Influential heavy metal journalist Bob Muldowney died Monday, November 5 after a long battle with cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease). He was 44 years old.
Muldowney was best known for his fanzine/magazine Kick*Ass which helped expose, support and feature such bands as RAVEN, MOTÖRHEAD, VENOM, THE RODS, TANK, EXCITER and RIOT as well as burgeoning underground thrash scene, giving, in some instances, the first coverage to SLAYER, MEGADETH, MEDIEVAL, OVERKILL, and ANTHRAX. Muldowney was also one of the first journalists to expose the death metal scene in its infancy, offering early press to SODOM, HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST, DESTRUCTION and BATHORY. It was Bob's love of true, honest metal, which drove him to deliver a demo tape of a then-unknown California band called METALLICA into the hands of then-Rock 'n' Roll Heaven store owner (and future Megaforce Records head honcho) Jonny Z — who was advertising with Kick*Ass at the time.
Bob's brutally honest approach in his coverage helped Kick*Ass develop a deep, loyal following who viewed his writings as "the metal bible." However, financial and distribution difficulties overtook the magazine and the final issue of Kick*Ass appeared in the fall of 1986.
Prior to his passing, Muldowney and fellow Kick*Ass writer Mike Hannon had begun work on a DVD history of Kick*Ass magazine in collaboration with former OVERKILL drummer-turned-director Rat Skates. Muldowney and Hannon have also re-exposed Kick Ass' history on this official MySpace site.
A funeral mass will be held on Wednesday, November 7 at 9:30 a.m. at The Queen of the Most Holy Rosary RC Church, Roosevelt, NY. Interment is at Holy Rood Cemetery, Westbury, NY. Flowers should be sent this Tuesday, November 6 to Cecere-Pensa Funeral Home, 2283 Grand Ave., Baldwin, NY 11510. Phone: 516-223-4200, Fax: 516-223-9829, www.cecerefamilyfunerals.com
Mike Gitter, Director of A&R at Roadrunner Records and former editor of xXx fanzine/magazine, issued the following statement regarding Muldowney's passing: "Kick*Ass was enormously influential. Here was one of the first bona-fide metal mags that not only brought the underground to the foreground but also helped define the face of modern metal. Seeing Bob cover bands like CORROSION OF CONFORMITY or the CRUMBSUCKERS alongside METALLICA and RAVEN really set the template for what was to continue for decades afterwards. That kind of coverage really helped bring metal from being a one-note, one-mentality affair and gave it a diversity and a sense of street that could only come from someone whose sole mission was to expose kids to new sounds and new bands. Today's MySpace generation takes this sort of thing for granted. It's all at our fingertips. The sense of discovery is somewhat lost. As a fellow former zine publisher (xXx fanzine),let's pour out a 40oz-er for our fallen homie and thank Bob and Kick*Ass for their hand in shaping metal as we know it."
Monte Conner, Senior VP A&R of Roadrunner Records, commented: "Though I only met Bob once and corresponded with him a few times, he is definitely someone whom I looked up to as a mentor back in the mid-Eighties. Through his magazine Kick*Ass, I was able to learn about and discover the cream of the crop of the emerging speed/thrash/power/death metal scene. Kick*Ass, along with Metal Forces, was my Bible back then — the way I discovered new bands and fed my insatiable appetite for all things emerging in the underground. It was through reading Kick*Ass and the connections I made by writing to the bands Bob covered that I was able to develop my expertise in this type of music — the expertise that helped me get my foot in the door at Roadrunner and guided my success here in the early days."
Longtime rock journalist Don Kaye had this to say: "Like others, I didn't know Bob Muldowney all that well — in some ways he was a man of mystery. I spoke with him a handful of times and briefly did some work for Kick*Ass early on. But the scope of what he did with this little publication out of Long Island was powerful. His 'zine was one of a handful around the globe that exposed the underground metal scene, giving it a base from which it became a worldwide phenomenon and launched the careers of too many bands and musicians to mention. He was also boldly opinionated and passionate — when he hated something, he did not hold back, but when he loved a band, he championed it with an incredible enthusiasm and energy that is becoming harder and harder to find in these jaded times. Here's hoping the metal is loud wherever he is."
A photo of Bob Muldowney with late METALLICA bassist Cliff Burton taken in April 1983 in New Jersey can be viewed at this location.