INTERVIEW WITH EDDIE TRUNK
Date: May 12, 2016
Interviewer: Ruben Mosqueda
Eddie Trunk is no stranger to hard rock and metal fans. He has had an illustrious career in radio and working in the record industry including signing Ace Frehley to Megaforce Records in 1986. In the coming years, Trunk worked on his terrestrial radio career and then wound up on VH-1 Classic hosting the ‘Hangin’ With’ series where he interviewed musicians from all genres. Along the way, Trunk wound up signing on for a radio show on XM Satellite Radio which later merged with Sirius; Trunk’s weekly show ‘Trunk Nation’ airs Mondays 6:00 pm—10:00 pm EST on Channel 39.
Trunk became somewhat of a household name during his tenure as one of the hosts of ‘That Metal Show’ which aired on VH-1 Classic from 2008 to 2016. Alongside Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine, Trunk gained an audience that surpassed fans of hard rock and metal. The ‘Stump The Trunk’ segment is a standout moment of ‘That Metal Show.’ I played along week after week with my kids witnessing the madness of mindless hard rock and metal facts.
In the spring of 2016, it was announced that VH-1 Classic would not be picking up the option on ‘That Metal Show’ which essentially left the program without a home. Trunk and the producer are currently shopping the show to other channels. As you know the man is in demand doing appearances, hosting festivals and cruises and the like. Eddie caught us up to speed on his current endeavors.
“When ‘That Metal Show’ wasn’t picked up by VH-1 Classic, one of the networks that came up consistently was AXS TV. I have to make this clear to the readers while I asked AXS TV if they were interested in producing ‘That Metal Show’ they are currently not in position where they can produce the show. While I’m doing these other things. It’s not the end of ‘That Metal Show.’ That’s not the case at all.” insists Trunk.
Sleaze Roxx: You’re working with AXS. You’ll be part of ‘Reel To Real’ which will be airing a number of documentaries and you’ll be adding some commentary within the airing. Is that accurate?
Eddie Trunk: That’s 100% accurate. In fact, I have been getting the word out to people of exactly this. There’s people who say “Eddie you have a new show on AXS and I’m switching cable providers!” I appreciate the sentiment but the truth of the matter is that I’m just hosting the documentary series called as you stated ‘Reel To Real.’
AXS commissioned about 20 documentaries of all genres — anything from hard rock to classical piano. I wrote the scripts for all the movies. I tell the viewer what the movie is all about. I then come on again toward the middle of the movie and give the viewer some information. I then come in toward the end of the movie and thank the viewer for watching and in some cases, I give updated information. Some of the movies are over 10 years old.
It’s really great working with these guys. I worked with them on a few things when they were still called HD Net. I wanted to work with them but since I was under contract with VH-1 Classic, I couldn’t do it but when it was announced that ‘That Metal Show’ wasn’t going to continue (on VH-1 Classic), AXS approached me about contracting with them to do this series. I understand that AXS is running the promos right now. I can’t even see it because my cable provider doesn’t carry AXS [laughs]!
Sleaze Roxx: So you wrote all the scripts for the documentaries?
Eddie Trunk: So, for 12 of the 20, I wrote my own copy. AXS wanted my own words. I’ll give you an example. One of the films is Jason Becker’s ‘Not Dead Yet.’ I reached out to Jason and asked him if there was anything that he wanted to say in terms of an update. Jason sent a nice note that he wanted me to read for the viewers. Then there’s the film about the murder of Dave Navarro’s mother. Again, I reached out and spoke with Dave and asked if he’s like to say anything to the audience about the film.
I’m a huge documentary fan. I’m an even bigger fan of music documentaries. There were some that I had viewed before but then there are films like the Navarro one that I had no knowledge of. There’s one about a classical piano player which I didn’t know existed. While I’m not a classical piano fan, I found the story very interesting. It’s a very cool project to be a part of.
AXS will be rolling this out for the next 12 months so what took me about two days to shoot in L.A. will be running alongside the documentaries over the course of the next 12 months.
Sleaze Roxx: I’m sure there were some films that were harder to write a script for than others. How did you get over the hump with some of those films?
Eddie Trunk: Absolutely! That was the case with some of them where there was a lot of content to get through or maybe the stories weren’t as close to my wheelhouse. One that comes to mind is ‘Music From The Big House’ which is about a woman that goes into a prison. She was a Canadian blues artist and she made music with the prisoners as part of their reforming process.
That movie presents this uplifting story of the process and how she bonds with these people. She plays in their company and shares what good people they are. The film ends and as the credits roll, it shows what crimes the prisoners committed. They murdered people! That was difficult. I had to reconcile everything when it came time to frame the message of the film. It was important for me to remind the audience that the people were in prison for the crimes that they had committed.
Sleaze Roxx: Tell us about the pilot that you shot recently and the progress with that?
Eddie Trunk: I got the call from a guy that I’ve known for a very long time when he heard about the cancellation of ‘That Metal Show.’ He’s a producer by the name of Don Magni who has stuff that’s been on MTV, VH-1 and public television. He said “I’m a big fan and I want to help you in any way possible.” Don basically lent me his staff and his facility and resources to shoot this pilot. We shot the pilot at Iridium which as you know is Les Paul’s club and it’s wired for sound and performance.
I’ve always wanted to do something similar to ‘The Actor’s Studio’ but for music, in fact, that was the original concept for ‘The Metal Show’ but it evolved into what you saw on TV. I went back to that idea with this pilot. I called in a favor just like eight years ago, I called in a favor to Lita Ford for the ‘That Metal Show’ pilot. I called my friend of 30 years — Ace Frehley — who was in town to promote his latest album. He loved the idea. I should have the final edit of the show any minute or by the end of the week. Then it will go to my agent who will shop it to various outlets. He’s very confident that someone will pick it up. The biggest challenge in making this show is that I need to trim it down to 48 minutes and Ace and I spoke for two hours and 20 minutes! That was agonizing to do! The whole conversation was a pot of gold in my opinion.
Sleaze Roxx: You’re also working on a new book but this time around, it’s your autobiography.
Eddie Trunk: [Long pause] Yeah. I started it a couple months ago. It started off pretty well but I got completely sidetracked with everything I just told you about. I pretty much put it on the back burner though I did manage to write two chapters. No one has read them but I will say that the publisher of my last two books is very interested in it. I have another publisher that is also interested in the book. I’d like to write at least two more chapters then work forward from there. Like you said, it isn’t going to be like my first two books. It will be my story. I promise there will a lot of great behind the scenes stuff. I would like to write it completely on my own and not use a co-writer. I was hoping to have it out by the end of 2016 but as it looks like now, it’s unlikely.
Sleaze Roxx: What do you make of musicians taking to social media and battling trolls? We’ve spoke about Paul Stanley in the past blasting people on Twitter. It seems that Sebastian Bach was pulled into the vortex over a negative concert review in Atlanta recently.
Eddie Trunk: I heard a little bit about that. Not that much to tell you the truth. Baz is a very emotional guy; I’m not surprised that he got caught up in that. These guys are human. So tune that all out and let it roll off their back and others react and shoot back! I do that myself at times. I go through my Twitter feed and 99.9% of them are good people who say constructive and positive things or at the very least in a nice way. Listen, it just takes one person to say something really absurd that rubs you the wrong way and you respond. That’s what they are looking for. We’ve all done it. We’ve all been there. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last time that Sebastian will go down that road.
There’s a side of me that really likes it when these guys fire back. I think you just have to be careful that you don’t do it so much. That is what those people are looking for — acknowledgement. I’ve never had trouble with that. I have really thick skin. You have to if you’re going to be in this industry at all. What gets me is when someone pops off about something that has no merit whatsoever. I’ll give you an example. Recently, someone posted that the reason ‘That Metal Show’ wasn’t on the air was because ‘Eddie wants too much money! Eddie’s demands are too high!’ I just laughed at that! Where does someone even come up with something like that?! It has nothing to do with me [laughs]! There’s a crew of 40 people that the show employs. It’s about the budget, the cost of producing the show — it’s not about me.
In the case of Sebastian for the most part, he really does sing fairly well. I don’t know maybe the guy had a bad night. Again, I don’t have a problem firing back. Just don’t do it all the time otherwise people will bait you.