of the other great groups who performed outside was Metal group HEAVEN BELOW who will soon release a covers album titled REST IN PIECES, a tribute to late Rock Icons of the past. The heavy hitting band consisting of the guitar power-couple Nikki Stringfield (THE IRON MAIDENS), who recently released an outstanding EP Harmonies For The Haunted, and Patrick Kennison (LITA FORD, UNION UNDERGROUND) on guitars, along with John Younger and Shad Wilhelm – were part of an amazing start to an epic night.

Taking place the weekend of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) 2020, the room was also filled with many hopefuls in the music industry, musicians and bands alike who wanted to rub elbows with some high-profile musicians. Some just to be seen and many others actually basking in the monumental evening. Many of these youngblood hopefuls who probably don’t fully understand the significance of the night, even moreso, a lot of these kids weren’t even born for half of these great artists. And this is only one of the many reasons that these great events are not only fun but necessary. To shine the light on those who influenced all the greats from decades before. Some still out here cranking it live and some that now sit out their later years having done enough to pull their weight in Heavy Metal.

The night circled around this year’s inductees and the first up of the night was Don Dokken who then followed it up with a rendition of "INTO THE FIRE". Granted that 40 years on the road, vocal surgery back in 2010 and a bout with cancer would take a bit of toll on the Rock Icon but it was still a great treat for everyone to see this amazing man on stage belting a DOKKEN hit. It was one of many great performances we’d see from our inductees through the night spread out between each induction.

There was a performance by inductees PRONG that hit heavy with a double-shot performing "WHOSE FIST IS THIS ANYWAY" and "SNAP YOUR FINGERS, SNAP YOU NECK". Chris Poland got up and cut some MEGADETH with an intro of "THE CONJURING" into "PEACE SELLS… BUT WHO’S BUYING".

There’s a good chance there wasn’t a dry-eye in the house when magazine Modern drummer took the time to honor the recently departed, RUSH’s legendary drummer Neil Peart. Editor Billy Amendola, Hudson Music owner Rob Wallis, Carmine Appice and Buddy Rich’s daughter, Cathy Rich shared their thoughts on the significance Peart’s drumming had, as well as the heart this man carried along and how much he touch people’s lives.

One somber moment followed another with he without whom this event would have not taken place, the CEO of DRUMS AND DISABILITIES, the organization for which this gala was thrown for, and Founder of the METAL HALL OF FAME - Pat Gesualdo. He expressed to us how his dream was to fight his disability and what music and drumming has done for him. The fight he’s endured and what propelled him to start DRUMS AND DISABILITES, whose sole effort is to rehabilitate those with handicaps through therapy involving drums -would culminate in an epic performance we’d see later in the night.

As Satriani accepted his induction, in proper fashion, he gave way and inducted Vai. This would lead to the pinnacle of the night with a grand performance and dueling guitar solo set by crowd favorites Steve Vai and Joe Satriani along with Chris Poland and Geoff Tate on vocals and with the Man of the Night, Pat Gesualdo dishing it out to their rendition of BLACK SABBATH’s "PARANOID".

As the crowd had thinned out by the end of the night, several musicians came to stage to throw a lighthearted “jam” and played a few cover songs as a soundtrack to mellow out the night and bring a close to what was a phenomenal night to give recognition not only to veterans in Hard Rock and Metal, but to shed some more necessary light to award and honor these Icons in proper fashion, with passion. When other “Hall of Fames” fall extremely short and continue to SELL OUT and disassociate themselves with Rock and Roll, THE METAL HALL OF FAME steps up to grab the scene by the trip-wire and blows open the doors on a new chapter in music Hall of Fame.

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