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That Metal Guy: An Exclusive Interview With EDDIE TRUNK

By Cary Gordon, Metal Geek
Wednesday, April 23, 2014 @ 5:47 PM

"I donít ever really think about it beyond myself being another guy out there in the audience being just a fan of the band"

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Eddie Trunk is a name that is synonymous with the term thrown about that is "Hard Rock". He has been in the business for over 30 years, and still going strong with his radio and satellite shows, and That Metal Show on VH1 Classic. KNAC.COM had the opportunity to speak with Eddie about all things heavy, and we learned some great insights into the person known as Eddie Trunk, and how he has kept the flame for his love of all things heavy going for so long.

KNAC.COM: Congratulations on your recent 30th anniversary in radio! Did you ever dream when you got started in this that youíd still be doing it 30 years later?

TRUNK: (Laughs). Uhh, No. I mean, I started in radio when I was still in High School and it was simply for one reason. It was to try to find an outlet to help spread the bands that I loved. I wasnít hearing those bands on the radio back in Ď82, Ď83 and I was really into Hard Rock music, and I really felt it was being underserved. As a kid, I was like, ďHow can I find ways to let other people know about this musicĒ? So, I did a lot of different things. I did a little bit of writing, I worked in a record store. I did a mish mash of stuff, and one of the things that I ended up doing was working at a college radio station while I was still in High School, and that kind of peaked my interest about it. From there, I sort of just stuck around. But the whole reason I stuck around in radio was because I was doing radio where I could play what I want, say what I want, and help expose the bands that I loved. That was really important because a lot of people in radio unfortunately canít do that and still canít do that. So, that was really what it was about for me, and what it is about now. So, the fact that I have been able to hang in there, for now, my 31st year of doing my own show and focused on these bands is pretty cool. It doesnít feel like itís been that long but it certainly has been, and I am grateful.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned that not a lot of people get the opportunity to promote their favorite bands on the radio, how did you become so different?

TRUNK: Well, the whole reason I got into radio was to do that. I didnít get into radio because I wanted to be a broadcaster, per se, because I felt like I had some sort of great radio voice, or had some sort of radio persona that I wanted to put on. I mean, everything about me getting into radio was for that reason. There are a lot of people that get into radio for different reasons than that. They donít get into radio, for the passion of the music. There is a tremendous amount of people on radio that really have no regard or passion for the music they play. They could go one day and be on a country station, be on a rock station the next day, and one day, do top 40. For me, the only reason I got into it was to play this kind of music and share the information and the music of the bands that I loved. That was the whole catalyst for it, and because of that, I was kind of insistent that whatever I did in radio; I would have that kind of flexibility and that ability to do that, because that was the whole reason I was doing it.

That being said, there are plenty of people that make a great living doing regular format radio and who knows if I would ever do that again. Iíve done it in the past, and I may do it again one day. But for me, the whole point of it was the ability to do that, so I didn't get into it with some sort of phenomenal demo tape or anything like that, with some sort of crazy big voice. I got into it because I pitched an idea to do a show that focused on Heavy Metal when no one else was really doing that. As a result, I was just able to stay in it for that long, and I just kind of became known as a guy who specialized in that, and by the way, there are pros and cons to being known as the guy who specializes in a certain kind of radio, because the upside is you get a little creative freedom and you get a very loyal audience. The downside is it is very limiting because there are a lot of radio programmers that will look at you as well, ďIf they hear that guyís name or voice, they are going to immediately think of one kind of music, and he canít do anything elseĒ. So, it can limit you from getting more work, and certainly stagnate you in terms of making a lot of money. But, for me, the creative side of it was always more important.

KNAC.COM: Like an actor being typecast a little bit.

TRUNK: Very much so. Iíve worked at radio stations throughout my career that were, you know, I do my metal show on the weekend and then I would want to get some work during the week; fill in work, part time work, whatever and a lot of time I did. But there were some program directors that would not let me on any other time besides when I was doing my own show, because they liked to keep the illusion that all their DJís were picking the music they wanted, when in fact, that is not the case. So they thought it would be a really bad thing for their kind of smoke and mirrors approach if they knew I was the METALLICA guy, and then, all of a sudden, I was on the radio the next day playing; Oh, I donít know, the ROLLING STONES or ELTON JOHN or something like that. ďWell, how does that work? He canít possibly be into that as well, can he?Ē Some program directors had a problem with that. It was like a disconnect to them. ďHow can we do that? Itís going to expose that we are making him play music. We want everyone to think all of our jocks are picking their own music.Ē There are a lot of guys who get it. and they didnít really care. ďYeah, we just need you to fill in a shift.Ē And, then there were some that actually never let me on another day parts because they were worried about that exposure.

KNAC.COM: Now, letís talk about your radio show as it is now.

TRUNK: Well, I do two shows a week. The show that we are talking about that is in itís 31st year is nationally known as Eddie Trunk Rocks. Thatís a syndicated show that originates from Q101 in New York City which is done live most weeks from 11 pm to 2 am Eastern time. People can hear that through the free stream or with the Iheartradio app or just log in to the stationís website, or hit up the station live on the app, and you can hear the show live every Friday from anywhere in America. But it originates live from New York, and having it be live, or originate live is very important to me. There is so little live radio left anymore, which is another kind of thing going on in the industry. For me, having the spontaneity and the creativity of doing something live is so important and it is so rare. Iíve had major things happen on my radio show that would have never have happened if the show was not live. Like Axl Rose walking into the studio. Or as recently as a few weeks ago, when Ace Frehley called in at the last minute and said KISS isnít playing at the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. That made news all over the world. That kind of stuff doesnít happen if you are doing a canned show. So, I really pride myself on it being live as much as possible. And, that is the FM radio show that I am talking about that has been on, as I said, back to Ď83 is where that all started. And, the other show that I do, Iíve been doing a show on satellite radio since 2002 and that is Eddie Trunk Live on Sirius/XM channel 39, which is normally known as Hair Nation, but I donít use that branding, so they call the channel Trunk Nation when I am on because I have a broader scope of what I do musically. That show is also live. Again rare for satellite radio. And, very interactive. I call it music and talk that rocks, because it is as much a talk show as it is a music show. A lot of calls, in depth interviews, and things like that. So, I really enjoy doing that show. It is really cool to broadcast live, nationally, and get a pulse on what everyone is thinking and saying each week. It has turned into quite a community. For a one time a week show, it has an incredible loyal audience.

KNAC.COM: The great thing about doing it live is having listeners call in, and react to topics that are current.

TRUNK: Yeah, I mean, the show is live 6 to 10 Eastern/3 to 7 Pacific on Mondays only. And, when I started doing that show; when I started in satellite radio in 2002 on XM before the companies merged, I said to them I wanted to do my show live, and they kind of looked at me like I was crazy. Because, they were like, ďWhy would you dedicate four hours to being on live in real time, where, if you did four hours in a voice studio, you could record a whole weekís worth of shows and be on every day.Ē And, I said, ďWell, that might be the case, but can I take calls?Ē They said, ďNo.Ē ďWell, Can I give stuff away?Ē ďNo.Ē ďCan I take calls for the artist?Ē ďNo.Ē There was no interactivity. There was no ability to connect, and for me, that is the thing I love about radio. Itís immediate. You can get the pulse of what the people are thinking. I really, really like that aspect of it, and I love to talk to people, and to connect with people. That is why I have done that show. Itís live most weeks when my schedule permits. Itís kind of unique, especially on satellite, to have that kind of interactivity. A couple of weeks ago, I had Mick Mars in two hours. We were just talking to him straight. I mean, I love getting in depth. I love hearing from the audience. When the KISS stuff went down, I did two hours of just people calling; the lines were jammed with people wanting to sound off on all that. Thatís the type of radio I am most interested in these days and I really, really enjoyed it. Although, driving in; I live in New Jersey. Itís an hour drive. Itís expensive to drive into the city. Itís expensive to park. There is not a lot of money, by any stretch, in satellite radio. I do it because I truly love that sort of radio, and I am really blown away by how much the audience; people tell me they route their schedules around those four hours so they can hear what I am going to say, or what the audience is going to say, or what I am going to play, or who is going to come in. And to me, that is the real magic of radio.

KNAC.COM: After doing this so long, is it surprising that your name is sort of a brand name?

TRUNK: You know, I hear that a lot. Itís pretty amazing and itís extremely flattering. I donít really know what to say about it. I say this, so many times in interviews; I really mean it. Iím not just saying this to sound like Mr. Overly Humble or whatever, but having done this for as long as I have has been great, and I donít feel like I am going to stop anytime soon, as long as I can keep my jobs. Those things arenít up to me, ultimately. It is up to the companies that I work for. I never stop and think about that sort of stuff. I very much just keep my eye on what I am going to do next. How I can grow what I am already doing. How do I make what I am doing bigger and better? I really just consider myself a fan still. A fan that has been able to make a career out of my passion. Iím very lucky to do that. I worked very hard to do that. I certainly acknowledge that, especially because of my TV show, that my name is pretty synonymous with this sort of music; classic leaning hard rock and Metal. I certainly also know if I go into a music environment where there is a concert or band or something that a good amount of people are going to know me and come up and say hello, you know, want to shake my hand or take a picture or whatever, and I appreciate all of that. Itís incredible to me. I donít take it for granted. I donít ever really think about it beyond myself being another guy out there in the audience being just a fan of the band.

I think that a lot of that sort of respect that Iíve gotten, and you mentioned my 30th party. I had an incredible jam there with so many incredible artists that came out and played. For my 25th party, JUDAS PRIEST played a private show for me. When things like that happen, thatís when I take a beat, and be like, ďWowĒ, you know. I guess I made some kind of mark and impression on people. But I donít really dwell about that, and think about it all the time. Iím grateful, but I am very much consumed with how I take the things Iím doing now, and make them bigger and better, or look for another opportunity to add to it. Itís still about that. Itís still about growing it; to help grow the music, to help grow my career. People would be very surprised. Itís still a struggle. Every single day, it is still a struggle to get this music treated respectfully, and for people to understand in the mainstream that there is enough of an audience for it. There is tons of people that think, ďThat guy has got it madeĒ, ďHe is on T.V. and he has a couple of radio shows. The world is his oysterĒ. Iím not complaining, but it is not like that at all. Itís still everyday trying to convince people this stuff is viable and there should be more opportunity for it, and more hours and better hours and all that. The fight continues to keep this music respectful and to help grow it.

KNAC.COM: Now a lot of people view you as knower of all things Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. How do you view yourself?

TRUNK: I do not for a minute think I know it all. I think that I know more than maybe the average fan about rock and Metal music because Iíve lived my whole life in it. When I say my whole life, I literally mean everything I have ever done in my life is music related. From working in a record store, to working for a record company, working for a management company, to doing radio, to doing writing, to doing television; itís all been music related. As a kid, I was like a sponge. I just wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn about the business. I wanted to learn about the bands. I read all the magazines. I read all the liner notes. It was my passion, and my hobby, and it still is. But, I do not for a minute, think that I know it all. There are tons of genres of music that I donít know much about. There are, honestly, subgenres of metal that I donít know anything about, that Iím not personally a huge fan of, and donít really know inside out. We have some fun with this bit, Stump The Trunk on That Metal Show, and itís a very legitimate bit in the sense I do not know what is coming as far as the questions. Sometimes the questions are completely out of left field and bizarre. But the point of the matter is that itís a bit. Itís a fun thing. People seem to find it interesting and fun. Itís one of the most popular segments of the show for a lot of reasons, and not just because of what I get right or wrong, but just because of everything that goes on around it. As a result of that, people have thought that I think of myself in those terms; I donít. Listen, I know I know more than probably the average guy off the street because I have spent my whole life in this, but I do not for a minute go around thinking that I know it all by any stretch.

KNAC.COM: Which Stump The Trunk surprised you the most that you didn't know the answer to?

TRUNK: As I often say on the show, there is a huge difference between not knowing something and not remembering something. There is a huge distinction there. When somebody asks me a question about something, and I just flat out donít know it, Iíll very quickly just surrender and say, ďI donít know. What is it?Ē Because, I just know immediately I have no idea what it is. And, that happens from time to time. I canít think of anything off hand because we have done so many of them. But, there is a huge difference as well when you canít remember it. And itís right there on the tip of your tongue, and you just canít remember it. You got to remember, I am out there with 150 people out there staring at me, and most of the time, an artist or two looking at me right next to me. Itís like, you try to get your mind focused. Itís hard. And again, that is the whole point of the bit. People have fun with it and think itís funny. That just happened to me on the show we just taped. The guitar player from NIGHT RANGER was in the audience, and he got up and asked me a NIGHT RANGER question, and I totally knew the answer. But, with everything going on, I couldnít get it out. That was one that I knew, but couldnít remember it at the time. There is plenty where they will say something to me. A couple of weeks ago, I had a question about UFO, who is one of my favorite bands, and it was something like, ďWhat UFO song title did the BEATLES also have?Ē, and I just had no idea. It turned out, ever since, I have heard from a million people that it was a song called "Iím A Loser". But I had no idea at the time. That was just an instance where I was just going to take a guess, but I really had no idea.

KNAC.COM: So while we are on that subject. Letís talk about That Metal Show. You are on your 13th season now. Has it lived up to your expectations?

TRUNK: Yeah, absolutely. The show, for people who have watched it from the beginning, there is clearly a huge growth in the show. So many things have changed. We have done so many different things over the course of 100 plus episodes. We have tried new things. Weíve done stuff we donít do anymore. We added stuff. We have taken stuff away. We have gone from a half an hour to an hour. Weíve gone from no performers to having guest players. Weíve done it in L.A.; weíve done it in New York. So we have definitely had a lot of growth and changes, and the impact of the show is just incredible. What itís done for us doing it, and the amount of response from the audience from not only in America, but from around the world is phenomenal. When I first put it together, back around 2008, Iíd be lying if I told you that I would still be here in 2014; over 100 episodes and still doing it. Iím thrilled that we are, and Iím excited about where it goes. Honestly, I wish there were things that we were doing, and things that we were able to do that we just canít. I wish we could have bands play in the show; play a song, but we canít clear publishing. People just donít understand that and itís very hard for people to understand that in television, that the minute that you play a song, you get a bill for that song from the publisher.

Big shows like Letterman, or Leno, or what have you, they can afford that. They have the budget for that. We donít. So, by design, we canít have music because we work on a very small budget. I wish there were budgets to be able to do that, and actually have music and videos, or performances in the show. There just isnít right now. I wish we did more new shows in a year. We really only do 20 - 25 shows maybe in a year. I wish we did 40 shows a year, or 50 shows a year, but it is not up to me. Those are all constraints of the budget, and when and if VH1 Classic says, ďYeah, We wanna do more or we want to do this, or we can add this inĒ, then we go and do it. They own it. Itís their network, and we work for them. Iím lucky and grateful that this little thing has become what it has, and itís become the anchor for the channel. Itís pretty much the biggest reason why people watch VH1 Classic. We are kind of like the big fish in a small pond. Hopefully, the pond gets bigger and the fish gets bigger, and we get to do more things going forward. I certainly push for things. I pushed to get this show on the air in the beginning. I am always kind of pushing and working for more. At the end of the day, it is really going to kind of come down to the network, and what they can or canít do with the constraints that they have with their budgets.

KNAC.COM: How many times did you pitch the idea before it got a green light?

TRUNK: Well, what a lot of people donít know, because the channel wasnít as popular at the time, is that Iíve actually been on VH1 Classic as a host, and a VJ since 2002. I worked for the channel for 6 years before That Metal Show was even born. I was doing all sorts of interviews, every genre of music, VJ stuff; everything for them, going back now 12 years. While I was doing all that stuff, I was always asking them for the opportunity to do my own show and do things the way I wanted to do them, and lean more towards hard rock. The previous regime at the channel never really saw the opportunity to do it. So, it kind of never happened. Then there were some changes at the channel and around 2007, they called me in and said, ďLetís talk about this show idea you want to doĒ. We went through a lot of meetings; a lot of discussions. Different people attached, and different people fell off. I introduced the channel to Don (Jamieson) and Jim (Florentine), who were friends of mine and stand up comics and the three of us shot a pilot and away we went. It was definitely a process. It was not easy, to be honest, it really wasnít. There were a couple of times where the show was pretty much dead and buried, as far as a concept. They had just kinda folded their tent on it. I fought so hard that I almost burned my bridges there. They didnít want to hear about it from me anymore. They had moved on from it. Like, ďWe are not doing this. Give it up. If you donít, we are going to be pissed at youĒ, basically. I wouldnít take no for an answer. I kept pushing and pushing and then they finally just got tired of me pushing so much and agreed to another meeting. That was at least the meeting where we were able to at least get a pilot out of them. Once we got the pilot; we just went from there. It was quite a struggle in the beginning to keep them interested in this because they had one idea for the show, and I had another, and at the end of the day, we kind of just met in the middle.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned your co-hosts, do you ever the feel the pressure to keep up with them? They are, as you said, both stand up comedians.

TRUNK: No, no. We know each other so well. I mean, itís funny, people didnít always get our sense of humor and they thought, well, the ball busting was a little bit more mature in the early shows towards me and it was tough because people didnít know them at all back then. People knew me, because as I said, I had already been on the channel for 5 years. So people who already watched VH1 Classic, I was already known to them. Maybe people knew me from my radio shows. I was a music guy my whole life. Don (Jamieson) and Jim (Florentine), unless you knew their stand up, most people didnít know who they were when the show started. There was a little bit in the beginning of this attitude, ďWho are these two guys busting Eddieís balls? Heís gotta be so pissed at themĒ. I heard from many people, ďMan, you must be miserable. The network saddled you with these two guys.Ē I used to be like, ďNo, I actually got them the gig. I brought them into the network.Ē People were like, ďWhat? Youíre kidding me.Ē ďNo, they are friends of mine. This is what we do.Ē So, it took a while for people to catch on to that. Now, as time has gone on, we have found a much better balance. Of course, everybody is going to take some shots at everyone and bust some balls, but I think we found a much better sort of tone to the show, where in the beginning, I think there was a lot of pressure put on them, quite honestly, to be those sort of guys who were going to push my buttons, and to mix it up. In the earlier days of the show, there was this big kind of push from the network to create this dynamic where they were always antagonizing me. I think that in the beginning, some people just took it as mean spirited, and kinda like, ďHey, who are these guys and why are why are they doing this to Eddie?Ē Nobody really got that. I was fine with it, and we were just having fun. Weíre three guys from Jersey. That is how we joke around. But I think some of the audience didnít really get it in the beginning. Now over time, people have just understood, and got a much better sense of the type of people we all are and why this works so well, because we are friends, and there is a natural chemistry. WeĎre all big fans of the music, and we also donít take it too seriously. We all have thick skins, and we all have a good time. Yeah, listen, those guys, they are comics for a living. I know what they are capable of doing when they want to get into it with people. I think we found a good balance.

KNAC.COM: Now has the network already committed to future seasons, or is it still a year by year thing?

TRUNK: The show since its beginning, since its very first ever episode, is a season to season proposition. There is never a commitment past the season that we are currently doing. The options are all the network's, meaning that we have to wait and hear from them, and they tell us yea or nay. They have said yes 13 times so far. We don't know and we won't know till a month or two after the latest season wraps. This is our 13th run of shows, we have 3 more to shoot. This is a 12 episode season so people will see a new one right through the first weekend of April, then they will go into repeats for a month or two, and then we wait. VH1 has a certain period of time of a couple of months, to say okay here's the plan, we are going to do more again, starting whatever date. Or of course they can say that they are not going to do anymore and release us from our contracts. Thankfully they have never said that. They have said, ďWe are going to do more, and hereís the date.Ē We just wait for that decision. By all accounts, things are fine, the ratings are strong and people love the show. Itís definitely an anchor for the network, and that being said I know nothing lasts forever, but I hope this one has a lot of life left in it. By all indications it does. One of the cool things about the show that keeps it going too is not only does the audience respond, but you know, weíve evolved. In the beginning, like I was telling you about the tone between Don and Jim, also in the beginning, the show was very much regimented into classic MTV era Hard Rock. That was the sort of guests we had to have. Now, we have evolved greatly as far as that is concerned. We have rock guys on. We have Metal guys on. We have hard rock guys on. I mean, in the last three shows alone; one was Leslie West and Mick Jones of FOREIGNER; one was LAMB OF GOD and one was Mick Mars. I mean, it is really a very wide net of what we are able to do. I always wanted to do that. That is another part of the evolution. That opens up a bunch of new artists to us to be able to have on and keep it fresh and keep it interesting. As long as I think we can keep the show fresh, have new features in, and try different things, have a wide variety of guests and make sure the audience knows that we are a Rock and Metal show, despite the name of the show, we are hopefully in pretty good shape. But again, I will do it forever. People always come up to me and say, ďHey man, donít ever stop that showĒ. I tell them all the same thing; that I worked too hard, and if it ever stops, itís not going to be because of me. It will be because of something else, or the network decides to stop doing it, or the money runs out. Thankfully, we are in a great place. We are in a place where people come to see a show like this, and it really works for them, and works for us. Itís been a great team. Weíve had the same producers since the first show, and we work with some of the same executives, and of course, the three of us have been together, well, since before the show even started. Itís a pretty unique chemistry that not a lot of TV shows have, and that helps a lot too.

KNAC.COM: How is it decided which artists are going to be featured on the show now?

TRUNK: The booking process is done by myself, because I am a producer on the show, and the network. How it works is before we start a season of shows, I get on conference calls with the music and talent department at VH1, and we go through a list of artists that we would like to reach out to to have on, a list of artists that have reached out to VH1 and said they would like to be on the show, or their publicity people said that they would like to have this artist on. We kind of come up with a hit list. We look at the requests that have come in; we look at the list of people we would like to have, and then maybe some things that we are not thinking of that might fall into our lap. Then we start looking at scheduling. We only shoot in windows of time, so if we are shooting February 20th, and whatever band wants on, or we reach out to whatever band to come on; the first thing that any of us do is go to the internet and check their tour schedule. That is the number one obstacle we have in booking. Bands tour. Bands tour more than ever. So immediately, if we see this band is in Sweden or something, ďOK, nice idea, but we are not going to get them this time. So, its a process, and itís a group effort, but it comes down to myself and the folks in that department at VH1. We book the show together and go through a list of people. Sometimes we have last minute cancellations and we have to scramble and plug somebody in too. Any TV show has that. Itís a group effort but it is really lead by me and the music and talent department at the network. I will say this, they have to approve every single booking, so contrary to what some people think, I cannot personally put any guest I want on the show, without them saying ďyes let's do that.Ē Every person that has ever been on is run through the channels at the network, to get the rubber stamp to say ďyeah okay do it.Ē That being said, they give me a tremendous amount of rope, they defer to me a lot, they know I know that music, in some cases better than they do. But, they have to basically approve everything. I have to sometimes make a case and say, ďhey, I think you guys are wrong and we should give this artist a shot, we should have this person on. It happens all the time, with a bunch of artists. They don't understand why they are important to have on, and I will have to make a case for them, and fight for them. They are really good about giving me a lot of rope and letting me do my thing. There are tons of artists that I personally love that have never been on That Metal Show, and there are artists that I am not a huge fan of that we had on.

There is a huge misconception out there by some people that the only way to get on That Metal Show, is that I have to be a fan of the band or I have to know the band. That couldnít be further from the truth and there is proof of that with many of the guests we have and have not had in the history of the show. Itís very much a group thing. Whatever the network feels is the best available for that time. Their number one criteria is always going to be the biggest names. I get requests all the time on email, ďHey, thereís this great underground artist, thereís this great under the radar guy, thereís this great unknown guyĒ, and I just kinda laugh because I'm like, ďunder the radar, unknown, underground", not exactly words that would get a network TV executive excited. They want stars, they want face recognition. They want you to turn the channel on, ďHey I know who that guy isĒ Boom! That is what they are looking for. They are not looking for the trendy underground guy. There are a lot of times we can work those guys into the show in some way. The core of the guests and what is always going to excite them the most, is the biggest name possible that the most people who know who they are.

KNAC.COM: Now has it surprised you, over your career that some of these artists you grew up as huge fans of, that you have become personal friends with, and you hang out with these guys?

TRUNK: Yeah, I mean it is true. Rob Halford just did an incredible favor for me just a couple of days ago. I reached out to him. There was a fan of his that was very, very ill. I rarely do stuff like this, but I felt really bad for this person and I wanted to see if Rob would be willing to help out and make a phone call for this person and he did. Rob is just a class guy and that is the type of person he is. To have that sort of relationships with an iconic artist I grew up with, that I could call Rob up and say, ďhey man hereís whatís going on.Ē To have that sort of trust and friendship is incredible. It is incredible for me to go to shows and have these guys that I grew up with, their posters on my wall, as friends, and have them know me. ďHey man, come on over, let's hang out, let's talk.Ē That is really amazing! Whatís really amazing for me is the guys from the 70ís. Being 49, those are the guys I grew up with. Those are the guys that I have the records as a little kid, and that is really special stuff for me. I donít mean that at all to marginalize the guys from the 80ís, but the difference is that I started working for a record company in Ď86, I started in radio in Ď83, so those artists I kinda grew up with in the industry. Even though I am still certainly a huge fan, I have been around them and worked with them for decades, I know them all so well, and I value those relationships as well. The Ď70ís guys, AEROSMITH, (JUDAS) PRIEST, or DIO. All of these incredible experiences and friendships I have had with them is really surreal at times, But I never take it for granted and I respect it. You donít want to be somebody that is a pain in the ass for those guys either so you have to pick your spots and also just stay in touch and say hello from time to time, but you also do not want to be a pest to people either.

KNAC.COM: Besides being a radio personality and the TV show, you have written some books about the genres. How much research do you have to do when you sit down to write something?

TRUNK: The types of books I do; virtually none. Only because they are my stories, I have lived it, it is all just coming from me. Itís not something where if I was writing about something that I didnít know and live and was such a part of my life, would certainly have to research it. If I was writing a paper on science or brain surgery or rocket science or something I got to research or somthing. If I am writing about bands I loved and grown up listening to for 20-30-40 years, I just do it off of the top of my head, so I donít have to do anything. I may have to pull something just to check a date or check on a certain name of a certain record or song or something. Outside of any real studying of any kind thereís virtually nothing that I do. I just put my mind to the paper so to speak and pump it out. Both of my books, Essential Hard Rock Volume I and Volume II, which came out last year, are just really that. They are just me, a couple stories, and why I find these bands important in the history of my career. They're varied bands from rock to metal and little antecdotes and playlist and stuff like that. One day, I hope to do an autobiography of my whole story, behind the scenes, and some of the things I have dealt with to make these things happen. I may start working on that sooner than later. Iím not sure. Right now, I am still promoting the first two books that I did. Itís not too heavy. There is not a ton of text. Itís a mix of text and photos. Itís an easy read. These books have really become almost guides to some people, and younger fans to get into some of this more classic stuff and get turned onto some of it. Itís been awesome to do these two books, and I still go out and I do signings for them, and I still meet people who are just getting them. Itís been really very cool to do. Where it goes from here, I donít know. People have asked, ďWill you do a third volume in this format?Ē Possible. I could certainly get another bunch of bands together for a third volume. So I will either do that, or the book book which is more of the text, and industry stuff and behind the scenes stuff. But, I am not sure if I am quite ready to do that yet.

KNAC.COM: It would definitely be an interesting read.

TRUNK: Yeah, a lot of people have asked me about that. I say all the time, I have to sort of be somewhat retired though because in order for me to write that book effectively, I might have to reveal some stuff that some people might not like. I want to make sure I can still work. Iím not looking to sling mud, but I think some people would be very surprised of some of the things that go on behind the scenes.

KNAC.COM: What first got you into music, and what was your first metal album?

TRUNK: The band that started everything for me was KISS. As a little kid, the first record I ever bought was KISS - Destroyer. I was coming home from junior high school, and a friend of mine pointed it out at a record store, and that started everything. That was the gateway.

KNAC.COM: What do you find yourself listening to the most right now?

TRUNK: Whenever I find myself wanting to listen to something that I really love, or I need a break, and I just kind of want to get consumed with music, and get inspired or lost in the music; itís always going to be the stuff I grew up with from the 70ís. Itís always going to be old AEROSMITH, VAN HALEN, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, some KISS stuff, UFO, some AC/DC; just the iconic stuff that I was just very, very much into and it takes me back. Itís comfortable, you know that you know it so well. Those are the things that I always call on during those times, but as far as new music is concerned; there is a ton of new music and new bands coming out that Iím actually really excited about. I have not really been this excited about new bands and new music in a while. There is this whole genre, it seems, of new young bands, that are very 70ís sort of sounding with big riffs and vocals, and stuff like that.

I am a guy who needs to like the vocals to like a band. The reason I am not into Death Metal, and Grindcore, or Extreme Metal, or what have you, is because I need singing. I donít like screaming and I donít like ďCookie MonsterĒ vocals. I like a good voice, or at least a voice that is a cool voice. For me, I just canít get past the singing that comes with Extreme Metal. Itís not a knock on it. There are tons of people into that stuff and thatís cool. Itís just not for me. So, I love this movement of very 70ís throwback sounding bands but the bands are actually young guys, you know, new bands. There is a band called SCORPION CHILD, from Austin, Tx. RIVAL SONS from L.A. KYNG from L.A. MONSTER TRUCK from Canada. A band called WITCHCRAFT I just got turned onto. There is a lot of that stuff going on out there, and many more that I am probably forgetting to mention. I really, really like that sort of stuff. I like that scene that seems to be emerging. Whether it breaks through or not, and people actually respond to it and any of these bands actually make it; remains to be seen. I like what they are going for.

KNAC.COM: How do you actually find new bands and music?

TRUNK: Well, itís coming at me from all angles, all the time. Itís one of the things that is very hard to navigate because there is so much music out there. It used to be that if somebody had a record deal, you would get a record, or you would get a CD, and you would sit there and spend some time with it. It was a physical thing, you could hold in your hand and live with for a little bit. Now, everyday, everyone is pumping out 10 emails a day with different files. ďListen to this, listen to this.Ē Itís hard, because I donít have the time to download that stuff. I donít have the time to go through all of it. Iíll get turned onto things in a variety of ways. My audience will sometimes suggest things I should check out, and I will. Iím still a huge fan of physical CDís. So, when I get stuff on CD, I can stack it on my desk, and be able to go through it a little more easily that way. I read a lot still, both on the internet, and physical magazines. Especially British magazines like Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, and I just do my best to gather up as much information as I can and seek things that I think will be of interest to me, and my audience. Things that my audience would be interested in. There is just so much music out there, though. There are so many bands. Everybody is looking for their angle, and I get that, but you just canít be all things to all people. I kind of have a good way of feeling out what will and wonít work for my audience and try to make the best decisions I can. And for me personally, for things that I like personally too. Somehow it ends up finding me, or I end up finding it for the most part. Itís just not as easy as it once was because there is such a volume out there.

KNAC.COM: Whatís that one band that Eddie Trunk listens to that people might be surprised?

TRUNK: That is pretty easy, actually. There is a band that goes back, that predates KISS for me as a fan, and itís a power pop called the RASPBERRIES. They were an early 70ís power pop band. They were actually the first Rock band I ever heard. I still love their records. There is a loose connection with them and Hard Rock. They were power pop, and I know Nikki (Sixx) from MOTLEY CRUE is into them. MOTLEY CRUE actually covered one of their songs. The RASPBERRIES were like my first very favorite band as a little, little kid. And I still love them. And then on the flip side of that, as far as a newer band, that I absolutely love that people wouldn't think of is SOUL ASYLUM. I think SOUL ASYLUM is phenomenal. I think Dave Pirner is just a brilliant songwriter, and I love later SOUL ASYLUM records more than earlier ones. Iím a big fan of them and I try to go see them live any time they play. They are a great live band as well. Those are two different time periods, but two bands that certainly not considered in the metal conversation but I am a fan of. Everybody has got their thing. I donít believe in guilty pleasures. People have said to me, ďHey man, what is your guilty pleasure?Ē I donít really believe in a guilty pleasure. I donít think anyone should feel guilty for anything they like. If it moves you, and itís something you are into, than great; who cares? One thing I always hated my entire life was people that faked and pretend to like something they really donít like to appear cool. Or people who bag on stuff that they really do like to appear cool and hip. I just hated that. Itís just, if you are into that, great. Iíve always been transparent about that. Itís so silly. People want to judge you. If you donít like the band of the month like everybody else does. Iíd rather have someone be straight with me and say, ďHey, if youíre into it. Great. Not for me, but if youíre into it. GreatĒ. So few people actually do that. It has to be either black or white. Your either in or you're out. And I never got that.

KNAC.COM: What is your opinion on the current state of music on the internet and how easy it is to legally and illegally get music on the internet with services like Spotify?

TRUNK: Yeah, I donít personally use streaming services. I donít really have any of them. I know they are emerging. I know people like them. I know the artists hate them, well most of them. I just got done having a conversation with George Lynch because he got a royalty check from Spotify, or one of the streaming services for royalties on his music, and it was for a penny. He said that the royalty rates that are being paid are a joke. He doesnít know what is happening. I donít know enough about that stuff. For me, my problem with any sort of delivery of music, whether it be streaming or over the air or whatever, is that I just know that in my heart, Iím never going to get exactly what I want. I have unique tastes. I have the things I like, and I am never going to get that by anybody else giving it to me. So I would much rather listen to my own music. Fortunately, because being in the record industry all these years, I get sent most of the music that I want, and I understand that it is different for somebody that doesnít have that luxury. So it is a little different for me. I haven't spent a lot of time listening to that stuff. Iím not all that well versed in it. Iím still, as far as delivery of music, Iím still 100% a CD guy. I still believe in CDís, I still love CDís. Itís still my favorite format. You physically still have something to hold, and to look at, and a booklet or something, something to reference and itís still digital. You can still put it in your iPhone, or your iPad which is what I do. So to me, itís very much the best of both worlds. I know there are some people that are really into vinyl, and vinyl may sound technically better and Iím sure it does to some people. Iím not running around with a turntable in my car. I canít take vinyl and inject it into my iPhone. Iím fine with CDís. I know people that think that it is a dying format but I think that if people can still make the case for vinyl surviving than you can definitely make more of a case for CDís.

KNAC.COM: I hate that physical media is dying, not just with music, but with video games, and movies. Itís just not the way it should be.

TRUNK: I still very, very, very much love physical magazines and newspapers. Iím a huge fan of that. So much of my time working is with a computer in front of me, so at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is still be looking at a computer screen when I want to wind down. So for me, the best part of the day, to get away from work, is to turn the computer off, sit down in a chair, turn a light on, and open up a newspaper, and not just open up a computer screen. Not have stuff popping up at you. Not having this email that just came in. This has to be dealt with. Get lost in the paper. Pour a drink, and open up a newspaper or magazine and turn all that stuff off. To me, that is why I love those platforms still so much. Again, I probably sound like an old man talking like that to a lot of people, but that is just how I feel about it. For me, when I have a computer going or looking at a screen, of any kind, 95% of it is because it is business related. When I want to get away, the last thing I want to do is have a screen flashing in my face.

KNAC.COM: People always ask me why I never play computer games. Because when I am in front of a computer, I am working on something.

TRUNK: Yeah, my kids donít understand that. My kids are consumed with the computer and playing the Sims and all that stuff. They see me sitting at the computer for hours, and they think I am playing a game or something. Iíve never actually played a computer game in my life. When Iím on my computer, Iím answering emails, Iím doing this, Iím doing that. It is what it is. I still am a big believer in physical things. Magazines. Heck, if you get some of these great magazines from England, you get so many extra things with them. You get posters, you get CDís, you get all this stuff. It is such a better way to take it in, I think. I think there will be a balance, and people will find what will work for them.

KNAC.COM: What can people expect at That Metal Show tour stops?

TRUNK: Well, first of all, itís not a ďThat Metal ShowĒ tour. Thatís got to be really clearly stated. Unfortunately, some promoters have tried to market these shows like that, and that misled people into thinking that these are tapings of That Metal Show and they are not in any way, shape or form. It has nothing to do with the TV show except for the fact that it is all three of us that host the TV show. These are live stand up comedy shows. We have been doing them for a little while. We do them from time to time and they are a lot of fun. The audience seems to have a great time with us. We have a blast doing it. We donít want anyone ever misled into thinking that these are ever tapings of That Metal Show. We always like to try to put that out there very clearly. That Metal Show is only taped in the studio in either New York or Los Angeles. So anything that any of us do outside those studio settings is not That Metal Show. We go out and we have a good time. I host the show, and I tell some stories and have some fun with the audience. Don (Jamieson) comes out and does some stand up. Jim (Florentine) comes out and does some standup, which most of it is kind of rock n roll related. And then we all come out together and we do some Q & A with the audience. Sometimes if there are artists in the town we are in that want to come up on stage, we will bring them up on stage and have some fun with them. Then we will do a little trivia, and give away some prizes with the crowd, and then a lot of times, the venue will put a band or two on after we are done. It is about an hour and a half show of us on stage, having fun with the audience, telling stories, telling jokes and then the promoter decides what ever else he wants to do during the course of the night. Thatís what those are and we do these shows when our schedule permits. We all do different things out there on the road. I host a ton of stuff I have a bunch of stuff coming up that I am hosting that comes up every year. The next thing will be the Monsters Of Rock cruise. Don and Jim are out in comedy clubs doing their stand up. But every once in a while, the three of us get together and when our schedules work, we go and do these kind of shows as a unit and it is a lot of fun and we have a great time doing it. We have a bunch coming up that are listed on the homepage of my site. We just want to make sure, because we donít want people to be misled by promoters or otherwise when they see the three of our names thinking they are coming to a taping and be disappointed. We just want everybody to know clearly that they are stand up shows and not the TV show.

KNAC.COM: Any final comments you would like to make to your fans?

TRUNK: Just thank you. Itís been an amazing journey so far, starting out as this kid from New Jersey out of high school just loving this music and to be able to carve out the audience that I have and the support that I have and to still be doing this after all these years, bigger and better than I have been able to. Hopefully, going forward growing it even more. I mean, none of this happens without the audience. You hear a lot of Rock guys and bands say stuff like that, and you wonder how much sometimes they really acknowledge it. I canít speak for them but I can speak for myself, to know that if I didnít build some kind of connection with the audience, or some kind of trust. Not everybody is going to agree with every position that I have but thatís cool. That is what it is about. I never want to be somebody that says the right thing every time; the politically correct thing. I like to engage people. I like to debate. I like discussion. I like the back and forth. ďOK. Here is how I think. How do you think?Ē That is why my radio show is live. That is why I engage with people on social media as much as I can. Answer them when I can. Cause I love the back and forth. I love the debate. I think that is something that is really missing in this sort of music, where everybody is so P.C., and everybody is just so saying the right thing, and nobody wants to engage people. Iím grateful for my audience that has come along with me on that, and that get it. I think it;s a big reason why we have kind of built what we have built together, in terms of just being fans of this music, and helping to advance it and discuss it. Keep it in a positive light. Iím really grateful that I have what I have and I acknowledge that. Without people listening, without people watching, it would all just go away. I hope to continue it for a really long time. I thank everybody for listening, for watching, and buying the books, coming out to the gigs, itís been amazing. I just hope we can keep it going.

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