“’Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal’ – Interview”

When I was a kid, watching Joe Perry made me want to pick up a guitar, fortunately for me I grew up in the power chord era with bands like Green Day, NIrvana, STP, then later Korn and Godsmack. I was able to pick up guitar playing those songs pretty easily then I discovered Zakk Wylde, Nuno Bettencourt, John Petrucci etc and I was like fuck this. Then I started doing this Zoiks thing. I’m no journalist, I’m just a fan who loves attempting to get the word out on great music. I’ve had some amazing experiences when I started to think I was getting good at this, then I got turned onto "That Metal Show" and watched Eddie Trunk and part of me was like fuck this, but the other part of me thought I should keep going?

Why not? It’s not every day you get to hang out with bands like Korn or Sevendust or when you have Sully Erna from Godsmack or Mark Tremonti from Alter Bridge calling your house. It’s fair to say that Eddie Trunk is my favorite rock journalist or whatever you’d call him, largely in part because he’s a fan first. I was honored to get the chance to chat with Eddie where we talked about his new book “Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal,” “That Metal Show,” and Eddie’s take on Steven Tyler joining “American Idol.”

Zoiks!: You worked in several different areas within the rock/media world, from tv to radio to a record studio, what made you decide to become an author as well?

Eddie Trunk: I always wanted to write a book and when the idea was offered to me I jumped. I want to do a full on autobiography some day, but this was a good starting point and this book does have many personal stories.

Z!: Can you tell us a little bit about the new book "Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal?"
ET: Its 50% photos and scans of cool ticket stubs and stuff, and 50% stories and over views of the 35 bands that I felt were important to me and my scene growing up. It is hard rock and heavy metal, so Billy Squier and Bon Jovi, and Slayer and Megadeth are featured. I have always done that in radio, TV and now the book.

Z!: "That Metal Show" is my absolute favorite television show. I've spent (or wasted as my wife would say) entire weekends just watching episodes of "That Metal Show." From the get go, the show was amazing, but each season it keeps getting better and better. I love now that you have hour long episodes. Where did the idea for "That Metal Show" come from?

ET: Its very much an extension of what I do on the radio for years. Don & Jim were friends and frequent guests on my radio shows and just about all the elements and vibe of the show come from that. The show went through a long process. I started pitching it almost 10 years ago when I was a host/VJ at VH1 Classic. People forget I worked for the channel from 2002-2006 as a host, so I have a history there. It wasn't until 2008 that they let me do what I always wanted to and have my own voice for the most part. There were many people involved in different times of development, but in 2008 it all just came together.

Z!: One thing I've learned as a fan of rock music is that there is a lot of dissension of fans with in the rock world. You witnessed that on your own show a couple seasons ago when Scott Ian more or less bad mouthed bands like Warrant and Winger. How has aiming to please all of the fans in rock music affected the show or the planning of the show?

ET: We don't aim to please everyone, you can't, you will go insane trying. We have a niche of hard rock and metal we cover. We welcome and everyone is encouraged to give their opinions, but I have always covered the hard rock and metal sides to the music I love in radio, with my book and on TV. I like both worlds and don't feel the need to pick a side. What I break Scott's balls about is that he can slam those guys, but then get up and play their songs with Steel Panther?

Z!: In the movie "Almost Famous," Lester Band tells William not to be friends with the rock stars. Based on what I've seen from "That Metal Show" you've become friends with the rock stars, yet it works. You ask the hard questions and you get the best responses, if you don't like something you have no problem saying it. Why does it work so well for you?

ET: I've been doing it almost 30 years. That comes with time and trust and respect from the artists. I'm lucky I have that. Most know even if I'm critical it is because I am still a fan! They know I really know their stuff, so it's coming from a place of love for them even if I didn't agree or hated it. I know that sounds weird but its true, it's because I care. For the artists who know what it is to still be a fan, for the few that don't get it I can't worry about it. You get tons more respect and credibility when you say you like something if you are willing to also say you don't.

Z!: When did your love or rock music start and where did it come from?

ET: The Raspberries were the first time I heard distorted guitar as a young kid, and that made me flip. Then after a couple years I discovered Kiss at 12 in 1976 and that REALLY made me flip, it just went from there!

Z!: Have you ever tried your hand at an instrument or even trying to sing? Why or why not?

ET: I'd love to do anything like that, but never had the time or discipline. I did take drum lessons as a kid but didn't hang with it. Glenn Tipton offered me a chance to play with Priest on stage and had no idea I could not play a note. That killed me! I just became so consumed with playing music for other people to help expose them; I never explored the area of playing myself. I guess it’s not too late but have too much going on right now to focus.

Z!: You've had a lot of great moments in your career, is there one that stands out above them all?

ET: NY Steel 9/11 benefit it did in 2001. Great night for metal and a great cause. I have always hated the stereotypes with metal and that showed metal fans and artists cared too. The Axl Rose interview gets lots of questions also from 2006 to this day. Career wise moving into NYC radio in 1994 was huge as was breaking into TV in 2002.

Z!: Who has been the hardest interview?

ET: I find Lemmy to be tough. Great guy and an icon, but a man of few words, you have to really pull from him.

Z!: Do you have any guilty pleasures? You're supposed to be the hard rock or metal guy, but are there any artists or groups out there that your fans would be surprised to learn that you're a fan? Like were you secretly celebrating when Abba got into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame?

ET: I like some power pop stuff. Great melody and edgy guitar stuff. Also love Soul Asylum, Dave Pirner to me is an incredible writer. But I never feel like I have to apologize for liking anything even if it’s outside the norm for me.

Z!: I'm a huge Aerosmith fan. That's also the one band that I get the most shit for liking...but most of those people haven't listened to "Rocks." What's your take on Steven Tyler joining "American Idol?" I still can't decide, obviously he brings rock royalty to "American Idol," but it's still "American Idol." What's your take?
ET: I understand why he is doing it. Massive exposure to a new fan base. I have never seen the show ever. To me it’s a karaoke contest. I hear he is great on it. But to me he is the guy that sings "Rats In The Cellar". He is just one of the all time greatest rockers in history, so it did bother me, but I get why he is doing it. I just think most of these artists will prove to be disposable flash when all is said and done, and not the next Steven Tyler, who actually writes and makes his own music and paid his dues touring to build fans.

Z!: I want to thank you for "That Metal Show." I was born in 1979, I grew up in the grunge then Nu Metal era, but I was a big fan of Aerosmith and Zeppelin. So I more or less ignored grunge and nu metal. However with a lot of other classic rock bands like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, The Scorpions, UFO etc, my knowledge of them was limited to greatest hits or compilation discs. For instance, I knew who Judas Priest was, but I didn't realize their influence on bands like Slayer, all I had was this Monster's of Rock CD with "You've Got Another Thing Coming" on it. Your show has allowed me to discover bands in a greater detail and I'm forever grateful for that. (I can't to read the comments of people blasting me for not knowing much about those classic bands).

ET: Thanks, I was made fun of for what I liked as a kid, and it worked out okay for me. Love what you love and don't worry what others think!

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Anonymous said...

Greed Day rocks. Much better than GREEN Day.

Bob Zerull said...



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