May 9th, 2011
If you’re a fan of metal the name Eddie Trunk needs no qualifier. Eddie has been sharing his love of hard rock and heavy metal with fans for over 25 years. Whether its on his two weekly radio shows: Eddie Trunk Live on Sirius/XM radio’s The Boneyard channel and the FM-syndicated Eddie Trunk Rocks that originates from Q-104 .3 FM in New York City or as the host of That Metal Show on VH1 Classic, Eddie has always brought fans of metal the best the genre has to offer.
In addition to his on-air talents, Eddie was one of the original executives at Megaforce/Atlantic Records, becoming Vice President of the label at the age of 25. While at Megaforce he worked with bands like Anthrax, Manowar, Overkill, King’s X, and Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley. He also worked for Loud & Proud Management where he helped shepherd the careers of bands like White Lion.
Clearly Eddie knows metal! So when we heard that about the release of his new book, Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal (Abrams, 2011) we jumped at the chance to speak to him, and we’re pleased to announce that he agreed to provide us a copy to give away to the runner up in our 2011 Figment Album Cover Design Contest!
Figment News: Why did you decide to write your new book, Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal?
Eddie Trunk: I was always interested in doing a book at some point and would still like to do an autobiography once my days being active in the business are done, so this was a great way to get into that world. There are many personal stories in the book and incredible photos, so it’s kind of a hybrid of many things and people have really responded to it so far.
FN: It’s certainly jam packed with anecdotes and stories about some of the biggest metal stars in the world. What’s one of your favorites?
Eddie: They are all so personal to me. Funny stuff like walking off stage with the singer from Tesla’s mic always makes me crack a smile. I get asked so much about when Axl Rose came into my studio in 2006 and that’s covered in the GnR chapter. The Dio chapter is super tough because I originally wrote it before Ronnie passed away, then went and rewrote it. That was a tough one.
FN: You have two radio shows, Eddie Trunk Live on XM/Sirius’ “The Boneyard” channel and Eddie Trunk Rocks that airs live on Q104.3 here in NY and is syndicated elsewhere, AND you host “The Metal Show” on VH1 Classic. How do you have time to do all these shows and write a book?
Eddie: I’m lucky I have what I have and I don’t take any of it for granted, but I’m not even close to where I want to be in this world. I’m always looking at how I can expand on what I am doing with my current outlets and looking for more. Both radio shows are once a week, the TV show shoots a full season in like 10 days then they roll out, so it looks a little more non stop than it is. Don’t get me wrong, now with the book I am busy, but I welcome it and always look for more to grow my shows and spread the word on the bands and music.
FN: You’ve been on the radio for over 25 years, and clearly the industry has changed a lot in that time. What do you think the future holds for radio?
Eddie: 28 actually as of now. It’s a strange time for radio. I truly feel you have to be known for something and have a dedicated audience that tunes in for you and not just the music. You can get thousands of songs in an iPod these days. I never wanted to be an iPod. I think you need to bring more to the table as a host on radio than a nice voice that can backsell a playlist. Sadly computers are taking those jobs. So that’s why my shows are music and talk and interview intensive as well. I like doing that kind of radio, much more creative. But there are some new opportunities these days with the internet and podcasting that were not there before, not to mention satellite, so if you have a brand and name I think you can do something cool still.
FN: How important of a role does radio still play in promoting new and established bands? Do you think the internet has stolen a lot of radio’s thunder?
Eddie: I still don’t think there is a greater substitute for radio when it comes to exposing music and news about bands. Its so immediate and personal to many. The biggest was MTV in the music days, but radio is still king now I think. You would not believe how many people in the middle of this country don’t use the internet that much. I hear from them all the time on the satellite show. They want to hit the radio in their car and get their dose of music and news. Sadly radio has been less and less adventurous in taking chances on new things, but it can still move the needle greatly. I’d love to do a daily show one day in radio, especially if I had creative freedom like I do now.
FN: You’ve clearly seen a lot of great hard rock and metal bands live. What bands would you put in your Top 5 live list?
Eddie: Kiss, Aerosmith, Metallica, AC/DC, UFO, so many…
FN: Getting back to your book, did you really share cucumber sandwiches with Robert Plant?
Eddie: Yes, he called it a “salad sandwich” and it was just like cucumber and lettuce. Not my idea of a sandwich but it was a british tea thing, and if your hangin with Plant you go with it! I had the chance to do TV with him twice pre That Metal Show on VH1 Classic.
FN: In addition to working on radio you’ve also been an executive with Megaforce Records as well as worked in artist management with Loud & Proud. What was it like working for those companies back in the 1980’s when metal was really breaking through to the mainstream?
Eddie: A whole different world than today. Labels spent a couple hundred thousand on a video alone. Records sold, bands toured all the time, people purchased music and CDs, the record stores and press were so much more of a factor. If you got a few plays on MTV and some radio you could score a gold album, now getting gold is so much harder.
FN: Clearly metal and hard rock have changed a lot since the 80’s. We’ve seen a lot of new genres spring up and despite being decimated by grunge and alternative rock in the 90’s its still going as strong as ever. Why do you think metal is so resilient?
Eddie: Its always been the underdog and been marginalized and underestimated. People think they know exactly the makeup of a metal fan and often they are wrong. I always hated the stereotypes with the music and fought against them. I love when people say I don’t look or act like a metal guy.
FN: Any up and coming metal bands that you would recommend?
Eddie: I have been heavily entrenched in the classic world. My radio shows are on classic based channels and so is my TV show. I still listen to and support new music that fits what I’m into and especially great new music from classic artists, but there is not that one band right now I can point to and say they are special. Hope I find one though.
FN: What advice would you have for someone who is interested in working in the music industry these days?
Eddie: So tough now. Labels are dying. Be diverse in your experience and get it wherever you can. Its not learned in books but I would never discourage education. Have a backup plan for sure. I just think get the experience, get creative, and network the best you can, The future is in managing artists and these 360 deals I think. Most people taking all their business in house, so you either have to work for them direct, or provide a service as an indie that they can hire you for. But experience is key.
FN: Figment is a site where being able to design a great album cover is really important. What metal album covers would you put in your Top 10?
Eddie: Black Sabbath: Heaven & Hell, Kiss: Destroyer, Van Halen II, Motorhead: Ace Of Spades, Iron Maiden: Number Of The Beast, Judas Priest: Screaming For Vengeance, Rainbow: Rising, Rush: 2112, Metallica: Master Of Puppets, Ozzy: Diary Of A Madman.
FN: If you could form your ultimate fake metal band what would you name it?
Eddie: Screaming Lords Of Metal