20 QUESTIONS WITH…
If you’re a native of the New York City area, then you’ve probably known about Eddie Trunk for years. He’s been a DJ playing hard rock and metal on various NYC stations, including WNEW and Q104, but only recently has moved into the national spotlight with his program "Saturday Night Rocks" on XM Radio channel 41 – The Boneyard. He’s also a VJ on VH1 Classic, so if you’ve ever watched "Metal Mania," you’re sure to be familiar with him by now. He’s everywhere! And even if you don’t live in the USA and have never listened to XM Radio or watched VH1 Classic, then what better way to introduce Eddie Trunk to the rest of the planet than by doing 20 Questions with him?! Eddie’s been on our wish-list for years, and now he’s finally stepped up to the plate and answered all the silly-ass questions we came up with for him. So without further delay, let’s get going with this week’s 20 Questions with the one and only Eddie Trunk. Enjoy!
1. What are you currently up to? Please get your plugs and shit out of the way now.
I have two radio shows and a TV gig currently. One radio show is live in NYC on Q104.3 and syndicated to a handful of other stations. That show is also heard worldwide on www.KNAC.com every Thursday and Saturday. It is the only show in NYC that plays hard rock & heavy metal. It’s been on in the NYC market since 1998, but overall I’ve been doing it since 1983. About a year ago I started a show on XM Satellite Radio on Saturday nights. It’s heard live nationwide every Saturday from 8-Midnight EST on XM channel 41 Boneyard (also home of the Metal Sludge show). It’s is uncensored and commercial free and one of the few live music shows on Satellite radio. That has really taken hold with the audience in the last six months and has been a fun addition and a very valuable second outlet for what I do in radio. XM has about 3 1/2 million subscribers now and growing everyday. My TV gig is as a VJ with VH1 Classic. I always wanted to do TV and this gig was a dream come true when I landed it about three years ago. I host the channels metal and alternative show on the weekend, do regular host stuff, and have interviewed some great artists I would have never had access to on radio only. The really cool thing about this gig is the chance to interview and talk about artists outside of metal and hard rock. That will always be my passion but I have a great respect and appreciation for other styles of music as well. I went to London to spend a day with Robert Plant, LA to interview all of the Crue before the reunion, and in May I’m headed back to London for the Cream reunion. Just an amazing gig that I am blessed to have and great people to work with. Oh yeah, and unlike my radio gigs, I do NOT pick the videos or book the guests, so please no requests for the TV stuff! www.EddieTrunk.com is my site and all the credit for that goes to Jonathan Widro, who started it with me and maintains it. I update certain sections, but Jonathan is the one who got it going and it has become pretty huge. Not as huge as Sludge of course, but really what is!?!? I’m also working on some new ideas and finally have a good agent, so fingers crossed more cool stuff soon. Is that enough shameless self promo?
2. Name the 3 highest points and the 3 lowest points of your career to date.
1. The NY Steel benefit I did in NYC after 9/11. It is the single thing I am most proud of in my career. To reunite Twisted Sister for the first time in 13 years and assemble the lineup I did for that cause was amazing. It showed the power of metal and it’s audience. When nobody was coming to NYC, we sold out a 3600 seat venue in advance and the only promo was my late night metal show! A historic night for metal and hard rock and I’m proud to have been the one to make it happen and have the idea, but none of it would have been possible without the bands. It proved that the metal community could also do great things and help in a time of need, and so many police and firefighters are fans of that style of music, so it was special for them. I hate the stereotypes that go with metal, and this showed much of it is not valid.
2. Landing my current TV gig with VH1 Classic. I went through a long audition process and always wanted to do TV. It took my career to another level and added an important dimension to what I do. It’s been awesome and my contract has just been extended, so I couldn’t be happier. To see how far the channel has grown in the time I’ve been with them is really exciting. We just moved to a new studio and are now in over 36 million homes.
3. Breaking into the NYC market in 1994 at Q104. I had already been doing radio in NJ for ten years and never thought I’d get into market #1. When I did it was a whole new world on so many levels and the first time I decided to make radio a career. Up until then it was more of a hobby as I was also working for Megaforce Records. Thanks to the audience I have built in NYC I’m in my 11th year in the market. But I never get to high or low, because in radio, anything can happen anytime!
1. Losing my shows for a couple months in 2002 at WNEW due to a format change. Thanks to my amazing audience, I was back on in NYC in a few weeks, but it felt like forever!
2. Being let go from Megaforce Records in 1990. I was home recovering from wisdom tooth surgery when I got the call! Bands were not the only ones hammered when grunge took over, people that worked at labels, producers, etc, suddenly became relics. I was considered a music has been at 26 and couldn’t get a job in the business. Thankfully I always had radio experience in my back pocket.
3. Being fired from Q104 in 1998 for no reason but a change in program directors. I thought my time in NYC was only going to last four years, but WNEW picked me up and that’s where my metal show in NYC was born. Now I’m back at Q104 which goes to show, never burn a bridge!
Eddie Trunk with blues legend Buddy Guy on the set of VH1 Classic
3. To your credit, you are a fairly accessible guy when attending various rock events. However, does this make it nearly impossible for you to go about your business without getting harassed by fans who want you to listen to their demos, play their music on your show or pass along stuff to rock stars on their behalf?
I always said if I was ever fortunate enough to be in this position I would not take it lightly and NEVER put myself above fans of the music, because that’s what I am! I appreciate anybody that gives a shit about what I do and supports me and have always said I never want to be the guy that becomes some ego maniac. You can never get to high or low and I think it’s a joke when people cop an attitude because they are on the radio or TV. My friends who go to shows with me sometimes get pissed because I get stopped so often, but without those people I would have nothing. I feel very lucky and it’s the least I can do. The only thing that is tough is when people want to have an extended conversation in the middle of a bands performance at ear splitting volume!
4. Rate the following radio personalities on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being someone who has no business being on the air, and 10 being the ultimate radio host.
Howard Stern = 10, a genius. Proved you can be yourself on the radio. Even though I do a totally different kind of radio, my biggest influence by far!
Charlie Logan = 10, hey, he’s my boss at XM! Totally "gets it" and allows creativity. The main reason I wanted to go to XM after the first time I spoke with him.
Don Imus = 5, not a fan, but is obviously doing something right.
Tawn Mastrey = Remember her on KNAC, but have not heard her in years. An original as far as hard rock radio though.
Dee Snider = I know Dee well and do some TV stuff with him from time to time, but never heard him on the radio besides when I was interviewing him.
DJ Will = Never heard him.
Mancow = Never heard him.
Rick Dees = 5, Not my type of radio. More Top 40. More of an announcer, but you can’t argue with the success.
Casey Kasem = 5 (see Rick Dees). The outakes tape of him is one of the greatest things I ever heard. Obviously a legend, but again, I’m more about people with something to say and some creativity.
Ralph Sutton = Who???
David Coverdale and Eddie Trunk
5. As a DJ and radio host who is a friend to many rock celebrities, your radio show affords you the unique opportunity to present both sides of band feuds and other delicate situations (i.e., Ace and Peter vs. KISS, Sebastian Bach vs. Skid Row, etc.). That being the case, has any occurrence on your program ever lead to a band either making up or breaking up?
Well Twisted Sister for sure. I got those guys together for NY Steel. There was lot’s of baggage but I talked them into putting it behind them for the cause. They have since fully reunited. Tesla as well. One of my all time favorite bands from the 80’s. I had Jeff and Tommy in when they did Bar 7 (very under rated record) and really worked them on it. Can’t take all the credit for that, but I think I played a part. The members of Kiss have aired their various issues on my show, but it never had a huge impact as far as reunions, etc. I have spoken to countless bands privately behind the scenes and helped various members on various issues and given advice. Before Bon Jovi recorded Keep The Faith I had lunch with Jon and really got an inside look at the struggles they were going through at the time. We had some great talks and he asked me for my thoughts on some things. He ended up offering me a job with his label at the time, but he folded it before I could ever start. Lot’s more off air stuff than on. I’ll save it for my book someday!
6. How much latitude do you get with your air breaks on VH1 Classic? They?re all taped ahead of time, right? Are they scripted for you as well, or do you get to basically talk about whatever you want?
TV and Radio are so different. The regular host segments are written and scripted. In some cases I stay close to the script, in others I ad lib or ditch the script all together. As I have grown with the channel and they see what I bring, they have been very cool with letting me freelance and deviate. During artist interviews there is an outline of pre-written questions and certain things that need to be asked and promoted, but outside of that I can pretty much add stuff and change it up. This came over time and from trust with the producers. Part of the reason I’m there is what I know and my love of the music, so it makes sense for them to take advantage of that. We shoot a week in a day on average, there’s about a 2 week lead time before it airs. Oh, and we don’t use a teleprompter, which is the toughest part of the job by far as many things have to be memorized.
7. You?ve been on the air in the New York City area for decades, but have only recently been heard by the rest of the country via your show on XM Radio. Some people seem to think you sound a bit long-winded and that you don?t necessarily communicate well with people who are from elsewhere around the nation. Hey, we didn?t make that up! That?s just based on some comments that we heard. Do you agree that you don?t necessarily relate well to listeners from other parts of the United States, or is that all a load of bullshit? What do you have to say for yourself?
I’m a lifelong resident of NJ, so maybe the guy in Idaho won’t get some references to the NYC area but they catch on and I try and explain stuff. Having my FM show syndicated the last 3 years has actually helped with that, although NYC is the total dominant audience with that show so I play to the area much more. It’s funny because when I first started on XM I was prepared for a huge backlash. Satellite music channels for the most part are 7-10 songs, a quick recorded break, more songs. That’s NOT what I do! Talk IS part of the show, as is getting listeners involved and telling stories. That’s why it’s live! I am so used to this reaction and it happens every time I add a new outlet in radio. Then, after people get it, they FREAK when I’m not live and bullshitting or taking calls! It’s just different. XM is now at the point where people LOVE the interviews, talk and calls, but it wasn’t like that to start. I have four commercial free hours a week and I choose to do something different with the time then just be a jukebox. I realize not everybody will like it, but most do and find it refreshing. I’m just being me, and have found people love to talk about music as much as they like to hear it. Anybody can be a voice between records. I choose to do more of what I like to think of as a rock variety show. Many different elements and always changing. If I didn’t have something more to bring to the table than a voice, I doubt I would have survived this long. You can’t please everybody and trying to is a huge mistake. People are so programmed to hear radio voices not be honest and real that they freak when they hear somebody have an opinion. I have never been a fan of the phoney, cheesy aspects of radio and believe in just being me and speaking how I would to my buddies. Takes a while for people to adjust to that, but in the long run it really pays off and gets you a loyal audience and lot’s of respect from the artists.
Mets catcher Mike Piazza, Eddie Trunk, and the one and only Chris Jericho!
8. Of the following, which do you prefer and why:
Danger Danger or Trixter = Trixter, gotta go with fellow NJ guys, plus PJ said nice things about me in his Q&A. In all honesty I like both bands personally, but was never hugely into their music.
Bob and Tom or Opie and Anthony = O&A, co-workers and friends and have always supported me. Never heard Bob & Tom.
The Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family = Partridge Family, had the LPs as a little kid.
Ben & Jerry?s or Haagen Dazs = Haagen Dazs, B&J try and get to fancy with their blends.
Glenn Hughes or Joe Lynn Turner = JLT, known him since Rainbow days. Another fellow NJ dude and a great singer.
The New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway = GSP, because it leads to the Jersey shore and I love going there when I can.
Strip clubs or massage parlors = Massage Parlor, much more value for the money!
Jim Breuer or Jim Florentine = Florentine because he’s easier to get in touch with! Both frequent guests and fans of my show and both friends, but Breuer is insane and impossible to nail down.
Twinkies or Ring Dings = Twinkies, just like them better.
Prophet or Icon = God you guys do your homework! I signed both bands but would have to say Icon since there was more guitar. The Prophet CD did not rock as much as it was supposed to or showcase their great guitarist (Ken Dubman) enough. Both CDs tanked sales wise.
9. Out of all the guests you?ve ever had on any of your radio shows, which one stands out in your mind as the coolest you?ve ever had on the air, and which one was the biggest pain in the ass you?ve ever had to deal with?
Having done this 23 years now, many of the artists are close friends, so rarely are they ever dicks or I don’t already know them. Ronnie James Dio & Rob Halford are total class acts always. The only weird guest was Peter Steele of Type O. Just a strange night and impossible to get anything out of. Very tough to talk to at least that night. I love Zakk Wylde but he is high stress on FM radio because he won’t stop cursing and delay is at a premium! I had Brian Johnson in after AC/DC went into the R&R Hall Of Fame and he was such a great guy. Just showed up and hung out and had a blast. For so many of these bands my show is the only outlet for their music in the biggest market in the world and they appreciate the support I give them. I had one band in once called The Unband. Figured I’d take a shot on them because I liked the record. They were on a total rock star trip and I cut the interview short. Nobody knew who they were and they had an attitude! Blitz from Overkill is always great on the air. I’m on a song on their new CD called "Old School", which was a great honor. Blitz has a great sense of humour. 95% of the artists over the last two decades have been really cool.
Eddie Trunk and Judas Priest on the set of VH1 Classic
10. You are a longtime friend of original Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, dating back to the mid-’80s when you signed him to his solo contract with Megaforce Records. In 2002, Ace made one of his last known public appearances when he called in to your annual "Merry Kissmas" radio special, claiming that his long-promised solo album would finally see the light of day in the spring (of 2003). Any idea what’s going on with this guy and why it seems nearly impossible for him to get his shit together?
Ace is actually more together then he has ever been, has been for a few years. I’m proud he got his life together and is clean and sober. Just because he isn’t making music doesn’t mean he isn’t together. He is doing great. He is also aware of the statements he’s made in the past about new music on my show and doesn’t want to speak again until he has something done. I’m not sure if/when that will happen. Fans have to understand that these artists have a life outside of music and that’s what Ace is focused on with his family. If your trying to stay clean, the rock circuit is the last place you should be!
11. Rank the following chicks on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being a bucket of dead sewer rats, and 10 being the ultimate hottie:
Pamela Anderson = 8
Carnie Wilson = 2
Nina Blackwell = 6
Lynn Hoffman = 10 (I work with her!)
That Juliya chick from Fuse = 6
Shirley Jones = ? Partridge Family?? Then 4, now 2
Missi Collazzo = Have not seen Missi in a while, but I’m sure she’s just lovely!
Martha Quinn = 7
Martha Stewart = 2
Amy Scott = 10 (see Lynn Hoffman)
12. In the aftermath of 9/11, you sponsored a benefit concert called New York Steel, featuring appearances by Sebastian Bach, Anthrax, Overkill, Ace Frehley and the first public performance by Twisted Sister in 14 years. What sort of work goes into organizing such a massive project with so many different artists? How many fans showed up and how much money did you raise for the NYPD and FDNY charities? Do you have plans to sponsor any other multiple-band concerts in the future?
We had actually oversold the venue that night and had over 3500. It was a MASSIVE amount of work that I did the bulk of. I could write a book with stories from that event alone! We raised about $100,000 and more importantly, showed metal and hard rock gave a shit and could do good things. I hate the negative stereotypes about metal! People always ask me about doing more, but that one almost killed me! It also was a time when artists felt the cause was worth doing it for. It would be even harder to do again and let’s all hope there is never a similar cause. Getting TS back together was the key that got it all rolling, and getting Ace to agree to open for TS!
13. Name any 3 bands in the history of hard rock and metal music that had no business getting a record deal.
Led Zeppelin, The Who & Pink Floyd
(for those with no sense of humour, I’m JOKING!)
14. Yes or No, has Eddie Trunk ever:
Seen the Jersey Devil = No
Seen the inside of a gym = Yes, believe it or not. I still go, imagine if I didn’t!
Been fined by the FCC = No
Been photographed nude = No, thank God!
Eaten at both McDonald?s and Burger King in the same day = Probably, but White Castle kicks both their asses.
Considered appearing on ?Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? = No, I’m cool with who I am and not that pathetic!
Received a blowjob while on the air = I wish, but no.
Dropped ass in a crowded elevator = You mean farted? Sure at some point.
Worn eyeliner or lipstick = No
Been drunk or stoned on the job = Been a little buzzed, but never out of control. Believe it or not I’ve never been stoned! The one thing me and Gene Simmons have in common!
15. On August 30th, 2003 you caused quite a stir when you and your frequent co-host Mets catcher Mike Piazza played the song "I.R.S." on the air, allegedly a track from the still-unreleased Guns N’ Roses album "Chinese Democracy." What kind of shit did you get from the GNR management after you let the cat out of the bag? And what do you say to the rumor that none other than Piazza pal Axl Rose himself may have been the one to leak the song in the first place?
Mike is not pals with Axl, that’s not accurate. He is however I huge fan of G&R. Mike was sent the song to Shea by somebody in his fan mail and we played it to see if it was legit. It turned out to be when I got calls from management over a holiday weekend! I could not have been cooler in how I co-operated at the time. I even offered to strip it from my rebroadcast, which they were unaware of at the time. I could have duped it, played it 10 times, put it on my site. Hell, there were 2 more songs I could have played. I did everything management asked. I doubt anybody else would have co-operated like we did once we found out it was real. Then Axl took a shot at Mike in Rolling Stone which really pissed me off because we were so cooperative and it was all coming from a good place, being a fan and wanting to see if it was real! Hell we thought maybe it would light a fire for him to get the CD out. Obviously not!
16. Speaking of Mike Piazza, don’t you think you guys are a bit too ?chummy? for your own good? When it was learned that you were in attendance at Mike’s wedding a few months ago, some said it was because Mike was actually marrying YOU! Care to clarify this relationship for your fans?
You should have seen the pre-nup I had to sign!
Mike is one of my best friends, why the hell wouldn’t you be at a friends wedding? He is as real a fan of the music you will find and a total regular guy who likes to be one of the crew. There’s so much jealousy in radio and much of what people say is driven by that. Besides being a close friend, Mike’s willingness to contribute to the show on a regular basis has helped create so much more awareness for what I do and metal in general. I call him my co-host because that’s his role when he’s in the studio with me. It’s not about him or baseball at all, it’s about music and other topics. We met because of the music and my show, it’s just ironic that I am a lifelong Mets fan! We make a pretty good team and who knows what might come of it when he retires and has more free time. The guy is the real deal and a true friend. To have somebody of his stature supporting me and this music is a huge asset. We just did a VH1 show together on metal, he has thrown shirts from the stage with me at Slayer shows and lent his name to the NY Steel benefit. I welcome any other sports stars or celebrities of any kind to step up and show their love of this music like Mike has.
17. Name one good thing about:
Girls = A great looking one can make you stop whatever your doing or thinking!
Newark = The Airport
Cocaine = Never did it but I would think nothing.
White Castle = Something so bad can be so good!
Megaforce Records = Was very innovative in it’s day.
Cheese steaks = Fake Cheese
Satellite radio = No commercials, uncensored, true national audience (that’s 3)
The Mafia = Loyalty
Warrant = Some underated songs
Cows = Steak
18. For a tax-free $1,000,000 in cold, hard cash, which of the following would you do (and you have to pick one):
a) Rub a cheese grater on the underside of your nutsack until bits of flesh come off in chunks, so deep, in fact, that you can actually see your exposed testicles through the holes in your skin;
b) Give a blowjob to a random homeless person in an alleyway;
c) On your next live radio show, announce your conversion to Islam and do nothing but read from the Koran the entire time you?re on the air; then on the following show, act as if nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Which will it be, Mr. Trunk?
C, least painful and people would listen just to say "What the Fuck"?
19. The Last of Eddie Trunk:
Last diner you ate at = Nautilus, Madison NJ, my home town
Last new song you really dug = Just heard the new Audioslave. Chris Cornell can sing anything. That would be the most recent.
Last CD you bought in a store = UFO Live BBC Sessions, on import. One of my all time favorite bands.
Last concert you paid to get into = I honestly can’t remember, but concert ticket prices are out of control, and there are very few shows I would pay for if I had to!
Last rock star or celebrity you had dinner with = Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater. I owed him a dinner for playing drums with Overkill at my annual Halloween party last year. He was a last minute fill in. We both have the same favorite Italian restaurant in NYC, Vincents in Little Italy.
Last KISS collectible you purchased = I love Kiss for the music, was never into the collectibles. Over 20 years at least since I purchased any of that stuff.
Last time you got laryngitis = Never, thankfully. Lot’s of sore throats but never fully lose my voice.
Last time someone called you a ?male groupie? = Never I’m proud to say, at least not to my face. I’ve been doing this way to long to act like that!
Last time you pumped your own gas = Last week in Florida when I was there. I actually like pumping my own gas, but it’s actually illegal in NJ.
Last time you barfed = About 3 years ago after a club show with Vince Neil in NYC. I don’t drink that often but everybody in the club wanted to have a drink with me, and I said OK every time that night. Huge mistake!
Eddie Trunk and our 2003 Sludgeaholic of the Year, Mr. C.C. Banana!
(Read more about the night these two met!)
20. Time for Metal Sludge?s Word Association! We mention a name, and you give us your thoughts.
Mike Tramp = An old friend. I go back with all the guys from White Lion before they were signed. They gave me my first gold record. Mike is more humble now than he was in the days of White Lion, but give him credit for still making a go of it with music. It’s obviously a struggle for artists from that era in 2005.
Gene Simmons = The ultimate business man. I like Gene because he doesn’t give a shit what people think, but I don’t like what Kiss has become personally. Just my opinion. Paul was always my favorite member from day one. I always loved his songs the most and his 1978 solo record is one of the greatest unknown hard rock albums ever made.
Scott Ian = The face of Anthrax. I look forward to the reunion.
Nikki Sixx = Only got to know Nikki recently. Nice guy and good songwriter.
Eric Carmen = The leader of my first ever favorite rock band as a little kid and the creator of some of the best power pop ever made. Sadly people only think of the Adult Contemporary stuff he did, but Raspberries had some kick ass stuff that influenced many hard rockers. Just had the chance to see them for the first time in my life and meet Eric in Chicago. Very huge moment for me as I never thought I would be able to do either!
C.C. Banana = A massive talent on the scene that has the comedy world buzzing. Leno should come calling any day. It’s always an honor to see him at my events.
Ace Frehley = Recorded some of the best guitar solos ever. His solos were songs within the song! The first artist I had a hand in signing when I worked at Megaforce and a friend for almost 20 years. Many great times and stories with Ace and I’m so glad he is healthier now then I have ever known him to be. A loyal guy who has always been there for me and even attended my wedding.
Tripp Eisen = Don’t know him. Played the first Dope CD when it came out though.
Zakk Wylde = Loyalty. I love people who are real and Zakk is one of a kind. If your one of his bros, he will run through a wall for you. Another guy who tells it like it is and doesn’t give a fuck, and I love that about him. Not to mention one of the best players today. Just had him on my shows in the studio over the weekend, which is always a blast. He worked his ass off to make BLS what it is, and fans know he’s the real deal. A total lunatic!
Sebastian Bach = I go back with Skid Row to before Bas was in the band. He came in and it just created a huge buzz on the NJ club scene which of course snowballed to a worldwide level in the early 90’s. Bas can be crazy and a handful at times, but nobody can argue his singing and frontman ability took the Skids to a whole new level. It also doesn’t suck to look like he does! Also a huge music lover that where’s it on his sleeve, which is great.
Not too bad! Not too bad at all!
Admittedly, we asked Eddie some fucked-up shit just to see if he was able to hang, but he proved he had the balls to deal with everything we threw at him and took all the questions seriously. Eddie gave us intelligent, detailed, and well-crafted answers, which is all we really ask of anyone who does one of these goofy 20 Questions interviews. No, he’s not a ‘rock star,’ but his efforts are certainly important and vital to the world of hard rock and metal. What can you say bad about that? Not a damn thing.
For more information about Eddie Trunk and all the various pies he has his fingers in, visit his Web site at www.EddieTrunk.com.
And don’t forget to check out "Saturday Night Rocks with Eddie Trunk," heard every Saturday night at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT on XM Satellite Radio channel 41, The Boneyard, which just happens to also be the home of the Metal Sludge Radio show, heard every Sunday night at 9 PM Easter/6 PM West. (Notice how we managed to get our own plug in there? We’re sneaky like that.)