eddietrunk Justin Tedaldiof the Examiner spoke with our very own Eddie Trunk. Portions of the interview appear below.

Examiner:This year you’re celebrating your 30th year in radio. What does that mean to you?

Eddie: To have survived in radio for 30 years is pretty remarkable. Even more remarkable is to have been able to do it in the same market I’ve lived in my whole life. Most people who are in radio that long can rattle off 15 cities that they’ve worked in, and I’m lucky enough to say that [my] entire stretch has been New York and New Jersey….Even more rewarding for me is that I’ve been doing what I love in radio….I truly believe that you have to bring more content to the table to survive in radio than saying, “There was AC/DC and here’s Journey,” because computers can do that. The little secret about what’s going on in radio right now that a lot of people don’t know is that a lot of rock radio stations that they’re listening to [has] a live local DJ, [but] they’re not—they’re hearing a piped-in DJ that could be across the country somewhere through a computer….I still love doing radio; radio’s still probably my greatest passion.

Examiner: What ambitions are you working on?

Eddie: I would like to continue to grow in radio, and by that I mean more outlets, more time, more opportunity….I’d love to be on better hours, I’d love to be on more radio stations, you know? People don’t really understand how syndication works in radio. They think that if someone has 100 radio stations they think, “Wow, look how many people they have listening.” The truth of the matter is that you could have somebody with 10 radio stations that has 10 times the audience of the person with 100 radio stations just because of what markets those stations are in: how many people are listening to those stations? What hours are the show on? We navigate through the industry to try to make things bigger…I still would love one day to do a full-time afternoon radio show that’s an extension of what I’m doing now. I don’t know if I’ll ever get that opportunity, but I would love to….I still feel that after 30 years, there’s still a lot that I want to do.

Examiner: You’ve mentioned people you’d love to have as guests on That Metal Show like Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne and Eddie Van Halen. What are some burning questions you’ve been saving up?

Eddie: Oh, boy. With Eddie Van Halen, I’d just love to get to the bottom of his issues with Sammy Hagar. I know Sammy and I love Sammy and he’s been on my shows many times, and people think that I have some bias against the [David Lee] Roth years and that I’m a Hagar guy, which is completely not the case. I was a Sammy Hagar fan long before he was ever in Van Halen, though. I find it interesting, because Eddie Van Halen has this huge catalog of music, huge songs, that nobody else can sing but Sammy Hagar, and that unless a fence is mended with Sammy and that he finds a way to someday work with him again, there’s an entire generation of people—who that’s their Van Halen—who are never going to hear those songs live again. I think people forget that there’s like a dozen huge hit songs that, let’s be honest, David Lee Roth couldn’t sing in his wildest dreams—no pun intended with Dreams, but there’s another song. So I would love to know how he feels about that and about leaving, you know, an entire era of the band on the shelf, with so many huge, iconic, important songs.

So that would be something that would come to mind to ask him, but I have no idea what his response is. I’d just love to get to the bottom of that, and also see if he takes any personal responsibility in the falling apart of that band, because I saw the reunion tour with Sammy [in 2004], and Eddie Van Halen was whacked out of his skull or whatever. I mean, he was playing different songs from the rest of the band. Everyone who saw it knew it was a disaster. So I’d love to kind of pick his brain a little bit about that period and see what he’s thinking and going forward if he thinks there could ever be a way to reconcile so that material could be revisited again.

A guy like Jimmy Page, I’d love to just get to the bottom of what his visions were with [Led Zeppelin’s] recent reunion five years ago, and what his plan is going forward. I was able to do some digging and found out that, of course, everybody knows Steven Tyler was considered to go and sing with them when [Robert] Plant didn’t want to do it—Myles Kennedy was there for a little bit—and just kind of peel away a little bit more about that and the thought process and if there’s any resentment towards Plant for not being able to play, not playing that stuff. And of course, there’s all the old stuff—guys like that, you could get good stories forever from the early days. But I’m just kind of curious of some of the more recent developments to get a handle on how that stuff all went down and what they’re thinking going forward.

Examiner: You mentioned that if the circumstances were different, you would have had a very different interview with Axl Rose on TMS. What are some of the things you would have liked to ask him or know more about if you could have another round with him?

Eddie: I’d love to get more into the dissolving of the original band. Axl’s touched on things before, drug abuse and what have you, but I’d love to get more into his head about how all of that fell apart, and more specifics about what exactly went down and how this thing unraveled, and how you had one of the greatest, iconic hard rock bands ever and how it could have imploded so quickly, and from his perspective what he saw. I certainly could have been tougher on him about the late stage times. I did mention it to him in that interview, but he said something like, “We’re working on it, and we’re trying” and this and that, but I could have peeled the layers a little more….

Examiner: What bands would you most like to see make a comeback?

Eddie: I’ve gotta be honest, even though they’re friends and I respect what they’re doing separately, I really would love to see Skid Row again with Sebastian Bach and Rob Affuso, their original drummer. I respect what they’re doing individually and like it, but I really think that that’s a band that burned way too quick, and are still relatively young enough that they could put on a great, energetic show. And they’re a band that got progressively heavier as their career went on, and I’d love to see them kind of embrace that. I think we need an edgy, over the top, in-your-face kind of hard rock band again, and when that band was on its game they were a force to be reckoned with live, and I’d love to see if they could put whatever issues exist behind them and get out there and really just give this genre a real good kick in the ass again. I know that there’s a ton of interest, especially outside of America, in that happening, but I also know that it’s not even close to a reality, having talked to the guys firsthand about it, for a huge host of reasons….There’s a lot of division, still, [among] the certain parties in that band. It’s unfortunate, because I think that they could really do some damage if they could pull it together one more time.

And the other thing I’d love to see one more time, selfishly, everyone knows how much I love the band UFO; same scenario there, I love the current lineup, I think Vinnie Moore’s brilliant in that band, but I would love, and I would go any part in the world one more time, to see the Strangers in the Night lineup, and that’s one that’s a little bit more urgent. The core of the band is in their mid-60s now, and you don’t really know how much longer they all have, so it would be great to see that one more time. I already told me wife [laughs], if that show happens anywhere in the world, I have to go; I’m getting on a plane and going. It’s probably my number one thing I’d love to see one last time.

Examiner: [If] you can replace any [band] member—where do you think you’d see yourself having the most fun?

Eddie: Wow. The most fun would probably be fronting Van Halen, you know? The most fun would be David Lee Roth in 1980 to ’82 or something. The ultimate party hard rock band. Guys and girls loved them equally. That would be the ultimate sort of thing to do, I think. The other person to be would be Joe Perry or Steven Tyler. Those guys are both eternally cool and eternally youthful in what they can still do at their age with their band at this point in their career is pretty unbelievable live. But I always thought that Joe Perry, there’s nothing not cool about the guy, he just exudes coolness and he’s a great guy, too. As crazy as it sounds, I’ve gotten to know him and be friendly with him. Those are the icons to me. And of course, to have been a member of the original KISS would be incredible. To dress up like that and be part of a stage show like that, to do such groundbreaking theatrics, to make what I think are some really good records that are overlooked a lot of times, that would be equally phenomenal.

Read more at the Examiner.

Eddie’s new book, Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Volume II is available for purchase today (Sepetmber 24th).

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  • Mike on

    I’m a fan of both Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. It frustrates me to hear the comment on how “Roth couldn’t dream of singing Hagar songs”. As true as that may be, let’s look at the other side of the coin. Hagar BUTCHERED Roth era songs. They have different skill sets and neither one can do the other’s job. Since you always give only one perspective, you are obviously a Hagar supporter through and through. Nothing wrong with that but just admit it man! For me, if had only 6 albums to listen to for the rest of my life, it would be the first 6 VH albums…and I can admit it.

    • DR on

      I absolutely hated Van Hagar. Absolute top 40 trash. The original VH albums with the original 4 are still some of the absolute best music ever put out there.

  • John G on

    Good interview. I agree with Eddie – I’d love to get to the bottom of some of those stories. Eddie Van Halen is just fried. I don’t think anyone will ever get an honest answer out of the guy. He just reminds me of a drunk that bleeds bullshit. Obviously a tremendous talent, but as for a real no BS interview with EVH, it’ll never happen.

    One thing Eddie Trunk mentions over and over in his show is how DLR was never a good singer live. That just isn’t the case. Listen to the US Festival Gig in 1982. He was much better then than he is now. I saw them in 1981 and I don’t recall talking about how bad his voice was. I don’t remember much from the show, but I certainly would’ve remembered if his voice was gone. The guy has been a serious cigarette smoker for decades. His voice is shot NOW, but it wasn’t in the late 70s/early 80s. Was it ever as good live as the record? No. But it was a lot better then than it is now.

    A Page interview would be awesome. I would love to ask JP about his guitar style. Whether he intended his stylistic shift that took place in 1975/77 or it was more a result of his partying. I think he did, even though he was obviously pretty messed up. He started tending towards his expressionistic style earlier.

    UFO return to the “classic” lineup would be great. Stop pretending Vinnie Moore is as good as Schenker or Chapman. It’s a typical case of a band getting somebody who’s a good guy and competent, but not spectacular musically. I haven’t heard one song from the Moore-era that really compares to the earlier UFO classics.

    As for G’n’R, who cares? They were all messed up. We know that. I saw Slash’s Snake Pit in the mid-1990s. They were awful – “the Pits.” He’s capable of some great guitar work, but we didn’t hear any in Buffalo at UB that night.

    • sar305 on

      Don’t know about Page’s stylistic shift, but I find this to be pretty shifty-


      Led Zeppelin Plagiarism Part 1
      Led Zeppelin Plagiarism Part 2
      Led Zeppelin Plagiarism Part 3

    • John G on

      There’s validity to a lot of those plagiarism claims with Zeppelin. But that kind of thing has gone on in the blues for a long, long time. According to an interview I read with John Fahey, he did research and found a bunch of Robert Johnson’s songs were basically covers. But stuff like the “Stairway” rip of Spirit; I mean it’s pretty obvious Page/Plant take the basic idea – but they built it into something way different. I’d bet anything that “Song Remains the Same” is probably lifted from some classical piece. Page’s work stands on its own; if it was that easy to just steal and make something great out of it, we’d have had another Led Zeppelin by now! Metallica lifted a ton of stuff. One of their tunes is a direct rip-off of the Focus song “Hocus Pocus.”

      At least Led Zep stole from some fairly obscure sources. Look at bands like latter period Whitesnake, Great White, Kingdom Come, Zebra and other (as Gary Moore put it) Zep Clones. They just lifted right from Led Zep. If you’re going to steal, at least do it from someone that most people haven’t heard of!

    • sar305 on

      “There’s validity to a lot of those plagiarism claims with Zeppelin.”- More like unequivocal certainty, so don’t mince words.

      “But that kind of thing has gone on in the blues for a long, long time.”- That kind of thing? Thanks for the history lesson, but “influenced by” and blatant plagiarism have coalesced in a not-too-insignificant portion of Zeppelin’s catalogue.

      “According to an interview I read with John Fahey, he did research and found a bunch of Robert Johnson’s songs were basically covers.”- Don’t know who John Fahey is but his claims do nothing to diminish Zep’s unoriginality…irrespective of what it does to Johnson’s legacy…allegedly.

      “if it was that easy to just steal and make something great out of it, we’d have had another Led Zeppelin by now!”- Not really. You can’t have more than one “first man on the moon”. Zep are the BASF of music: ‘we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better’. Musically, and maybe hyperbolically, speaking.

      “At least Led Zep stole from some fairly obscure sources.”- Yes, and all the while hoping no one would notice. And that is somehow admirable, you seem to be suggesting…?

      “Look at bands like latter period Whitesnake, Great White, Kingdom Come, Zebra and other (as Gary Moore put it) Zep Clones.”- Yes, let’s look at them. Then again, let’s not, as they collectively haven’t garnered a scintilla of the praise the mighty Zep has (undeservedly?)accumulated over the last 5 decades. In fact, many would just quickly dismiss those bands as Zep rip-offs. How ironic.

      “They just lifted right from Led Zep.”- And unwittingly from those “obscure sources” you wrote so dispassionately about.

      “If you’re going to steal, at least do it from someone that most people haven’t heard of!”- Sage advice for the fledgling fame-hungry rip-off artists out there. Ask Lady Gaga, she knows…

      But ok, you twisted my arm…Led Zeppelin are, without a doubt, the best rock rehashers, EVER!

    • John G on

      You’re obviously not a Zep fan. First of all, Zeppelin was about improvisation. A lot of their tunes were frameworks for improvisation. Listen to “Dazed and Confused”live – to sit there and diss their entire catalog cause they ripped off a few basic riffs from some early blues and rock bands is laughable. The interplay between Page, Bonham and Jones is what launched Zep into the big leagues. To compare one of their improvs to a Willie Dixon version of a basic riff is beyond silly. Sorry if you don’t “get Zeppelin.” It’s your loss.

    • John G on

      PS – BTW, Who’s the scary amazing totally original band that gets sar305’s coveted seal of approval?

    • DR on

      Every rock band from The Beatles on were influenced by ‘other artists’, especially blues artists. Most metal fans have no clue who Bo Diddley is (other than the phrase ‘you don’t know Bo Diddley’). But he is just as responsible for the creation of Metal as Sabbath. Listen to his riffs, his eight note chord playing – and you’ll get it. I was never the world’s largest Zeppelin fan – but could appreciate their creativity and passion more than most bands out of the 70’s. Quite frankly, there hasn’t been an ‘original’ band that wasn’t influenced, or didn’t ‘steal’ from other artists or other genres. Queen, one of the greatest bands ever, were massively influenced by many genre’s and artists, especially classical and opera. Doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

    • John G on

      Right. Page always admitted to taking the Bert Jansch stuff. The blues stuff has been repeated and ripped-off for decades. Before there was vinyl people were taught stuff and passed it on. Guess after hearing George Harrison got nailed for “unconscious plagiarism” on “My Sweet Lord,” according to SARS we’ll all have to write off the Beatles as a bunch of no-talent thieves.

      This all has nothing to do with Eddie Trunk’s interview wishes anyways. But since Sars brought it up:

      I’d like to know where Zep ripped off Achilles Last Stand, Kashmir, Ten Years Gone and Four Sticks from, among others. The Spirit lick that “influenced” Stairway is a very common jazz cliche. Just because it’s new to rock ‘n roll doesn’t mean Randy California created it. All the stuff goes back to Classical music anyways. ’nuff said on this topic.

    • sar305 on

      No, not “’nuff said”. So let’s see, where to begin…

      The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Or…

      There you go again, minimizing the forerunning music of others as a “few basic riffs”. Except, you neglected to mention that, in addition to riffs, Zep also stole melodies and lyrics. Lyrics! Now that’s laughable.

      “Diss their entire catalogue”? Read again. Then come back and apologize.

      “The interplay between Page, Bonham and Jones is what launched Zep into the big leagues.”– No, what launched them into the big leagues was good songs. Many of which were largely pilfered from others. Plenty of good jam bands out there, far less with a strong anthology. Songs sell music, not musicianship.

      “Sorry if you don’t “get Zeppelin.” “– Don’t apologize…it’s embarrassing. Like your impassioned defense of plagiarism.

      “Guess after hearing George Harrison got nailed for “unconscious plagiarism” on “My Sweet Lord,” according to SARS we’ll all have to write off the Beatles as a bunch of no-talent thieves.”– Don’t guess, don’t make assumptions, and don’t speak for me. Because you sound like a silly child. And who’s “SARS”?

      “I’d like to know where Zep ripped off Achilles Last Stand, Kashmir, Ten Years Gone and Four Sticks from, among others.”– And so would the benefactors of the source music they ripped off. Zing!

      Your hopeless devotion to Zeppelin aside, I think you’re missing the point. That being: whatever accolades and praise Led Zeppelin had amassed prior to these plagiarism revelations, should be less so now in light of their musical “process” being exposed. A black eye on their legacy? Maybe. A pockmark? Definitely. And remember: all that glitters ISN’T gold.

  • T on

    I wish I got to see original VH in Asbury Park NJ at convention hall in the Way early days. A friend of mine saw Randy Rhodes with Ozzy there, and said he forgot all about Eddie Van Halen after that performance by Randy. Also, If only Richie Blackmore would put down his Lute, and do a Rainbow tour w/Joe Lynn Turner, I would like to see that. I don’t think EVH will ever admit he was wrong, about anything.

    • John G on

      Eddie Van Halen just seems to make up stuff. He reminds me of a co-dependant liar. I think Sammy’s stint in Van Halen was pretty lame. The stuff was made for radio play and soft. I think Randy Rhoades was great, but I think EVH paved the way for him (as well as Satriani – who almost never mentions his number #1 influence.) Hard to say what would have become of Randy. No one will ever know. I still remember hearing about the plane crash. It was a wintery, gloomy day in March. I was so psyched to see the “Diary” tour with UFO opening up.

      Regarding Eddie Trunk: I think he has to walk a fine line with his opinions. We still never got his review of the latest Deep Purple – which I guarantee he probably didn’t like. I’d like to see some stronger opinions from ET. I don’t blame Gene Simmons or Paul Stanley for not coming on. I think it’s a lose/lose for them.

    • T on

      I feel the exact same way about the Sammy era of VH as you do. It wasn’t bad, and appealed to the masses, but the first four VH albums were masterpieces in my opinion. Especially some of the lesser known tracks. VH just had a chemistry with Roth that was incredible, and it showed in the writing (and I refuse to see them without Michael Anthony). Some of the songs had a darker side that I really liked, and would never have happened with Sammy.

    • DR on

      Anyone who chooses the Sammy era over the original era – quite frankly has no clue about VH. If you liked Van Hagar, good for you. But that was never Van Halen. Those 4 guys in their prime had no competition. I saw them several times in the 80’s, including the 1984 tour. They blue anyone and everyone out of the water. Hagar was fantastic as a solo artist or with Montrose. I just didn’t like what Van Halen transformed into when he joined them.

    • DR on

      ‘blew’ not ‘blue’ – wow that was shitty.

    • John G on

      Going to a Van Halen show in the day with Roth was like being invited to an ultra-cool backyard party with gorgeous women and great hosts and no parents around. A Sammy Hagar led VH was like going to a party held by the class president or the Quarterback of the HS football team with parents in tow. Or maybe a relative. It just wasn’t the same vibe. Sorry Hagar fans. And yes, I know Sammy put out some great shows on his own before hand, but the two together just wasn’t the same cool vibe.

  • Bill on

    The proof is already in the pudding regarding EVH. He always had that innocent act going,but, although he’s a great guitar player, he’s a jerk. Sammy’s pre-Van halen stuff was pretty good. Van Hagar itself was luke warm compared to the Mighty Van Halen. Eddie if you ever wonder why you can’t get Ozzy,Gene and Paul of KISS,and EVH it’s because you conspire and talk b.s. with ex band members of these guys. Then when you have an elusive one,such as Axl, you don’t pin him down because I think you were afraid of what his reaction would be-like walking off. As far as I’m concerned HE’S a jerk and I won’t accept his solo version referred to as G’N’R.

  • Phil on

    Love you Trunk. But you are taking sides on the Van Halen issue. I agree with the earlier post. Both are great but different !!

    • Eddie on

      I like both, always did, and not sure why you can’t….

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