Veteran heavy metal journalist, historian and documentarian Bob Nalbandian passed away on Friday, December 30 in Redding, California. According to his sister, Bob was recently diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, an aggressive, rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that arises from cells originating in the "mantle zone."
MEGADETH leader Dave Mustaine was one of the musicians mourning Bob's death. He wrote on social media: "Sad news today, my friend Bob Nalbandian, the metal legend who helped me find Marty Friedman, has passed away. We will miss you terribly, Bob. My sincere condolences to his family and friends."
Former MEGADETH bassist David Ellefson also paid tribute to Nalbandian, writing: "With deep shock and sadness, we here offer our condolences for our friend Bob Nalbandian who passed today. Bob was one of the first metal historian journalists I met when I moved to LA in 1983. A true friend, fan, supporter and lover of all things heavy metal, he did so much for our community and will be deeply missed."
Nalbandian started in the music and entertainment business at age 17 as the publisher/editor in chief of the seminal heavy metal fanzine The Headbanger in April of 1982, a nationally distributed zine which featured the very first profiles of then-unsigned Los Angeles bands METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ARMORED SAINT. Throughout the '80s and '90s, Nalbandian was also a contributing editor to several well-known music mags, including Metal Rendezvous, Creem, Music Connection, Hit Parader, BAM, Foundations as well as associate editor for men's magazines Platinum and Men's Perspective.
Prior to discontinuing The Headbanger in 1985, Nalbandian took on management for the Orange County, California metal metal band EDEN, signing the band to a worldwide deal with Enigma/Restless Records in 1984. In the early 1990s, Nalbandian landed guitarist Marty Friedman in the multi-platinum group MEGADETH and soon after headed the West Coast office of Roadrunner Records, working closely with the label's cutting-edge artists at the time, including SEPULTURA, TYPE O NEGATIVE and LAST CRACK. After a year-long stint at Roadrunner, Nalbandian went on to work for Bizarre/Straight Records (Rhino/WEA) assisting label president Herb Cohen. Throughout the '90, Nalbandian also acquired license deals with major international companies such as Century Media (U.S. and Europe),Roadrunner Japan, Cherry Red/Hear No Evil/Universal Music (Europe),JVC/Victor (Japan),Music For Nations (U.K.),Bandai/Apollon (Japan),Polystar (Japan) and High Vaultage/Metal 4 Muthas (Germany).
Most recently, Nalbandian directed and co-produced the "Inside Metal" documentary film series (MetalRock Films) and the "Band Vs Brand" documentary film (Cleopatra Entertainment). These feature-length documentary films are available on DVD and all the major movie streaming outlets. The "Inside Metal" movies include "Pioneers Of LA Hard Rock And Metal", "LA Metal Scene Explodes", "The Rise Of LA Thrash Metal" and "Bay Area Godfathers" (each film is two parts). Nalbandian was also the founder and host of two major metal podcasts: "Shockwaves Skullsessions" and "Shockwaves/HardRadio".
Photo credit: Reality Check TV
With deep shock and sadness, we here offer our condolences for our friend Bob Nalbandian who passed today.
Bob was one...
Posted by David Ellefson on Friday, December 30, 2022
Sad news today, my friend Bob Nalbandian, the metal legend who helped me find Marty Friedman, has passed away. We will miss you terribly, Bob. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Posted by Dave Mustaine on Friday, December 30, 2022
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you all that Nick's good friend, metal historian journalists and film...
Posted by Nick Menza on Friday, December 30, 2022
Bob Nalbandian You were there at Armored Saint's first club gig at the Woodstock and continued to be an incredible and...
Posted by Phillip Sandoval on Friday, December 30, 2022
WTF. What sad news, this is. Bob Nalbandian is a fucking legend in the metal community. Period. I’ve got so many...
Posted by Eric Meyer on Friday, December 30, 2022