EDDIE GETS INTERVIEWED BY GUITAR INTERNATIONAL, READ HIGHLIGHTS HERE
Robert Cavuoto of Guitar International spoke with Eddie about his interviewing skills, what metal needs to make a comeback and his falling out with KISS bandmembers Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons Excerpts from the interview appear below.
Robert: Your interviewing technique is very fluid as you have more of a conversational approach when speaking with artists, how did you evolve that technique?
Eddie Trunk: Before I did any TV, I had over 20 years of radio experience, so that was a huge advantage. The other advantage is that I know 95% of the artists that we are going to sit down with. I’ve probably interviewed them more than a dozen times. Some of these guys are my close friends, which can sometimes work against you.
I want to be able to put artists in a comfort zone, but also not be afraid to ask the tough questions. At the end day the audience needs to be served. It’s a combination of finding that right balance.
A great example was on tonight’s [That Metal Show episode] with Dave Lombardo, before we shot the [show] I went to him and said I know you don’t want to talk about Slayer, but I have to ask you about it. I told him he can answer it any way he wants, but my audience will kill me if I don’t at least ask. He got it and respected it.
I thought it went fine. I don’t often give artists the heads up, but I recently had Dave on my podcast and felt it was a bit awkward for him when I brought it up.
Robert: How do you prepare for your interviews?
Eddie Trunk: Don and Jim do a lot of prep work because they are stand-up comics and this is relatively new to them. They’ve gotten quite good at it and seem more comfortable.
It’s been a running joke when we are in our dressing room and I see them with their heads in books writing stuff down, I’ll yell at them, “What are you doing, you’re making me nervous!” I’m sure the same would apply if I tried to do stand-up comedy.
I do virtually no prep for my radio, TV, or podcasts. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I don’t need to. This is all I know; I live it every day. The last 30 years of my life has been dedicated to music. Everyday I’m reading it, seeing it, and hearing about it. I have two radio shows a week were I’m probably talking about it just as much.
Outside of somebody who may be a little out of my wheelhouse in terms of music or being new artist, I may need to brush up on their history. Then I may prep, but I very rarely write questions in advance as I don’t want it to feel forced or preplanning. I want to get the feeling and vibe of the artist and see where they want to go with the interview.
Robert: For someone who has been flying the flag for hard rock and heavy metal for over 30 plus years, what do think needs to happen for that genre of music to make a comeback?
Eddie Trunk: I certainly don’t think it has gone away or that it’s underground. I also don’t think its anywhere where it was in the ’80s. I think it is somewhere in the middle where it most comfortably lives and existing. When it was huge in the ’80s, it was a bit of an anomaly driven by MTV.
In the ’90s it was beat to hell which was driven by the changes in musical taste. I think right now we are at a good mid-level spot. For it to become massive you would need a really new big young band that completely storms everybody and has enough mass appeal that it crosses over to even the casual fan.
There have been some new bands which have made a mark like Avenged Sevenfold and 5 Finger Death Punch. What I’m talking about is a band like Guns N’ Roses when they put out Appetite for Destruction, the world stopped and started talking about them.
We need a band like that to give it a big surge.
Robert: Can you pinpoint when your falling out with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons of KISS started?
Eddie Trunk: It would be tough to say. There is an incredible amount of misinformation out there about it. KISS fans, and I still consider myself a fan, are very passionate fans. They react to things and sometimes trump things up that aren’t true or don’t have the complete story.
The 98% of the positive things I have done for KISS over the past three decades are not talked about or acknowledged. The 1% or 2% of things is what gets amplified and people run with. It’s unfortunate and as a result I think they [KISS] got bad information.
The last time I spoke to Paul Stanley I looked him in the eye and said, “Dude, we need to sit down face-to-face for five minutes so you can tell me what is going on and clear the air?”
I’m at a loss as I don’t know what they read, what they think I said, or what I did say. If you don’t want to work with me, that is fine, but as a fan I need to know what the issue is.
I have seen many people over the years say they dislike things that they did. I’ve seen comedians impersonate them and really take a piss on them and for some reason that’s all good.
I think a big part of it is they erroneously view me as the “Ace Frehley and Peter Criss guy” which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s ridiculous I love all the stuff in the ’80s, Eric Carr was one of my dear friends and even dedicated my first book to him.
Just because I’m friends with them doesn’t mean I’m going to play favorites. My door is always open and remains open to everybody including Gene and Paul! I would love to have them on to hear their side of it.
The only thing I said negatively about them, and I stand behind it, is I wish they would have given Tommy Thayer [guitar] and Eric Singer [drums] their own persona.
I can’t look at it that way and choose not to see them anymore. It doesn’t mean I’m not a fan and it doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to do that, but a ton of people feel the same, but very few will say anything.
Artists may not want to say anything, not to jeopardize getting an opening slot since it’s such a sensitive issue.
KISS is the only band you have to be like that with. You can still be a fan of a band without liking everything they have ever done. You would be hard pressed to find a fan of any band who would say that they like every song, every LP, every line-up change in the 30-40 years of their career.
I have found some things they have said and done in my history to me very distasteful, but I let it roll off my back. I would love to sit there and tell them what I think, but it’s not in a negative sense, just my opinion.
Read the entire interview at Guitar International.