Eddie Trunk: That Essential Metal Guy

EddieTrunk“Uh … uh … uh … Jimmy Page would be pretty cool. I never interviewed him.” Eddie Trunk said as he has been searching his mental databases for an answer to the question, “Is there anyone still on your dream list left to interview?”

Trunk is one of those rare individuals who has been able to do what he loves as a career and for the last 30 years he’s parlayed that passion into recognition as an influential in the music industry, especially in the hard rock and heavy metal circles.

“All I’ve ever known and loved and done was always music-related … even going back to high school days,” said Trunk. “My interests were always about music. I never played any instruments. I was never in a band. But I wanted to find ways to share music that I loved, that I wasn’t hearing in other places, with other people. So, that’s what all of it was and is driven by.”

From his earliest days as a high school student, Trunk was obsessed. He worked in a record store and wrote a music column for his school newspaper. At the same time he also got work as a disc jockey at a college radio station, having utilized an associate with a pirate radio station to make a demo.  His radio career took off in the early 80s and, a bit later, at the tender age of 22, he hired in as a vice president at a burgeoning label called Megaforce Records; where his first signing was Ace Frehley, a few years out of KISS and ready to embark on his next project. Trunk also continued in radio. Presently, he’s a respected DJ who’s syndicated across the United States on terrestrial radio and also has programming on Sirius/XM Satellite radio. He is also the host of “That Metal Show” on VH1 Classic, which just wrapped up its eighth season.

“I always wanted to be around the music and learn as much as I could,” Trunk says as he explains his work ethic. “You never know where the opportunities are going to come from.  I worked in a record store on and off for years – many, many years – even when I was doing radio – I still had the record store gig. It was stable and it kept me around music and I loved it.”

Trunk also has a firm understanding of how he’s found himself in this enviable position … and it wasn’t by accident.

“I think, for me, being around it, being persistent without being annoying … which is a very tough thing to do … I mean … I’ve fought for all this stuff – very hard – and I’ve put a lot of work in. There is a little luck along the way but I’ve put a tremendous amount of work into building a trust and a name with this genre of music and this audience,” Trunk said.

All that hard work building trust has paid off once again – Eddie Truck is now an author.

In April, Abrams Image released “Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal;” a compendium of 35 bands that, in Trunk’s opinion, everyone should know. Yet, what sets this book apart from other collections is that Trunk has included personal stories related to his own interactions with the core set of bands and peppered it with personal photographs, member listings and essential playlists. In the back, because he just couldn’t end it after 35 chapters, are 27 honorable mentions; paragraphs on bands that could have had a full chapter dedicated to them and could, at some point, be included in a follow up publication. It’s quite a collection that is a perfect introduction for young music lovers just discovering hard rock or heavy metal, the curious fan interested in expanding his/her horizons or those in the know wanting to learn a bit more. The undertaking took the better part of year for Trunk to finalize.

“I always had an interest and desire to write a book,” Trunk said. “It’s really the thing I started out doing in the industry … but very, very early on. As a kid I started writing a music column in my high school newspaper and, from there, had some real small writing gigs. I always enjoyed that process and decided it was better to do a different type of book that would be a hybrid of a number of things that would have some personal stories and things like that, but also include more of an overview or listing of some of my favorite bands and anecdotes. It’s certainly not a pure autobiography by any stretch, but a book that has a ton of personal stories in it and, also, as you said, could serve as an introduction to these bands to a lot of people, which is really kind of cool.”

Trunk is pragmatic when it comes to his book and seemingly recognizes that obsolescence comes knocking pretty much as soon as a creation is released into the world.

“I realize now is probably not the best time to do that [put the book out] considering that I’m still very much writing those stories every day,” Trunk said laughing. “I’m probably more active in the music industry than I’ve ever been in my life.”

A second volume is currently in the discussion phase. According to Trunk, he wants to give the current book a little breathing room.

“There’s definitely enough material and enough ideas to do a second one,” Trunk said.  “It’s just a question of if and when. I would say that ‘If’ is pretty much for sure at some point. ‘When,’ I just don’t know because it was a lot of work and I want to make sure my head’s in the right place before I do it again and I have the time to commit.”

Trunk remains plugged in to the music scene that he loves and he burst with excitement as he talks about the current state of hard rock and heavy metal.

“I’m excited that so many bands that have been around for a really long time, you know, classic bands, are making really good new music right now,” Trunk enthused. “I think that a lot of them are making some of the best new music they’ve made in their careers. The new Whitesnake album is so good. The new Anthrax album might be the best album they’ve ever made, in my opinion. Even a band like Mr. Big, who reunited, made a great album. Black Country Communion, which is a new band but not new guys, has made two great albums in a year. I’m still a big fan of new music when it’s stuff from bands I like. I think that’s the exciting thing. The downside is I don’t see it getting the love it probably should and I hope that changes.”

Still pondering the interview dream list question, it’s apparent that Trunk, after all these years, is still a died-in-the-wool music fan. “I did a very brief interview once with Eddie Van Halen for radio,” Trunk said. “But, I’d love to do something more substantial with him.  I’ve been lucky, I’ve checked a lot off the list over the years. There are really not a lot of guys out there that I haven’t had the opportunity to talk with. My mind immediately goes to the mega bands and I’ve pretty much checked them all off the list with the exception of a guy like Jimmy Page. I’ve interviewed Plant a couple times for TV, but I’ve never sat with Jimmy and talked with him. So, that would be kind of cool.”