Cover photo for Robert Aram Nalbandian's Obituary
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Robert Aram Nalbandian

October 6, 1964 — December 30, 2022

Redding, California

Robert Aram Nalbandian

Robert Aram Nalbandian was born in Inglewood, California, on October 6, 1964.

Bob grew up in Hawthorne, California, until his family moved to Huntington Beach in 1971. He graduated from Marina High School in 1982 and attended California State University at Long Beach for 3 years.

Bob followed his passion for hard rock music, leaving college early to start his career in the music business. At age 18 he was the founder/publisher of The Headbanger Magazine which featured the very first profiles of then unsigned LA bands Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Armored Saint. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, he continued as a contributing editor to several magazines including Creem, Hit Parader and BAM to name a few as well as being publisher/editor of Shockwaves magazine. Prior to discontinuing The Headbanger in 1985, Bob managed the Orange County metal band EDEN, signing the band to a worldwide deal with a record label in 1984.

In the early 1990s, Bob 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. He also worked for Bizarre/Straight Records (Rhino/WEA) in the early 90’s and acquired license deals with major international companies: Century Media Enigma/Restless, Roadrunner, JVC/Victor, Music For Nations, Bandai/Apollon, Jigu, Polystar, High Vaultage, Dream Circle/Polydor, and Reality/Sony.

In the 2000’s, he founded Shockwaves Skull Sessions Podcast and Shockwaves/HardRadio. In 2015, his love and knowledge of Metal music culminated into directing and co-producing the Inside Metal documentary film series. Pioneers of L.A. Hard Rock and Metal was followed by The LA Metal Scene Explodes and The Rise of LA Thrash Metal. Bay Area Godfathers and Band vs Brand soon followed.

For many years, Bob battled multiple health issues. In 2007, he was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukemia, and with treatments, it went into remission. The next battle that ensued shortly after was the development of Lupus. He struggled for many years with this disease and then, just a few short months ago, the cancer came back as Mantle Cell Lymphoma, a very aggressive rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bob passed away in Roseville, California, the morning of December 30, 2022. He was 58 years old.

His father, Stanley, preceded him in death in 1999. Bob was the second child, the second son of Stanley and Dorothy Nalbandian. Bob is survived by his mother Dorothy Nalbandian, his older brother Steve (& Mari), his sister Diana (& Brian), his two nephews, Darren Nalbandian and Blake Spahr, his two nieces, Juliana Nalbandian and Brooke Spahr, many cousins and countless friends. Bob loved being an uncle. Even when he was not living in close proximity, he always made it a priority to send his love. When he was with them, he truly enjoyed every minute.

Bob was a friend to everyone he met and his friendships ran far and deep. He never let his health issues slow him down and always remained hopeful, a true fighter. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him and his legacy in the Heavy Metal music community. Bob will be laid to rest at Westminster Memorial Park in Westminster, California.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society or the Armenian Eye Care Project.

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