He’s managed bands, he’s been a record exec, a radio personality, a TV personality and now he can add author to his ever-growing resume. Eddie Trunk, the host of Eddie Trunk Rocks, Eddie Trunk Live, and VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, has released his very first book, Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. This ultimate coffee table hard rock and heavy metal bible includes a plethora of photos by photographer and longtime friend Ron Akiyama facts on 35-plus essential hard rock bands, along with anecdotes about them, Eddie’s personal playlist for each band and he’s even added a piece of his show to the book by adding some trivia from his “Stump the Trunk” segment.
Eddie gave me a call recently to discuss his latest venture.
Tell me about Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.
Well, doing a book has always been something that I kind of wanted to do. I had always envisioned doing an autobiography, which I still hope to do at some point, but this opportunity came to me with a publisher who doesn’t do autobiographies. They’re known for doing more photo-driven stuff, high-quality printing, coffee table books and things like that, so when they talked to me initially about doing this, it was going to be much more photo-driven, not that it isn’t already. The book is about 50 percent photos as is, but it was going to be more 80 percent photos and 20 percent thoughts and texts from me underneath these pictures. But what happened was, I hooked the publisher up with an old friend of mine, Ron Akiyama, who did about 99 percent of the photos in the book, and the absolutely hit it off.
Ron and I had been friends for over 30 years, and we attended many of these shows together and he was always photographing them, it made for a perfect marriage for him to basically do the pictures in the book and they just connected so perfectly into the stories because in many cases some of the stories that I’m talking about, he has the exact show or shot right there next to it. So it worked out really well.
A lot of Ron’s work has never been published before, so the pictures are unique in that people have never seen them before. The one real thing that changed in the evolution of the book, though, is that once the publisher [Abrams Books] started to see some of my thoughts and stories underneath these pictures about these bands, they immediately started wanting more stories. Then all of a sudden, I found myself kind of writing a book that was very different than what I envisioned. But I went with it, because at the end of the day, I thought that it was going to make for a much better product. It was tough to narrow down the bands that I was going to put in it, but I think that I hit what was important to me and think what was important to the scene at the time. Every band has at least one personal story from me and an interaction, an overview and playlists, so people have really liked the balance. It’s something certainly to read, but also something to really look at.
Well, that’s what I found special about this book; your own personal stories and pictures with these really big bands. I especially loved the old pictures of a young Eddie Trunk!
Oh, yeah! It’s always so depressing for me to look at old pictures. It bums me out! Even family pictures, it bums me out because you just realize how much time has passed, and you’re like ‘What the hell just happened?’ There you are like 20 to 25 years ago, and then you’re like ‘Wait a minute, that felt like yesterday!’ So, I actually get bummed out looking at old pictures. It’s funny, when people hear that this is my book, and they hear about a lot of photos, the initial thought is that there will be a lot of pictures with me with rock stars, and that’s clearly not the case. These are unbelievable live shots, and yeah, there’s a bunch of candids spread out throughout the book. There are also a lot of buttons and ticket stubs. That’s all personal stuff from my collection, but I wanted the photos to be really incredible shots of the artists.
There are some really cool candids in there, though. There’s a shot of me signing Ace Frehley when I was at Megaforce Records in my 20s. It’s things like that that people generally have never seen before. Those are fun, but they’re a small part of the book also. The other thing was the cover. I didn’t want it to be one artist and I didn’t want it to be me on the cover. I kind of wanted it to be something that summed up that era, and Ron had a great shot of the crowd at an Anthrax show at L’Amours in Brooklyn, NY, in 1987. A show where I actually introduced the band and as I walked off the stage, Ron ran on and took a shot of the audience reaction as Anthrax was ready to come on. So, I think that picture really sums up what the world was like back then. You just look at those faces in the crowd and it could be anyone from 1987, and what’s ironic is that I heard from a few people who have seen the cover of the book and saw their picture in there. Talk about looking back.