7/26: REPORT FROM DEF LEPPARD, STYX & TESLA IN NJ

Saw Def Leppard, Styx and Tesla last night in NJ at PNC. All 3 bands were really good and turned in great sets for a sold out crowd. Yep, sold out! After my post about the touring business recently and some of the tours we hear are struggling, it was great to see a packed house. No doubt it was helped by the fact that is was a Saturday night and a nice night in NJ, but it was really great to see. It’s also a well put together bill, with all the bands playing the big hits and doing it well. Tesla really hasn’t done a big tour as an opener for a really long time. Pretty much ever since they got back together. So this is a great chance for them to get in front of people that maybe forgot about them or don’t see them much. Understand I am not talking about their major fans. You already know what Tesla has been up to. But for the mainstream masses which this tour will draw there are no doubt many are seeing them for the first time in a long time. They open around 6:50P with a 40 minute set of the hits. Styx is up next and does an hour loaded with their many hits. The band sounded great and seemed to have a harder edge than usual. The guitars and vocals sounded great and the crowd was way into it. Easy to forget sometimes how many huge songs Styx has. Tommy Shaw also made mention on stage of the fact that all the vocals everyone was hearing were real and in the original key. Pretty incredible and good to see bands that band that are doing the work to truly play live taking credit for it when so many run tracks now.

Def Leppard are the headliner and are playing to the most amount of people on this tour than many of their recent tour packages. They’ve been able to reduce ticket prices some and put a great 3 band package together that has become one of this Summers winning tours (as per a recent article in Billboard). Leppard’s set is also loaded with hits, which is the right thing to do in a setting like this despite what us deep tracks fans would prefer. Highlights for me was the opener “Rock Rock Till You Drop”, “Switch 625”, “Let It Go” and “Foolin”. And speaking of vocals Joe Elliott sounded incredible! I spoke with Joe before the show and he was concerned with this show being the 3rd in a row but I was stunned how good he was singing. Better than I have heard him in recent years. And if anyone has a reason to put vocals on tracks it’s Leppard with the way their albums were made. But they don’t. What Phil, Sav and Viv do on the harmonies is remarkable. The tour goes through October with some changes to the openers, but see it if you can. Really well done by all 3 bands!

A few other things. I spent lots of time with Vivian. He is still getting treatments for his cancer but very optimistic for a full recovery. He seems to be really enjoying every moment on this tour. We sat on the bus and he played me the entire Last In Line album which sounded great! Like Black Star Riders channels Lizzy, LIL has a flavor of Dio, but is very much a new original band. The songs and vocalist Andy Freeman sounded incredible. This really has the makings of a great new metal album and it is great to hear Viv rip like he used to on it. The album likely won’t come out until January and the band will play on the upcoming Leppard cruise in Jan! See you on board and enter to win a cabin on this site. Joe told me the new Leppard album will be out in the Fall and said it is a real rock record and he’s real excited for it. The band produced it and he says it has many sides. I didn’t hear any yet. Finally Phil has a new band called Delta Deep. He gave me a copy I look forward to checking out. Said its raw and bluesy with a ton of guitar!

I hope to catch this tour again before it wraps up. Really was a great night. Photos on my Twitter @EddieTrunk and Instagram at @eddietrunkofficial

7/23: ALEX LIFESON PODCAST, DEEP PURPLE, MORE.

Caught Deep Purple last night in NJ at Bergen PAC. Solid set. They jammed a little much for my tastes, but when you have the caliber of players that are in this band it is still amazing to hear. There were just a few major songs “Woman From Tokyo”, “Knockin At Your Back Door”, and a couple others that would have been cool to hear in place of some of the longer jam segments. But then again Purple has always been about jamming to some degree as well as brilliant playing and songs. Steve Morse in his nearly 20 years in the band has really fit perfectly into the bands fabric. I wasn’t so sure if it worked when he first joined but now it clearly does. Blackmore ain’t coming back any time soon to Deep Purple (likely never!) and I honestly can’t think of a better guy now to handle guitar in this band. Ian Gillen’s voice sounded very strong for a guy who I think is 70? He isn’t singing “Child In Time” anymore but there were times I thought he almost could with a few of the screams he did let out. Whenever you get a chance to see the icons it’s a treat, especially when they can still deliver, and Purple can. A shame this band doesn’t get the same reverence in the U.S. than in other parts of the world, and to me they are the #1 snub by FAR currently by the R&R HOF!

My new podcast is up now and features an all new interview with Alex Lifeson of Rush! It is free and available worldwide via www.podcastone.com or on Itunes. Just search The Eddie Trunk Podcast. Alex discusses the bands future and more!

Happy 50th birthday to my old friend (and author of the forward to my 2nd book) Slash! Welcome to the club pal!

Be sure to visit ET’s Box Office on this site under Live & On The Air to enter to win free tickets to many shows including Mayhem at Jones Beach next week.

Thanks for all the comments regarding my last blog on the touring business. Good to see the feedback and thoughts.

7/21: THE TOURING BUSINESS IN 2015 & THE FUTURE?

Really interesting reading some of Kerry King’s comments about the current Mayhem tour (now in the news section) which features Slayer and King Diamond as headliners. The owner of the festival had made some comments about how difficult it is to keep viable metal acts that draw on a bill while also keeping costs down. He also made some comments about metal and the fans saying some of the artists have gotten “fat and bald and scared off girls” (not like girls were ever the driving force in this genre of metal!). Kerry is one of the most unfiltered people I have ever known in this business. He simply speaks his mind and always did. The tour is clearly struggling to draw and Kerry’s latest comments were basically saying it was not booked correctly. Was really interesting to see the leader of the headlining band on a Summer package tour being this honest. This all speaks to a bigger disturbing trend I can’t quite figure out. MANY bands at all levels being booked in venues they shouldn’t be in. I don’t know if it’s a by product of too many venues, too many bands on the road, or just too many bands over touring (a huge issue I think and a by product of no money from record sales), but every day I am scratching my head about concert bills I am hearing about at all levels in venues they should not be in. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Slayer (now half original) and King wouldn’t be a big amphitheater draw. It’s not a knock on any act, it’s just common sense. But promoters are in a tough spot. They need these festivals and branded tours to go out, but they also can’t got to the next level of talent booking because it would destroy the tickets being affordable. I get that. What I don’t get is club acts in theaters, theater acts in arenas, etc. I would much rather see a band in a setting with a vibe and packed house full of energy than an arena curtained in half or half empty. Or a show that is “papered”, the industry term for giving away a ton of tickets just to make money on beer sales and get bodies in the room. You have no idea how many shows I am asked to help “paper” all the time because they are stiffing. It’s not the artists fault for the most part. It really falls on the agents and promoters to know what they are buying and know if people will care. There is no amount of marketing anyone can do if people don’t want to see a band or have seen them too often. And although a largely papered show may give the appearance of people in the building, it is also easy to feel in the room since most are indifferent because they got in for free. It’s a catch 22 in some ways. Bands need to tour because tickets and merch are pretty much their primary income, but too many tour too much and as a result their draw has been shot. You’re seeing it at the festival level as well. There are a ton of them now, many with very similar bills. Something the organizers of Download in the UK (a huge yearly event) recently discussed as an emerging issue in the business. The idea of a festival was to be a special destination gig. Now they are everywhere. A rock themed cruise used to be unique, now there are many of all genres. It’s just massive over saturation and will impact the little guys more, because the big super acts will for the most part always be able to sell.

Which leads to the next question; what happens when the super acts are done? AC/DC, likely the last tour I would think. As it is there was no real tour, more special scattered stadium dates. Brian is 68? Aerosmith? Tyler as great as he is is 68 and now looking toward country. Sabbath, likely done as far as touring but maybe another run? Van Halen? Anything can happen and it was surprising to read in a recent Billboard article the current tour has been a bit soft in some places selling tickets (apparently ticket prices an issue here as well). Rush? Pretty much done touring. Kiss? Believe what you want but they haven’t been a headline arena  act in the US since 2000. Which is why they have co-headlined sheds (and a huge difference between sheds and arenas by the way) for the most part here. Regardless they are likely near the end for what’s left of the original band. Motley? Done in a few months. And they got a huge pop playing the Farewell card and wisely had a name legend opening all the dates. Priest? Said they were done, pulled a reverse, and are hanging in a bit more. But they have not been a full arena headline in a long time here. Maiden? Maybe the biggest global metal act along with Metallica. New album coming and dates in 2016, but these guys are not getting younger and Bruce already had a major health scare and we don’t know yet how he will recover from it. Bon Jovi? Like them or not a massive global stadium act even with just 3 original members. How much more does Jon want to work in his early 50s and with other interests? Where are the next true headliners?

Metallica is erratic as far as how much they play and making new music. But that actually may work to their favor since they far from over tour. You have to hope bands like A7X, FFDP, etc, continue to grow. Foo Fighters are clearly the biggest rock act out there right now and cross over to many genres appealing to rock and metal fans. But outside of Foos, and what Metallica has left in the tank, we really need to hope some of these emerging guys warming up in the bullpen can graduate to the big big leagues. Which leads to an even bigger question. Is that even possible now the way the music is and the way it’s consumed? For a while it was trying to sell downloads. Now that seems to be abandon in favor of just hoping people LISTEN to the music. That’s what streaming is. Don’t even own it, give us nothing, just listen to it! So music has become so devalued today that I wonder if that translates and stagnates an artists potential to even become huge again? This is all just out loud thinking and I welcome your comments and thoughts here. But one thing that does bother me (besides the lack of regard for physical ownership of music) is seeing artists booked in venues they have no business being in, and people saying; “look, I told you rock was dead”. Nobody’s rooting for this stuff more than me. But we have to hope there is a new generation to carry the flag and people embrace new artists they are hearing that they like so the next generation of rock and metal fans has something to celebrate. We are at the tail end of what’s left of the golden era of rock and metal from the 70’s and the 80’s. As for 90’s guys? Foos rule that pack and Pearl Jam are certainly alive and more than well. Soundgarden still viable, but not that consistent as far as playing. AIC? Same deal. Pumpkins and Manson? Currently co headlining sheds. Foos and Pearl Jam the biggest from that era. So where are we at 10 years from now? I wonder and curious what you guys think? Let’s hope there is a kid in his garage somewhere right now with a guitar that has the answer..

7/17: ALEX LIFESON INTERVIEW DEBUTS TONIGHT & ALL WEEKEND ON “EDDIE TRUNK ROCKS”

My exclusive interview with Alex Lifeson of Rush makes its debut tonight on Q104.3 NYC and WAAF Boston. As usual both stations air my show 11P-2A ET and both stations stream free. For Q104.3 use the free iheartradio app or for either station just log onto their sites; www.q1043.com or www.waaf.com . Full list of all stations airing this weekend with days and times here: http://eddietrunk.com/live-and-on-the-air/eddie-trunk-rocks/ . Alex and I discuss the future of Rush as well as the current tour and more. Don’t miss this exclusive debuting this weekend in my FM show Eddie Trunk Rocks. It was recorded in Denver last weekend on the R40 tour.

7/15: A REVIEW OF RUSH IN DENVER, ALEX LIFESON EXCLUSIVE THIS WEEKEND

Finally getting a chance to sit down and write some thoughts about seeing Rush on the R40 tour this past weekend in Denver. I missed the band due to my travel and didn’t want to let this tour pass without catching them. I heard nothing but great things about the set and the production and all the cool old stuff they were playing. If this is the last Rush tour as a lifelong fan I had to see it! So I flew to Denver for the sole purpose of seeing a band I grew up with on what appears to be a well deserved victory lap tour celebrating 40 years of amazing music. It’s important to note that like most fans of any band I certainly would not say I love every era of Rush. But I have massive respect for all of it and how they did things on their own terms and essentially built one of the biggest cult bands in music history. A cult that somehow FINALLY got the mainstream recognition in recent years with the Rolling Stone cover, HOF, etc. But if you are a true Rush fan these things are nice, but really we knew what everyone else is just discovering all along; Rush rules! And the reasons why they rule are many. Who else keeps the same band together 41 years? Who else makes music that fans embrace fully, played brilliantly, and never compromised for radio. What other trio can generate that much music, all real and extremely honest? Few bands have the connection to their fans like Rush. Why? Because they are three amazing musicians who are also real relatable people. Never putting themselves above the fans and never resorting to the trends of the business that make fans feel like they are being fleeced. Rush isn’t playing the Farewell Tour card. Why? Because its just not a Rush thing to do, and they don’t know what they are going to do next. And they are pretty much one of the most honest and transparent bands out there at their level. They also have an amazing sense of humor, which if you follow closely (just watch any of the recent concert videos!) resonates throughout. It is beyond special what these guys have been able to achieve. How many headliners do you go see where there are 2 openers and the main band does 65 minutes? Rush has no opener, still packs an arena, and plays 3 hours! If this is the final tour I have never seen a band go out as strong.

Rush are performing a set which I’m sure you have heard by now goes backward in time. Now that sounds cool but it has to be seen to be believed. When I say goes backwards I mean EVERYTHING goes backwards! The set changes after each era while the band is playing to reflect what the stage looked like at that time. Right down to the instruments, amps, amp heads, lighting. It is an amazing work of production art. By the time it ends with encores from the first albums the set resembles a high school gym with the amps on chairs. The sound and lighting are perfect. The playing as perfect as you would imagine from Rush. No need to state the brilliance of Neil, that’s well documented and obvious. Alex on the other hand may be one of musics most underrated players. He is a master that often gets overlooked I feel in the discussion of all time greats. But the real revelation for me was Geddy. He will be the first to tell you in recent years singing some of the high pitched stuff has been a struggle. But what I saw Saturday in Denver was stunning. In a show that turns back the clock, Geddy appeared to turn his own clock back 30 years! And I’m not talking about some freaky plastic surgery! He is in amazing shape and bouncing around the stage like a man half his age during a 3 hour set. But what really stunned me was his voice. I have not heard him sing this well live in decades. Even the ultra high “Lakeside Park” sung perfect in it’s original key. And that song is 41 years old! The more recent “Headlong Flight” featured vocal acrobatics I couldn’t believe I was hearing. It was that good and put the entire thing way over the top. The songs touched on every era. For me highlights were “Headlong Flight”, “Far Cry”, “Animate”, “Distant Early Warning”, “Xanadu”, “Natural Science”, “Jacobs Ladder”, “Cygnus”, and a cool arrangement of “2112”, and pretty much everything else earlier. The video segments were hysterical as always and very clever. My favorite was the very end where the band is shown trying to get into it’s dressing room after the show but it’s occupied by the characters from the covers of their albums, including the puppet from the Farewell To Kings album who opens the door. If you catch a show do NOT leave early and watch this. It is great classic Rush!

I had the very special opportunity to watch the band soundcheck and also hung with Geddy and Alex (Neil does his usual run out right when the show ends) after the show. Geddy told me changes to his diet has really helped his voice as well as 36 hours of rest (as in not talking at all) before show days. It shows big time! I also interviewed Alex for about 20 minutes before the show. I think you guys will enjoy this and Alex does address the potential future of the band. This will premiere in my syndicated FM show this weekend (starting on Q104.3 NYC and WAAF Boston 11PM ET this Friday, both stations stream) and on all affiliates over the weekend. The complete audio will then be in my podcast posting 7/23, free to all as usual on Itunes or at www.podcastone.com . I’ve been lucky to have done lots of stuff with Rush over the last 20 years. I’ve interviewed all of them many times even before That Metal Show for VH1 Classic, including an hour once with Neil. Geddy has been on TMS twice, Alex once. Countless radio stuff too. Always the nicest most regular people you could meet. I can’t tell you how many bands we all love that don’t actually like each other. We all hear of the politics, ego, in fighting, money and credit battles, battles over name ownership, merch. It is everywhere and has become the norm. None of this you ever hear about Rush ever. Another reason why Rush rules. I want to stress that what I am writing would be the same exact review I would write if I paid for a ticket and sat in the rafters. Anyone who follows my history knows I don’t ever pull punches. Hell I heard all about it from the Rush faithful when I said I didn’t like the 80’s synth period (which Alex agreed with by the way haha, watch the doc!). I don’t know if this is the last tour, Rush doesn’t really know yet. But as you will hear in the Alex interview there are still more projects and maybe shows to come. But do yourself a favor, see this show at all costs if you were ever a fan. I flew almost halfway across the country to catch it and I am so happy I did! Hell I’m almost considering a quick trip to Vegas for one more it was so good. And if it is the end I have never seen a band go out in better form, with a cooler show, and with the amazing level of class and dignity that has been a hallmark of their entire career. Thank you Geddy, Alex and Neil and congratulations on 40 amazing years and counting. Simply stated Rush rules!

PS: Special thanks to Meg, Andy, Donovan and all at SRO as well for the hospitality.

ET

7/13: BACK FROM DENVER, TRUNK NATION TONIGHT ON SIRIUSXM

Back from Denver, great trip! Thanks to all who came to see me Friday at Buffalo Rose in Golden and all the bands that played. Sold out of books but remember signed copies can be purchased direct from me by just hitting the “Books” tab on this site. Rush Saturday night was INCREDIBLE. I hung with Geddy and Alex and also interviewed Alex. I’m pressed for time at the moment but will post a full review here soon and will also discuss it on the air on my radio show tonight. If you check my Twitter feed I posted so many photos from the show as well. Much more to come here when I have time, tomorrow the latest. HUGE thanks to the Rush camp and the guy for the hospitality!

Live SiriusXM show tonight 6-10P ET on channel 39. Guests include Randy Blythe, Cormac Neeson of The Answer and Jeff LaBar.

7/9: BENATAR/GIRALDO PODCAST, DENVER AREA APPEARANCE & RUSH THIS WEEKEND, TMS MARATHON, MORE

One of the reasons I decided to start a podcast exactly a year ago was to have a platform for artists I like and respect that are a bit outside the world of music I usually deal with on my radio and TV shows. Prior to That Metal Show I was a host on VH1 Classic for years and interviewed every genre of artist. Although hard rock and metal is my personal favorite, I also like some other stuff, and even if I am not a huge fan love the conversation and variety at times. My new podcast for the week that posted today with Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo is a perfect example of this. I do like Pat and Neil’s music, especially the harder stuff. I saw them live a few years ago and it was amazing how well she could still sing the stuff. She is an icon of female rock and another MASSIVE snub by the R&R HOF. Hope you guys enjoy this conversation with two talented musicians who have somehow managed to keep a marriage and working relationship going over 30 years. It is up now free as always on www.Podcastone.com or on Itunes. Just search The Eddie Trunk Podcast. And thanks for a great first year and supporting it each week!

Just found out VH1 Classic will air a That Metal Show marathon this Saturday night 7P-1A ET. Not sure what episodes will run but set those DVRs now and enjoy. Info on new shows when I get it.

Headed to Denver tonight. I’ll be signing and selling my books and merch tomorrow night (Friday) 9-11P at Buffalo Rose in Golden. Babylon AD and more play live. Then Saturday I am seeing Rush in Denver. Finally catching this tour and can’t wait! The Rush camp was nice enough to invite me to the soundcheck and I may even get a few minutes interview with one of the guys for radio and podcast. Follow on Twitter @EddieTrunk for info as it happens this weekend! And hope to hang with you if in the area tomorrow night at Buffalo Rose! I KNOW I’ll be seeing many Saturday at the Pepsi Center!

Live SiriusXM show this Monday 6-10P ET channel 39 TRUNKNation. Randy Blythe in studio, Jeff LaBar of Cinderella and Cormac Neeson of The Answer call in.

7/6: SIRIUSXM SHOW TONIGHT, COREY TAYLOR, MIKE & MAX PORTNOY

Hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July.

Live show tonight 6-10P ET on SiriusXM 39 TRUNKNation. In studio guests include Corey Taylor (around 9:15) and Mike Portnoy and his son Max. Max has a new band called Next To None. They will be in around 8. We will also take your calls, talk about the VH tour kickoff and much more. Hope you join me for Live music and Talk That Rocks!

 

7/3: SHEEHAN PODCAST, MERCH SALE NOW, DENVER NEXT WEEKEND, COREY TAYLOR, MORE

To all my American visitors have a Happy 4th of July!

My FM/syndicated show features and all American hard rock and metal special. Debuts tonight 11P ET on Q104.3 NYC and WAAF Boston. Both stations stream free also. Full list of all stations airing this weekend under Live & On The Air on this site.

My new podcast is up now with an in depth interview with Billy Sheehan talking VH, DLR, Mr Big, Talas and much more. Some stuff you may not know about the bass great in this! Plus my latest R&R HOF rant! Free as usual on Itunes or www.podcastone.com

Everything is 25% off my merch store on this site now until 7/8. Take advantage of this great sale and get some cool T’s for cheap. Thanks for representing my shows! Shop now, no code needed.

Live Monday on SiriusXM channel 39 TRUNKNation 6-10P ET. Corey Taylor drops by.

I will be in Denver this weeekend. Seeing Rush there Saturday. I’ll be doing an appearance 9-11P at Buffalo Rose in Golden this Friday. Babylon AD and more play live. I’ll have both of my books and merch for sale. You will need a ticket to the show to get to my signing table FYI. Hope to see you in CO this coming weekend for this somewhat last minute appearance!

6/29: BACK FROM CA & VEGAS, COVERDALE, CHRIS SQUIRE, LIVE TRUNKNATION TONIGHT

Back from Vegas and San Jose late last night. Great trip hanging with Frank Dimino, Gregg Giuffria, Paul Crook, Zach Throne, Danny Koker, Ken Ciancimino and all my buds in Vegas! Even hung with Ace Frehley one night. We didn’t know each other would be there and I had a great night with him, Frank and Gregg that was like Casablanca Records 1975! Awesome!! Was cool to host Frank’s release party and also saw a mind blowing set from guitarist Stoney Curtis at Vamp’d.

Thanks also to Richard, Jimmy, Robert and Susie at Rockbar in San Jose for having me host the Demon Guitar Rockoff Saturday night. Was a fun night with many great players. Rockbar has become my W Coast home away from home and I appreciate the great hospitality they have there not just for me, but everyone. Really great club I hope you guys check out if in that area. Hope to be back soon for more stuff there.

Live on SiriusXM 39 TRUNKNation 6-10PM ET. David Coverdale checks in live. I am missing Rush at MSG to do my radio show! THAT’s how much I love my audience!! Haha. I hope to catch Rush at a road gig soon before the tour wraps. More here soon.

RIP Chris Squire. Another MASSIVE omission by the R&R HOF. Now if they ever get their heads out of their asses and induct Yes, Chris is gone because they chose to ignore this band for decades. Pathetic! I am not a massive Yes fan, but that’s not the point! Yes was incredibly influential and brilliant at what they did. Sad something called the Rock Hall STILL hasn’t recognized that and now a key member is gone. Kind of like Jon Lord and Purple who are still waiting.. Disgusting!