By Andrew Bansal
TV, radio and internet personality Eddie Trunk has been anchoring heavy metal talk shows and interviewing bands for over 30 years, best known for ‘That Metal Show’ which ran on VH1 Classic for as many as 14 seasons. The show was put on hold by the network earlier this year, but Trunk and his co-hosts Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine have brought a live stand-up version of ‘That Metal Show’ across stages in America. But besides that and his radio shows/podcasts, Eddie Trunk also hosts several hard rock/heavy metal concerts, festivals and cruises. He will be hosting the Sirius XM Hair Nation Festival at Irvine Meadows on September 17th 2016, and last Wednesday August 17th, he not only hosted and judged the ‘Battle For Hair Nation’ BOTB event at the Whisky-A-Go-Go, but before the show he was also at the Rainbow Bar & Grill to discuss his participation in the festival, among other things. Metal Assault caught up with Trunk for a brief chat about the state of the ‘hair metal’ genre, his picks for the best old rockers still standing, and more. Enjoy the conversation below.
Eddie, it’s good to see you here. You’re hosting this Hair Nation Festival next month. I personally would have never imagined that there would be a ‘Hair Nation’ fest in the year 2016. What are your thoughts on that, first of all?
Well, I think it’s great! It’s a great celebration of these artists from the ’80s. I’m not going to be a liar here, and everybody knows that I’m personally not a fan of branding this era as ‘hair’, but listen, I don’t name these things, I just host them, you know (laughs). And I’m honored to do so. I think it’s really good to see some of these artists getting these opportunities to play on these bigger stages, get back out there and play for some of their fans again, and get some new fans. People who’ve been fans of these bands are now bringing their kids to the show, and it’s a celebration of a great era of music!
Right! There are so many bands on this festival, and for some people, when they see the poster, it’s like, “Are they still around?” Have you been able to keep up with what these bands have been doing over all these years, or are you just kind of catching up now?
Oh no, I’ve completely kept up with every single one of them, because that’s what I do, and I see them all constantly. I’m lucky enough to host a lot of events like this all over the country, so I get to see these guys almost every weekend somewhere. So they’ve all become good friends over the decades, and I know everything going on with them, from who’s in the band to who’s not in the band, to how many versions of the band are there (laughs). They’re all friends and I’m totally in tune with what they’re doing now.
You’re definitely the perfect guy to host this festival, then.
I hope so!
As you said, some bands have different versions existing together. It’s kind of weird to some people, but what do you think of bands having more than one version, where one person owns the copyright but the other members also want to play the same music?
Well, you know, there’s a lot of disfunction and falling out. People have arguments and disagreements over money, control and royalties, and not everybody is the same person when they first got together 25 or 30 years ago. A lot of people see things differently and believe that things should be run in different ways. It happens, but it eventually all gets sorted out. One thing I always say to people all the time is, people vote with their wallets. So, there’s a lot of people that will complain about a lineup of a band or what they are or aren’t doing at any given time, but then they still buy a ticket and go to the show. I never understood that. You have the internet, you can easily in one click find out who’s in the band, what they’re doing and what their set list is like, and if you don’t like it, don’t go. If you don’t like what a band is doing and you want it to change, the best way to make that change is, if nobody goes, they’re going to change! If nobody is going, they can’t make any money! So, it is a business at the end of the day, and I think that’s an important thing to keep in mind. I think sometimes there’s two really good versions of the same band (laughs), but ultimately fans decide.
So, not just among bands that are playing this festival, but in general, who do you think are some of the best older bands that are still putting on good live shows and making good music?
A lot of them! As far as making new music, the Europe album ‘War Of Kings’ that came out a year ago was phenomenal, may be the best record they ever made. Unfortunately no one here realized it because they were too busy hearing ‘The Final Countdown’ on the Geico commercials, but that was a great record. There’s a lot of bands making new music that’s really good in this era, but unfortunately very few people play it or care about it or know about it. A lot of them are really good. One of the bands on this bill that I see all the time that’s always great is Slaughter. You know, Slaughter and Vince Neil are the same bands but with different singers, and that band is phenomenal. Brett Michaels always puts on a great party. You’ve got Yngwie Malmsteen on this bill who’s just a maniac in a good way. Kix are always a great show. So, we have a lot of great bands on this bill right here. As people will see, even if it’s not the original lineup and it’s not everybody in the band, most of the bands still have it together and are putting on good shows. Queensrÿche are really good. I’ve seen them a lot lately. Tesla is amazing. I love them. So, there’s a lot of them.
And obviously, ‘That Metal Show’ is not happening right now. You’re not filming new episodes because you don’t have a channel to host it on. But you guys have been touring around the US with the stand-up show and taking it to stages like the Whisky here. How’s that been going, and what’s that show like?
When we go out and do live shows, it’s basically a stand-up comedy show. Don and Jim are stand-up comics, so they do more of that and I just host. We have some fun, and all three of us together kind of makes it feel like ‘That Metal Show’ to some people, which is great, and we play off of that, of course. It’s no substitute for doing the show, and it’s nothing to do with the TV show beyond the fact that it’s the three of us telling some stories and having fun. We just did a bunch of those, and we don’t have any currently booked but we hope to do more in the near future. It’s very hard because we all have very different schedules and we’re all over the place. More importantly, hopefully we’ll find a network that wants to do new episodes of ‘That Metal Show’. VH1 Classic changed to MTV Classic, but we knew a year ago that it was happening, and wasn’t a surprise to us. It’s the real reason why the show was discontinued, and now we’re hoping that may be we’ll find a new home that wants to air the show. In the meantime I’ve got three or four new projects, one on radio that’s going to be announced in the next week or two and it’s going to be a major thing. I’m also working on 2 or 3 new TV things. So, I’ll do ‘That Metal Show’ the minute someone calls and says it’s time to do it again, but in the meantime it’s out of my control, so I just have to go and do what I’m doing.
Right, I was about to ask you what else have you been doing. So you’re just busy with radio, podcasts and that kind of stuff?
Yeah, I have a big thing about to be announced on the radio side, and on TV I’ve got a pilot that I shot of a new interview show called ‘Inside Out’. I hope to have a home for that and get it placed very soon, andI’m currently hosting a series on AXS TV called ‘Reel To Reel’. It’s a documentary film series that’s airing right now every Tuesday night. There’s some discussions going on about some other possible shows as well. So, fingers crossed I have some more new stuff to do!
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