As the curator for Black Lodge, Chico’s new weekly heavy-metal DJ night at Mr. Lucky (Tuesdays, 10 p.m.-close), Bob Nalbandian knows a thing or two on the topic. Nalbandian, who also DJs at Centerfolds Gentlemen’s Club, the strip joint north of town, and reviews and interviews metal acts for online magazine Shock Waves on www.hardradio.com, started the metal theme night in the late 1990s at Club Lingerie in Hollywood with former Armored Saint/Anthrax vocalist John Bush. As a 16-year-old metalhead working for a metal fanzine, Nalbandian interviewed, as one of his first articles, Ronnie James Dio. That’s a pretty big deal, because as the great Tenacious D once sang, “Dio has rocked for a long, long time.”
Who’s the coolest metal dude you’ve met?
I’m the ultimate Sabbath guy, so when I interviewed Geezer [Butler, Black Sabbath bassist], that was awesome. I interviewed Ozzy, too, but it was a phoner. I’ve met Ozzy a couple times, but he was always in outer space. But Geezer, as you know, is the brainchild of Sabbath; he wrote all the lyrics. Gene Simmons [bassist for KISS] was a great interview. I interviewed him and Paul [Stanley] in the same day. Paul was cool and did the interview, but Gene, I literally did a three-hour interview. The office was closing and the main editors were, “Dude, come on, we’ve gotta end this, it’s eight o’ clock at night.” I actually had to kick Gene out. I was like, “Dude, you gotta get the fuck out of here, people here want to leave.”
What’s your favorite era in metal?
Probably early ‘80s, the new-wave of British heavy metal. It was the most honest. It wasn’t a trend. It wasn’t like grunge rock or punk, where it became like a fashionable thing. It was truly underground. That’s what started ‘80s thrash metal.
What do you think of metal nowadays?
I think System of a Down is the greatest metal band around. They’re fucking brilliant. There are a lot of good new metal bands, but they’re the one band doing something completely different. I mean, it’s just genius what they do.
All-time favorite metal album?
I would say Rainbow Rising [Rainbow] or Black Sabbath’s Sabotage. And Physical Graffiti by Zeppelin would be really close up there.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say Frehey’s Comet?
(Laughs.) Rock soldiers come. That’s all I can say. And rock soldiers go.