KNAC.COM: Congratulations on your recent 30th anniversary in radio! Did you ever dream when you got started in this that you’d still be doing it 30 years later?
Trunk: (Laughs). Uhh, No. I mean, I started in radio when I was still in High School and it was simply for one reason. It was to try to find an outlet to help spread the bands that I loved. I wasn’t hearing those bands on the radio back in ‘82, ‘83 and I was really into Hard Rock music, and I really felt it was being underserved. As a kid, I was like, “How can I find ways to let other people know about this music”? So, I did a lot of different things. I did a little bit of writing, I worked in a record store. I did a mish mash of stuff, and one of the things that I ended up doing was working at a college radio station while I was still in High School, and that kind of peaked my interest about it. From there, I sort of just stuck around. But the whole reason I stuck around in radio was because I was doing radio where I could play what I want, say what I want, and help expose the bands that I loved. That was really important because a lot of people in radio unfortunately can’t do that and still can’t do that. So, that was really what it was about for me, and what it is about now. So, the fact that I have been able to hang in there, for now, my 31st year of doing my own show and focused on these bands is pretty cool. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long but it certainly has been, and I am grateful.
KNAC.COM: You mentioned that not a lot of people get the opportunity to promote their favorite bands on the radio, how did you become so different?
TRUNK: Well, the whole reason I got into radio was to do that. I didn’t get into radio because I wanted to be a broadcaster, per se, because I felt like I had some sort of great radio voice, or had some sort of radio persona that I wanted to put on. I mean, everything about me getting into radio was for that reason. There are a lot of people that get into radio for different reasons than that. They don’t get into radio, for the passion of the music. There is a tremendous amount of people on radio that really have no regard or passion for the music they play. They could go one day and be on a country station, be on a rock station the next day, and one day, do top 40. For me, the only reason I got into it was to play this kind of music and share the information and the music of the bands that I loved. That was the whole catalyst for it, and because of that, I was kind of insistent that whatever I did in radio; I would have that kind of flexibility and that ability to do that, because that was the whole reason I was doing it.
That being said, there are plenty of people that make a great living doing regular format radio and who knows if I would ever do that again. I’ve done it in the past, and I may do it again one day. But for me, the whole point of it was the ability to do that, so I didn’t get into it with some sort of phenomenal demo tape or anything like that, with some sort of crazy big voice. I got into it because I pitched an idea to do a show that focused on Heavy Metal when no one else was really doing that. As a result, I was just able to stay in it for that long, and I just kind of became known as a guy who specialized in that, and by the way, there are pros and cons to being known as the guy who specializes in a certain kind of radio, because the upside is you get a little creative freedom and you get a very loyal audience. The downside is it is very limiting because there are a lot of radio programmers that will look at you as well, “If they hear that guy’s name or voice, they are going to immediately think of one kind of music, and he can’t do anything else”. So, it can limit you from getting more work, and certainly stagnate you in terms of making a lot of money. But, for me, the creative side of it was always more important.
KNAC.COM: [Since, you do live radio], the great thing about it, is having listeners call in, and react to topics that are current.
TRUNK: Yeah, I mean, [my Sirius/XM] show is live 6 to 10 Eastern/3 to 7 Pacific on Mondays only. And, when I started doing that show; when I started in satellite radio in 2002 on XM before the companies merged, I said to them I wanted to do my show live, and they kind of looked at me like I was crazy. Because, they were like, “Why would you dedicate four hours to being on live in real time, where, if you did four hours in a voice studio, you could record a whole week’s worth of shows and be on every day.” And, I said, “Well, that might be the case, but can I take calls?” They said, “No.” “Well, Can I give stuff away?” “No.” “Can I take calls for the artist?” “No.” There was no interactivity. There was no ability to connect, and for me, that is the thing I love about radio. It’s immediate. You can get the pulse of what the people are thinking. I really, really like that aspect of it, and I love to talk to people, and to connect with people. That is why I have done that show. It’s live most weeks when my schedule permits. It’s kind of unique, especially on satellite, to have that kind of interactivity. A couple of weeks ago, I had Mick Mars in two hours. We were just talking to him straight. I mean, I love getting in depth. I love hearing from the audience. When the KISS stuff went down, I did two hours of just people calling; the lines were jammed with people wanting to sound off on all that. That’s the type of radio I am most interested in these days and I really, really enjoyed it. Although, driving in; I live in New Jersey. It’s an hour drive. It’s expensive to drive into the city. It’s expensive to park. There is not a lot of money, by any stretch, in satellite radio. I do it because I truly love that sort of radio, and I am really blown away by how much the audience; people tell me they route their schedules around those four hours so they can hear what I am going to say, or what the audience is going to say, or what I am going to play, or who is going to come in. And to me, that is the real magic of radio.
KNAC.COM: Now a lot of people view you as knower of all things Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. How do you view yourself?
TRUNK: I do not for a minute think I know it all. I think that I know more than maybe the average fan about rock and Metal music because I’ve lived my whole life in it. When I say my whole life, I literally mean everything I have ever done in my life is music related. From working in a record store, to working for a record company, working for a management company, to doing radio, to doing writing, to doing television; it’s all been music related. As a kid, I was like a sponge. I just wanted to learn more. I wanted to learn about the business. I wanted to learn about the bands. I read all the magazines. I read all the liner notes. It was my passion, and my hobby, and it still is. But, I do not for a minute, think that I know it all. There are tons of genres of music that I don’t know much about. There are, honestly, subgenres of metal that I don’t know anything about, that I’m not personally a huge fan of, and don’t really know inside out. We have some fun with this bit, Stump The Trunk on That Metal Show, and it’s a very legitimate bit in the sense I do not know what is coming as far as the questions. Sometimes the questions are completely out of left field and bizarre. But the point of the matter is that it’s a bit. It’s a fun thing. People seem to find it interesting and fun. It’s one of the most popular segments of the show for a lot of reasons, and not just because of what I get right or wrong, but just because of everything that goes on around it. As a result of that, people have thought that I think of myself in those terms; I don’t. Listen, I know I know more than probably the average guy off the street because I have spent my whole life in this, but I do not for a minute go around thinking that I know it all by any stretch.
KNAC.COM: Now has it surprised you, over your career that some of these artists you grew up as huge fans of, that you have become personal friends with, and you hang out with these guys?
TRUNK: Yeah, I mean it is true. Rob Halford just did an incredible favor for me just a couple of days ago. I reached out to him. There was a fan of his that was very, very ill. I rarely do stuff like this, but I felt really bad for this person and I wanted to see if Rob would be willing to help out and make a phone call for this person and he did. Rob is just a class guy and that is the type of person he is. To have that sort of relationships with an iconic artist I grew up with, that I could call Rob up and say, “hey man here’s what’s going on.” To have that sort of trust and friendship is incredible. It is incredible for me to go to shows and have these guys that I grew up with, their posters on my wall, as friends, and have them know me. “Hey man, come on over, let’s hang out, let’s talk.” That is really amazing! What’s really amazing for me is the guys from the 70’s. Being 49, those are the guys I grew up with. Those are the guys that I have the records as a little kid, and that is really special stuff for me. I don’t mean that at all to marginalize the guys from the 80’s, but the difference is that I started working for a record company in ‘86, I started in radio in ‘83, so those artists I kinda grew up with in the industry. Even though I am still certainly a huge fan, I have been around them and worked with them for decades, I know them all so well, and I value those relationships as well. The ‘70’s guys, Aerosmith, (Judas) Priest, or Dio. All of these incredible experiences and friendships I have had with them is really surreal at times, But I never take it for granted and I respect it. You don’t want to be somebody that is a pain in the ass for those guys either so you have to pick your spots and also just stay in touch and say hello from time to time, but you also do not want to be a pest to people either.
KNAC.COM: What do you find yourself listening to the most right now?
TRUNK: Whenever I find myself wanting to listen to something that I really love, or I need a break, and I just kind of want to get consumed with music, and get inspired or lost in the music; it’s always going to be the stuff I grew up with from the 70’s. It’s always going to be old Aerosmith, Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, some KISS stuff, UFO, some AC/DC; just the iconic stuff that I was just very, very much into and it takes me back. It’s comfortable, you know that you know it so well. Those are the things that I always call on during those times, but as far as new music is concerned; there is a ton of new music and new bands coming out that I’m actually really excited about. I have not really been this excited about new bands and new music in a while. There is this whole genre, it seems, of new young bands, that are very 70’s sort of sounding with big riffs and vocals, and stuff like that.
I am a guy who needs to like the vocals to like a band. The reason I am not into Death Metal, and Grindcore, or Extreme Metal, or what have you, is because I need singing. I don’t like screaming and I don’t like “Cookie Monster” vocals. I like a good voice, or at least a voice that is a cool voice. For me, I just can’t get past the singing that comes with Extreme Metal. It’s not a knock on it. There are tons of people into that stuff and that’s cool. It’s just not for me. So, I love this movement of very 70’s throwback sounding bands but the bands are actually young guys, you know, new bands. There is a band called Scorpion Child, from Austin, Tx. Rival Sons from L.A. Kyng from L.A. Monster Truck from Canada. A band called Witchcraft I just got turned onto. There is a lot of that stuff going on out there, and many more that I am probably forgetting to mention. I really, really like that sort of stuff. I like that scene that seems to be emerging. Whether it breaks through or not, and people actually respond to it and any of these bands actually make it; remains to be seen. I like what they are going for.
Read Eddie’s entire interview at KNAC.com.