EDDIE TRUNK DISCUSSES 30 YEARS IN RADIO, BANDS HE WOULD LOVE TO SEE MAKE A COMEBACK AND WHAT BAND MEMBER HE WOULD LOVE TO REPLACE
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).