Eddie Trunk has truly been the pioneer for getting metal and hard rock the attention it needs. He was playing metal back in the 80’s on his own radio show, and showing to the masses how incredible of a genre it really is. He has done the radio stuff, TV, and has even worked for a label. He truly has experienced pretty much every aspect of the music industry.
Right now his biggest project is a show on VH1 Classic called That Metal Show. It’s essentially a talk show with all the craziest of metal fans and the wackiest metal artists. The energy and love are there, and it’s definitely a fun time even if you’re watching from home.
You can catch it every Saturday at 9/8C on VH1 Classic!
Monsters and Critics: How do you feel about AC/DC headlining this years Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival? How do you think they’ll do?
Eddie Trunk: There’s not a lot of other bands at that festival that are gonna be of any great interest to AC/DC fans. But AC/DC is so big that they transcend hard rock at this point. So, I think it will do just fine. I think that there will be a ton of people for them. There’s a lot of AC/DC fans that if they go are gonna show up just to see them the one day they are playing. Maybe, also now that there have been some other shows announced just saying, okay, we’ll just go to those. It’s not really an AC/DC fans bill outside of AC/DC. They can work on any sort of bill because they cross over to so many genres now. I think the real AC/DC fan is waiting to go to their own show or them to be at a festival that is a bit more cohesive with that genre of music
M&C: You are on your 14th season right now of That Metal Show. When you first started it did you see it going this far and being as successful and fun as it is.
Eddie Trunk: You know that’s a question I get a lot and it’s really hard for me to say that. It was very hard for me to get it on the air. Once it got on the air I thought it would have a good run, and I thought that it would last for a while. This long? I don’t know. What a lot of people don’t know is that I had a big history with VH1 Classic prior to That Metal Show. I was one of their hosts. I did a ton of interviews for them, I worked for them for five years on air before That Metal Show was launched. I was pushing all those years to try to get a show like this on with them.
So, when I finally got the meeting and got the pilot together and got the show on the air, I knew that for them to take that step they had to pretty serious about wanting to make it happen. Once we got picked up with the pilot, then I knew that we were in a good spot. I think we help each other out greatly, I think a show like That Metal Show has become the anchor for the channel. So, it’s been there kind of bread and butter program that’s become the channel’s flagship. The flipside for us is that we’re on a channel that makes a lot of sense to be one. We’re doing a rock talk show, and honestly there’s not a lot of people who would wanna run a rock talk show. So, thankfully we’re in a good home. It’s been a great run. Our seventh year of the show and for me my 13th year being apart of the channel. Very lucky and happy to have had this history and hope it continues.
M&C: You do both radio and TV. What is the biggest difference between hosting a radio show and hosting a TV show? Is there one that you prefer over the other? One that’s easier or one that comes more naturally?
Eddie Trunk: Pros and Cons to both. The radio I’ve been doing for 32 years, so I’ve had more time on radio. Radio is second nature to me it’s an extension of what I do. It’s just what I do, it’s not even something I think about. I think back sometimes to my early days in radio and how nervous I was about it. Now it’s just second nature. The biggest downside for me between the two on the television side is time. On TV you’re so restricted on time. You have very specific things you need to hit, you have a clock above the camera three and a half minutes you have with this artist get in and get out when the clock goes to zero you have to end. That to me is very difficult to do. When I’m in TV mode I have to compress the questions, compress what I wanna do, compress what I wanna try and get out into a very short period of time.
The other difference to that factors in is that I’m also working with two other guys, Don and Jim. They may want to jump in from time to time and have a question. So, trying to get a lot in a short period of time is very difficult on TV for me. The flipside is with radio, if you’re talking about my satellite radio show, which is as much a talk show as anything now, I may talk to an artist for an hour. I started a podcast about six months ago, and it’s only interviews with artists. I probably haven’t done less than 45 to an hour with any of the interview I have on my podcast. I love the extended conversation, you can’t do that on television. The beauty of television is that it’s so impactful.
Radio is sort of like you do something and it goes out there, and you hope people heard it, and maybe somebody recorded it and put it on YouTube or whatever. For the most part it happened, it’s spontaneous it’s immediate, great. You hope people caught it. TV is the opposite in the sense that okay, there’s gonna be a week or two lag. Our show repeats a lot, so people could be seeing shows I did three years ago and come up to me with a questions and I don’t remember doing that show. The impact of TV can’t be touched as far as the reach and game changer that it is in your career.
There’s nothing that has as much reach and I think impact. There’s still a lot of people that tell you, well the internet is where everything’s at now and all that. Yeah, certainly it’s an emerging thing, but to me there’s still no substitute for actually being on TV as far as making an impact. It’s a different thing when people see it, and it’s on their TV’s and it’s in different countries and it lasts for a long time. It’s just a totally different experience.
The upside of radio is that you have more time, and it’s very immediate. One of my radio shows is live, so the minute I do something the whole country hears it. I love that. I love the immediacy. I love the back and forth. I love that I can take phone calls. I love that I can engage with the audience and I don’t have a clock right in front of me saying you got three minutes left. I mean to some degree you do, you have to hit commercials or whatever, but I love having that ability to just really spread out and talk in depth with someone.
M&C: You were the vice president of Megaforce. What made you leave that position? Would you even consider going back and working for a label or possibly starting your own label?
Eddie Trunk: I left the company back in 1990. I worked there from 1986-1990 and yes I ended with the title vice president, but it had become frustrating for me because I did a lot of work on artists that I had signed or were signed to the label and at the time the owner of the label his intentions started to deviate more towards a management company that he had started. As a result I think a lot of the stuff on the label end had started to suffer because of it, and it was very hard for me to work so hard on these records, and see how much the artists were working on these records and to see them not get the attention that they should. As a result we butted heads a little bit and decided it was best for us to go our own ways. Ever since we’re totally cool and we laugh about it and all that now. I made a little bit of a mark there, and I worked with some great artists and I had some great experiences.
From that I thought I would stay in the business end of it and I did some artist management I worked for an artist management company, but even when I was at Megaforce the whole reason I got the job at Megaforce was because I was doing what a lot of people thought was one of the first ever metal radio shows. As a result that got on their radar, and when I got hired by the label I never stopped doing that radio show, I still do that same radio show to this day. I always had the other side of me, I kind of wore two hats. I was the young record label executive, but I also on the other side had this side on the weekend that I played the music that I love and continue to do this show. When the business sort of dwindled for me and I started to go away from the label stuff, I said, well now I’m going to chase the radio thing a little bit more. Maybe I can make something of that.
The big change happened for me to make that happen when I moved from radio in New Jersey to radio in New York City, and that would have been in 1994. When I was able to move into a huge market like New York then all of a sudden a lot more opportunity opened, a lot more people heard what I was doing and there was a lot more chances to grow, and I stayed on that side ever since. But I do miss some of the aspects of doing A&R work like I did and working with some of these artists. I recently helped out a band called The Winery Dogs. I’ve been helping out this band called Farmikos that is a new band from California that I like a lot.
None of it has any financial end for me. None of it is in any real professional capacity. If I hear stuff that I like and I think I can put two and two together and help out or lend an ear or give an opinion I’m happy to do it. Going into starting a record label now or working for a record label now there’s a lot more challenged twenty five years later then there was when I left, and a lot of changes. I don’t know if I would want to go down that road. I never say never, but it would have to be something that I really felt made sense and felt that really gave the artist a chance to succeed and have some real artist development, and not just lets throw it out and see if something happens. That’s what killed me last time around and that’s not what I would wanna see happen again. I care too much about music and these bands to just see them become a statistic.
M&C: When you first started in VH1 you had an interview with KISS. I know that they were one of the bands that started and prompted your love for heavy rock and metal. How did it feel to be able to interview a band that has been such a significant part of your life?
Eddie Trunk: You’re right they were the band that really started it all for me as a fan, and I had done a number of interviews with them over the years. Two of the original members Ace and Peter are close friends to this day, and Ace was the first signing I ever had when I worked for Megaforce back in 1987. I’ve had a great friendship with those guys. Although I’ve interviewed Gene and Paul and done some scattered stuff with them over the years. I never really had the chance to do the in depth interview that I would like to with those guys. Because of my relationship with Gene and Paul and because of some very erroneous information in their heads, they don’t work with me and don’t interview with me and don’t come on my shows, and that’s unfortunate. Maybe because their audience watches my show and wants to see them on my show more than anything.
That opportunity just hasn’t been there and they just for whatever reason won’t do it. Life goes on, there’s nothing you can do, you hope that they come around one day and decide to do it. The times that I did do interviews with them it was interesting. I would still like to one day get into a real in depth interview, because it is one of my favorite bands who meant a lot to me, and I’d like to talk about the stuff I like and the stuff I don’t like and have an intelligent discussion and debate about their entire history. The good, the bad the not so good. They’re very much the sort of band that you have to fall in line with what they want you to do on any given moment and if you deviate from what they’re trying to sell at the moment they don’t want to deal with you. Again, hopefully one day it will come around and change, but for the most part I’ve got the memories of the things that we did. For the most part they were all really fun.
M&C: Who are you most excited for this upcoming season?
Eddie Trunk: Well, it happened already. It was our very first show and that was certainly Geddy Lee from Rush. Tying in with Kiss and bands like that for me. The most exciting things for me are the bands that mean the most to me are the bands that I grew up as a huge fan of in the 70’s. the guys in the 80’s is a little different for me because although I’m still a huge fan we kind of grew up in the business together. I knew them coming up, I knew them as they developed and built up. 70’s guys who I had their posters on my wall as a kid those are the guys that really touch a nerve in my as like wow this is amazing.
Although I’ve gotten to be lucky to know some of them over the years it’s still very special. When this first new episode of That Metal Show launched this season we had been off the air for almost a year of new episodes. It was really important for me that we had a great first strong guest that everybody would know and want to hear from, and Geddy was absolutely that. The best guests are the people that don’t take it too seriously, and you can have fun with, and Geddy’s like that. Not to diminish any of the great guests we have coming up, but to kick of with Geddy Lee and a cameo from Joe Elliot, That was awesome.
M&C: What was the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a metal show?
Eddie Trunk: There’s two. I remember going to England for the very first time which was in 1987 to what use to be called Monsters of Rock and is now called Download. I went there with Anthrax, I was working with them at the time. They played the main festival stage, and I just remember them playing and seeing this mosh pit form. That was like nothing I had ever seen before. This sea of people in this circle, and I was standing on the side of the stage looking out. I was actually working Scott Ian’s video camera for him, and kept pointing to me from the stage to shoot out there because he couldn’t believe it either. I remember just being overwhelmed and seeing that many people react to that band like that.
I thought it was amazing. I also saw Marilyn Manson play on their very first tour for their very first album. They played at a small club in New Jersey that’s no longer there. I went out there to see them. I actually just saw Manson a few weeks ago and brought this up to him, and we talked about it for a minute. he played this club, and I had never seen him. I had gotten the record, I liked the record and I just didn’t know much more about him other than that. I went out there, and the place was only maybe half full, but it was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen. It was like completely over the top. This was before anyone had really heard Manson speak or knew what he was about. It was just complete mayhem.
People would come up on stage and smack him in the ribs with the mic stand, he was cutting himself. It was legitimately dangerous over the top insanity. I remember wanting to get closer to the stage, but there was so much stuff flying off of it. It’s one of the most memorable shows I ever saw. Now of course it’s different Manson is more established, you know what he’s about. He’s been in TV shows and what have you. Back then it was this whole new thing and you didn’t know what to make of it and I was completely compelled by it. It was pretty intense.