Meet our presenters

    Edward Banchs

    Edward BanchsEdward Banchs is an independent researcher and freelance writer. He holds am MA in African Studies from the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, and a BA in Political Science from Florida Atlantic University. Directing his focus on the political situations of southern Africa, trips to the region exposed him to another aspect of African life, heavy metal. His passion for the music and the continent are the inspiration for writing a book on the history of the rock and metal genre in Africa and the role the music has in Africa's present and future, Heavy Metal Africa: Life, Passion, and Heavy Metal in the Forgotten Continent. His writings on heavy metal in Africa have appeared in The Guardian, This Is Africa and The Daily Nation.

    March Of The Gods is documentary that provides audiences with a glimpse into the Botswana heavy metal community and local metal band Wrust. Shot on location in various cities across Botswana, filmmaker Raffaele Mosca was inspired after seeing snapshots of rockers in Botswana from photographer Frank Marshall's Renegades photo set that originally appeared in Vice Magazine. The film highlights key aspects of what makes Botswana's metal scene so distinct as well as chronicles the story of the band Wrust, who had a chance of making local heavy metal history in the process.

    Josh Bernstein

    Josh BernsteinJosh Bernstein’s childhood love of comic books, pop-culture and rock & roll has spawned a career that successfully combines all these varied tastes.

    After interning for Marvel Comics at age 16, Bernstein started publishing his own comics and zines when he co-founded the #Number Foundation, a New York-based artist’s collective. Soon after, Bernstein branched off and started Royal Flush, an exquisite, illustration-heavy, pop-culture-skewering underground art magazine that has drawn raves from the L.A. Times, EW and USA Today.

    Bernstein has had a successful career in publishing and design working at such diverse companies as the Wall St. Journal, New York Magazine, Maxim, Parade, Time Out New York, Blender and FHM.

    For years Josh served as the Director of Marketing of NewBay Media where he oversaw the Revolver, Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado, Guitar Player, Bass Player, Keyboard and Electronic Musician brands. He also served as the creator and the executive producer of the annual Golden Gods Award Show, the only award show in America dedicated to hard rock and heavy metal. This led to his successful curation of the "History of Heavy Metal" exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum.

    Josh’s strong background in the music industry has allowed him to secure broadcast partnerships with media outlets, such as VH1, MTV2 and Xbox LIVE, sell sponsorships to companies like Harley-Davidson, Lionsgate Films and Budweiser, partner with such tours as Mayhem, Uproar, Orion and Rock on the Range and book talent such as Metallica, Marilyn Manson, Johnny Depp, Motley Crue and the Foo Fighters.

    Most recently, Bernstein launched the Rock & Roll Roast comedy series on AXS TV, which featured the likes of Sharon Osbourne, William Shatner, Alice Cooper, Donald Trump and Randy Jackson. He also produced the Bass Player Live salute to Geezer Butler, The Sunset Strip Festival’s salute to Joan Jett and the Samson Metal Masters series.

    Currently he serves as the Director of Sales Development for Scout Media and is in the midst of producing the first-ever Alternative Press Magazine Awards Show; which is set to take place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the summer of 2014.

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    Amber R. Clifford-Napoleone

    Amber Clifford-NapeleoneQueerness in Heavy MetalQueering the Inferno: Space, Identity, and Kansas City’s Jazz Scene

    Brian Hickam

    Masks, Brian Hickam

    Brian Hickam is an academic librarian, editor of the Metal Studies Bibliography, founder of the Heavy Metal & Hardcore Punk Archives, and a co-founder of the International Society for Metal Music Studies (and its forthcoming refereed journal, Metal Music Studies).