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article imageInterview with That Metal Show's Eddie Trunk Special

By Adrian Peel     Nov 8, 2014 in Music
The TV presenter, author, radio DJ and all-round expert on everything related to hard rock and heavy metal speaks to Digital Journal
Ever since he landed his first dream job presenting a hard rock/heavy metal show (one of the first of its kind) on local New Jersey radio station WDHA way back in 1983, Eddie Trunk has been sharing his passion for music with the world.
As well as being a highly respected radio personality, the 50-year-old New Jersey native has also written two books (Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Volumes One and Two), worked in artist management, risen to be Vice President of Megaforce Records and, perhaps most famously of all, been the face of VH1 Classic's That Metal Show since 2008.
"I love all the things I do," states the busy broadcaster, who can currently be heard on New York's Q104.3, in answer to the question of which of his various activities give him the most pleasure.
"TV has the greatest impact but radio gives me so much more time to spend with artists and it’s very spontaneous. As long as I can do what I want and be creative, I’m happy. Writing is great but very time consuming..."
That Metal Show, co-presented by Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson, first aired six years ago this month and was an instant hit. I asked Eddie to tell me a little bit about what it's like to work on the programme and how what now seems like such an obvious recipe for success first came about.
"I love that the show is so popular around the world and gives so many artists a platform on TV to a large rock audience they wouldn’t otherwise have," he explains. "It’s also exposed the music and helped rock grow for many."
"I worked for VH1 Classic as a host way before TMS," he continues, revealing how he initially got his start in television in 2002. "I did all styles of music and interviews back then and have many great memories and experiences from that time.
"But TMS was a show I pushed for for many years before it finally debuted. It was a chance for me to be more real and honest and have the artists and music I love on. Don and Jim are stand-up comics who were listeners of my radio show.
"When TMS started coming together, I reached out to them to be a part of it. It’s been a great team and fun working with your friends as well. We have a good time, but it’s not without its challenges, like any job. Next season starts in February 2015."
Over the years, the show has played host to numerous well-known figures from the world of hard rock and heavy metal, including Slash, Rob Halford, Ace Frehley, Dave Mustaine, Brian Johnson, Lemmy, Ted Nugent, and Herman Rarebell.
Who would Eddie like to have on who's not been on before?
"Artists I want and what the audience wants might not always be the same thing," he replies. "I like to give the lesser known guys a shot, but the network always wants the main stars of major bands. We have a good balance.
"Guys we've never had on that are often requested are Eddie Van Halen, Jimmy Page, James Hetfield, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, Ozzy... Our door is wide open. For many it’s just a matter of schedule or they aren’t comfortable doing TV but love the show. For a few, they just have issues."
People often say that they don't want to meet their heroes as they believe they’ll be disappointed (especially if said hero has "issues"), yet Eddie Trunk has met a number of his. What's his view on this idea of maintaining a certain 'mystique' between artist and fan?
"I understand it and it’s not a bad idea... There are some people I have met over the decades that have had me sour on them because of their behaviour. But anyone can have a bad day and fans have to remember that.
"You also have to remember these guys are constantly getting hammered by fans for stuff and sometimes it becomes over the top, especially if out eating or with family. I've seen many fans behave great when they approach celebs and others act way out of line and deserve to be blown off, so it does work both ways."
One of my favourite segments on That Metal Show is Stump the Trunk (other regular features include The Throwdown, TMS Vault and Pick of the Week), where audience members - and sometimes guests - put a question to Eddie in an attempt to 'stump' him. If he fails to answer it, or answers incorrectly, then the person asking the question wins a prize.
"I worked in the music business on many sides of it since 1983, right after high school," says the walking encyclopedia, who cites Black Sabbath's Heaven & Hell, Aerosmith Rocks, UFO's Strangers In The Night, Van Halen's self-titled debut, Screaming For Vengeance by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden's Killers as some of his all-time favourite records - though freely admits it's very hard to narrow it down - discussing how he came to be a leading authority on his chosen subject.
"I was always consumed with rock music. When you're around it your entire life and absorb it, you just know it. I worked in a record store, for a label, in management and still do radio. It’s what I do. Trust me, there is plenty I don’t know!"
To conclude, the man who has dedicated most of his life to promoting the music he loves - and who is well-loved by many of its artists in return (Judas Priest even did a concert in his honour a few years ago) - told me of his proudest achievements in what has been a long and successful career.
"Surviving in radio 30-plus years and TV for 12... Launching TMS is no doubt the biggest thing I’ve done, but it’s important to note that without building my name in all the years in radio - and in the music business - that likely would not have happened, so it all feeds into everything.
"Having Priest play a private show for me in 2009 was amazing. Publishing two books, the relationship I have with some of my hero bands... But most importantly I am proud that I've managed to help grow and expose this music in a respectful way that doesn’t play to the stereotypes for over three decades.
"It was always about sharing the music for me, and still is."
For more information on Eddie Trunk, visit his official website.
For more on That Metal Show, go here.
More about eddie trunk, that metal show, Vh1, Rock music, Heavy metal
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