Eddie Trunk is the host of the popular VH1 talk show “That Metal Show”. The show recently kicked off its 12th season and is already shaping up to be one of the best yet. Media Mikes had the chance to talk with Eddie recently about the history of the show, what it’s like working with co-hosts Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine and shed some light on his new book.
Adam Lawton: How did the show initially get started?
Eddie Trunk: I had been pestering VH1 for a very long time and it was something that I brought to them. What some people may not realize due to the channel not be as readily available as it is now is that I had been hosting on VH1 Classics since 2002. Before “That Metal Show” I was doing all different types of interviews and VJ work for them. During that time I was always pushing to do my own show which would feature the music I loved and have guests on that I could talk with like I do on my radio shows. It took a long time to get them to come around to the idea. Finally in 2008 they decided to give it a shot and shoot a pilot. The show went through a lot of evolution as there were a number of different people attached to it on all different levels. Things eventually happened in that they came to me asking to bring in some other host and not just have me by myself on. They wanted guys that weren’t serious in an effort to mix up the chemistry. I had the perfect guys in mind. Don and Jim were friends of mine and they were often on my radio show. We brought them in, had a great meeting, shot the pilot and here we are 100 episodes later.
AL: Other than the recent move from New York to Los Angeles what do you think has been the biggest change in the show since its inception?
ET: The biggest was something that I had been pushing for since day one. The show started out as only a half hour and after the fourth season we went to an hour. Coming from radio I loved the time you have where you can just sit and talk to someone. TV is completely different and it’s hard to make that change when your show is only a half hour. When it really comes down to it the show is 21 minutes because of commercials. It was agonizing for me for some time trying to fit everything in to that time frame. Once we switched to an hour things felt much better to me. The only thing now is that with it being an hour I want it to be two hours. (Laughs)
AL: Can you tell us about the idea of bringing in guitarists, bassists and drummers to perform during the show?
ET: The ultimate goal is to have a band play one day but we can’t do that because we just don’t have the budget. We simply cannot afford to bring on an entire band or pay the publishing which is very expensive and a lot of people don’t realize that. We try and work around that buy just bringing in single musicians to do some shredding and stuff. We have had drummers, bassists and predominately guitarist as they lend themselves to the gig a little more. This season we split things down the middle with four shows being with a guitarist and four shows being with a drummer. We have a lot of fun bringing those guys in and it’s a great opportunity to showcase sometimes the little lesser known guys. For example Richie Kotzen has always been a favorite of mine and in America he is barely known. To have him featured on our show has been great as lots of people have been emailing me for more info on him.
AL: In the shows 12 seasons has there ever been a guest that you thought would never end up on the show but actually did end up being on?
ET: Steve Harris from Iron Maiden was tuff. He doesn’t live in American and the Iron Maiden camp is extremely protective of their brand and how they do things. I have always had a great relationship with them but in order to get everyone on board the stars have to align themselves. The season that Steve was on ended up being a last minute score for us because Steve had just announced he was going to be doing a solo album and the band happened to be in Los Angeles. I went to their manager and just asked to have him on. Steve ended up coming down and having a blast. We hope to have him back one day. They guys who don’t live in America are a challenge logistically. Tony Iommi was another one that I was really excited to have one.
AL: What is it like working with Jim and Don behind the scenes?
ET: Things are the exact same as you see on the show. We all bust each other’s balls. Those guys as stand up comics are going to be a little better at it than most people but it comes with the territory. Their role is to throw things a little off balance. Behind the scenes we all put a lot in to the show. As a co-producer the show is kind of my baby so a lot falls on me to sort of be the referee and also to get the guests as I have a lot of history with most of them. Don and Jim work hard as well coming up with concepts and we are all very much involved as it’s a team effort.
AL: Besides the remaining shows for this season what else do you have in the works?
ET: I just completed my second book which is the follow up to “Eddie Trunk’s Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Vol. 1”. I just found out that Vol. 2 will be coming out on September 24th. The book is an exact sequel to my first book. The format and everything is the same except that there are 35 completely different bands in this one. I am really excited for that to be happening. I will also be continuing my two radio shows as this year I am celebrating my 30th year in radio. I am always out there looking for ways to make my projects bigger and take things to the next level.