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Metal Hall of Fame Gala 2024

Loud, audacious, historic, and a hell of a good time.

The 7th annual Metal Hall of Fame gala was an unforgettable evening of tributes, stories, speeches, and live music, featuring a bevy of Heavy Metal elders and rising stars, assembled in Anaheim, CA to induct the Hall of Fame class of 2024. It’s Metal’s biggest night of the year.

Allow me to explain. No, there’s too much. Allow me to sum up.

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Hosts Cathy Rankin and Eddie Trunk returned to conduct the ceremonies with class, gravitas, and expertise, guiding the cavalcade of presenters and performers to the stage and keeping things lively. You couldn’t ask for a better duo. Eddie Trunk holds his own place among Metal’s elder statesmen, not as a musician, but as the scene’s greatest champion, from his early days at Megaforce Records, to his thousands of hours as radio host, TV host, and emcee for numerous Metal events. He knows everyone and everything about Heavy Metal and Hard Rock. The MHoF is fortunate to have had him on the mic for every one of its gala events; may he continue to lead us into battle for decades to come (SPOILER ALERT: he got his own trophy this year).

Cathy Rankin may not have Eddie’s long history, but she brings incredible class and fire to the proceedings as his cohost. She’s one of the most in-demand entertainers in the Phoenix area, fronting numerous bands, performing at hot venues and high-profile events all over the Valley, as well as conducting bigtime media interviews with major Metal players. We’re also fortunate to have her as an annual fixture at these events.

THE CLASS OF  ‘24: 

Sebastian Bach

Tom Morello

Eddie Trunk

Carlos Cavazo

Mick Mars

Tim “Ripper” Owens

Biohazard

Cleopatra Records

Mikeal Maglieri

Penelope Spheeris (not present)

THE PERFORMERS:

Held Hostage

Deconstruct

London

Sergio Michel (guitar), Mike Tirelli (Vocals), Becky Baldwin (bass), and Nick Mason (drums)

Twanna Turner and Amari Turner

Tom Morello

All-Star Jam, featuring Keith St. John (vocals), Eric Ragno (keys), Joel Hoekstra (guitar), Ari Kamin (spot on Axl Rose vocals), Ken Mary (drums), Sean McNabb (bass) and others

Kings of Thrash


The Highlights:

Sebastian Bach’s speech was funny, sincere, off-the-cuff, joyous, full of love, and a tad indulgent, i.e.: totally Sebastian Bach. He was gracious, genuine, and truly appreciative of the award, both onstage and offstage with media and fans.

Tom Morello’s speech was a work of art unto itself. After a damn fine induction by John 5, Tom Morello recited a pre-written acceptance speech that was poetic, erudite, witty, and tremendously reverent of the Heavy Metal he’d cherished as a young, budding musician. His impression of Rudolf Schenker brought the house down.

Followed by Tom Morello’s performance of Judas Priest‘s “Breaking the Law,” which featured his unique lead guitar stylings on the outro leads. It was a nice touch to have Ripper on vox and Joel Hoekstra on co-lead guitar for that one.

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Mick Mars. Tremendous class from a legend. He wasn’t able to attend in person, but the onsite response to his video acceptance speech was as loud as anything.

Children of the Sea and Neon Knights. This is how you deliver cover tunes. Sergio Michel, Mike Tirelli, Becky Baldwin, and Nick Mason performed the hell out of these two Dio-era Black Sabbath classics. Wherever Ronnie James Dio is, he was listening with a smile to Tirelli’s fantastic, spot on vocal performance.

Kings of Thrash. The crowd thinned quite a bit after Sebastian’s speech, but the early departures missed out on the head-banging majesty of David Ellefson, Jeff Young, Chris Poland, Chaz Leon, and drummer Fred Aching performing Megadeth masterpieces – – plus one Sex Pistols tune.

Blackened Whiskey. It was fantastic to have reps from Blackened Whiskey on-hand to offer samples and tell the story of Metallica’s very own whiskey.

Also can’t omit: Carlos Cavazo’s genuine appreciation and humility for his award, Munsey Ricci’s induction of Biohazard, Wendy Dio’s induction of Eddie Trunk, Eddie’s acceptance speech, Tim “Ripper” Owens’ acceptance speech, Twana Turner and Amari Turner’s Metalized version of “Proud Mary,” Keith St. John’s commanding frontman performance – – especially that scream on the Whitesnake song, Eric Ragno playing keyboards for everyone who needed it. . .  The night was packed with heartfelt moments, performances, and honors.

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The stage didn’t just hold icons from the past century, but also superstars of the first 3 decades of the 2000s. Even with its natural focus on the historical, the Metal Hall of Fame organization is driving forward into the 2020s, not just staring into the rearview. Metal’s future is in good hands.

This music and all that it represents is a vital component of human civilization. At different times Metal can be rebellious, defiant, controversial, provocative, aggressive, primitive, savage, sophisticated, sexy, sleazy, nerdy, misunderstood, edgy, or poignant – – but it’s always necessary, always relevant. Thank God (or Lemmy or Iommi or Dio) we have the Metal Hall of Fame to give Heavy Metal its due.

So, the 7th annual Metal Hall of Fame gala was a success. Pat Gesualdo and his ragtag band of helpers have done it yet again. Let’s close out by paying tribute to the dedicated workers and volunteers who make this event happen. I’ve had a glimpse behind the scenes, I witnessed firsthand the amount of effort that goes into the setup and running of this event, before, during, and after. You have no idea. This crew deserves a standing ovation. (I moved a table, played liaison for some VIPs, and put a few lanyards and passes together. I had it easy). A final batch of kudos are also due to Jimmy Kay of The Metal Voice. Few realize just how much he does throughout the year for the Metal Hall of Fame cause. This institution wouldn’t be the same without him.

As for 2025. . . It’s already shaping up to be an amazing event. That’s all I’m gonna say. Be there next year.

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Jack Mangan is best known in the Metal world as lead author/project runner for the “Am I Evil?” graphic novel, as a journalist with MetalAsylum.net and the official Metal Hall of Fame. and also as co-host of the popular (sporadic these days) Metal Hall of Fame and MetalAsylum.net livestreams with Rich Catino. He’s made a few guest appearances as a panelist on The Metal Voice. In an adjacent life, he was a podcast pioneer, with numerous appearances on Technorama, Dragon Page, Escape Pod/Pseudopod, and many others, including his own productions: Jack Mangan’s Deadpan, and the Podcast novel, “Spherical Tomi.” Friend him on Facebook if you can find him, but be warned: he’s not great about checking Facebook Messenger.

*Thank you to Cathy Rankin for providing these two photos. All other photos provided by the author.

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