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Hall of Heavy Metal History inducts first members

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Pat Gesualdo, CEO of Drums and Disabilities, plays the drums at the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of the program on December 19, 2015. Pat Gesualdo, CEO of Drums and Disabilities, plays the drums at the ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening of the program on December 19, 2015. (Photo courtesy of HoHMH/Karen Fucito)

Pat Gesualdo, virtuoso drummer and founder/CEO of non-profit group D.A.D. (Drums and Disabilities) says it was his disappointment in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that inspired him to establish the Hall of Heavy Metal History.

“I’m a big Deep Purple fan and watched the broadcast last year when Purple was inducted,” Gesualdo told me in a phone interview last week. “They get up to accept their award and the camera pans to an audience that was half asleep. They looked like they didn’t want to be there. A few minutes later, the place goes nuts when (late rapper) Eazy-E gets inducted. It was ridiculous. I started thinking of ways to honor these incredible musicians who are so frequently overlooked and the Hall of Heavy Metal History was born.”

The first class for the Hall of Heavy Metal History was inducted on Jan. 18 with a ceremony and celebration in Anaheim, California.

Initial inductees included Scorpions (a band which recently celebrated their 50th anniversary), the late Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, Rudy Sarzo with the late Randy Rhoads (formerly of Ozzy Osbourne’s band), Don Airey of Deep Purple, Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath and Dio) and Andy Zildjian - president of Sabian Cymbals. Also honored was the late Ronnie James Dio (Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Dio), whose “Stand Up and Shout” cancer fund received all proceeds generated by the event.  

“I’m very excited that we’re working with Ronnie’s widow, Wendy,” Gesualdo told me. “There is so much cancer today and when it happens to a child, you want to do whatever you can to help.” 

Gesualdo, a pioneer of healing drum therapy, has been helping children and adults with disabilities for more than 12 years through D.A.D. 

“I had a severe childhood disability and completely overcame it through drumming,” said Gesualdo. “The therapy helps retrain the synapses of the brain with rhythms and patterns. It’s a cutting edge approach for treating autism and other disabilities.”

As word of Gesualdo’s revolutionary music-therapy began to spread, he was asked to train neuroscientists, occupational therapists, brain surgeons and physical therapists on how to implement D.A.D. in hospitals and mental health facilities in more than 15 countries. 

“It’s life-changing therapy,” he said. “It helps people with special needs develop physical and cognitive functioning.”

Gesualdo says that he has no interest in building an actual hall like The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s memorabilia-filled building in Cleveland.

“I realized that the best way to honor these pioneers who have worked so hard to keep metal raging all of these years is to bring it to the fans,” he told me. “We’ll link up with various metal tours and we’ll bring the memorabilia and the awards directly to the fans.”

As for the awards themselves, Gesualdo said he’s excited to present them to the pioneering hard rockers who have inspired him all of his life. 

“The award is a bass drum with a Gibson Flying V going through it. It’s really cool and I can’t wait for people to see it. This event is all about the fans, the musicians, the metal community and doing some good by helping children who need our help.” 

For more on the Hall of Heavy Metal History, visit www.HallOfHeavyMetalHistory.org.

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