Interview: Eddie Trunk Discusses The New Season of AXS-TV’s ‘TrunkFest’

Photo: Stewart Volland/AXS TV

AXS TV’s original series, “TrunkFest” returns for a second season beginning Sunday, July 7 at 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT. The show airs as part of AXS TV’s Sunday Night Rocks lineup, which includes the talk and rock series “Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar, and the hilarious and heartfelt reality series “Real Money” starring Eddie Money and his family.

The new season kicks off with Trunk visiting Sammy Hagar’s High Tide Beach Party and Car Show, where Trunk takes in all the sights and sounds at one of summer’s ultimate beach bashes. He’ll also spend time with a slate of musical heavyweights, including The Red Rocker himself, along with Eddie Money, Vince Neil and Kevin Cronin (REO Speedwagon).

Future episodes of “TrunkFest” include Trunk experiencing Vail Snow Days with Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; hanging out with Judah and the Lion and lovelytheband at Gulf Shores’ Hangout Music Festival, and visiting Country Jam for a weekend of tricked-out trailers and interviews with Jon Pardi and Craig Campbell.

What makes the new season even more exciting is the addition of several special events which include the Monsters of Rock Cruise (featuring Tesla and Extreme), the NAMM festival—with guitarists Dave Amato (REO Speedwagon) and Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard), a visit to a Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp, and a celebration of the 50thanniversary of Woodstock.

With such wide variety of festivals and events to choose from the stage is set nicely for the second season to connect with its existing audience and give even more people the chance to discover it for the first time. Unlike his radio show and work on his previous series like “That Metal Show,” “TrunkFest” takes host Eddie Trunk out of his comfort zone, which is what really excites him the most.

I recently spoke with Eddie Trunk about the new season of “TrunkFest” music and more in this exclusive new interview.

Photo Courtesy: AXS TV

What can fans expect from the new season of “TrunkFest” on AXS TV?

It picks up where first season left off. It’s the same format of me going to various music festivals and events. The difference this season is the diversity. We’re getting a little wider in what we cover. There’s one episode in Las Vegas at a Rock & Roll Fantasy Camp. Then there’s another where I’m at NAMM, which is the biggest gathering of music merchandisers in the country. Then there’s one from The Monsters of Rock Cruise. So in addition to the regular traditional festivals, this season also features a wider variety with a trade show, cruise and a rock camp.

What were some of the things you did this season that took you out of your comfort zone?

Skiing in Vail, Colorado was pretty cool. I’d only ever skied once and to get out in one of the most beautiful locations in the world and get a lesson was a lot of fun. I also went to Gulf Shores, Alabama and a festival called Hangout. It’s not something I’d normally go to as a fan but it exposed me to a completely different world. That’s what the show is really about. Me going into the festival and having that first time experience right along with the audience.

How much work goes into filming an episode?

Traditionally, most festivals happen over the course of a weekend. My shooting is normally a day or day and a half and then the crew spends an extra day shooting footage of different things going on that can be cut into the show. I have to give a big shout out to the crew because they put a lot of work into it. You have to deal with the elements at a lot of the places we go. I’m only there for a short time but they’re carrying around heavy gear and sound equipment for days. It can be grueling and not always in the most comfortable conditions. People who watch the show know it’s not glamorous. Since there’s no make-up or wardrobe, I can look rough, hammered and sweaty at times [laughs]. But that’s me. I don’t try to fake it. I’m out enjoying the festival and bringing the experience to the people as best I can.

Photo Courtesy: AXS TV

Were there any cool revelations you learned in doing the interviews this season?

A lot of what I do during the interview segments is talk to the artists about the day and what’s going on. One of the cool things this season was an episode we did on the 50thanniversary of Woodstock. One of the most well-known guys from that day was John Sebastian, who told me a great story about how he had no intention of even going. He just stumbled upon it and got roped in to help out and it became one of the event’s most legendary performances. That was really revealing.  

You’ve interviewed some of the all-time greats in the world of hard rock and heavy metal. Is there one person you haven’t interviewed that you’d like to?

After so many years in the industry I’ve checked off a lot of boxes as far as that’s concerned. Jimmy Page would certainly be one along with Howard Stern (who’s not really music}. I interviewed Eddie Van-Halen briefly over the phone once but I’d also love to do an in depth interview with him.

Speaking of Van-Halen, there’s been a lot of rumors circulating again about a reunion. Do you think one will ever happen?

It’s funny you mention that because Michael [Anthony] was on my radio show recently and told me he wasn’t doing anything at this time because they [Van-Halen] were supposed to be rehearsing for shows this year. The plan to go out was real but it was aborted. Michael’s technically not in the band and doesn’t know why. It just kind of went away. I think they just have a hard time getting everything in line and deciding what they want to do with who and how. They’re very quiet and no one really talks. It’s a band I’m asked about daily and the reality is no one really knows but them.

Photo Courtesy: AXS TV

You’re a big Dio fan so I wanted to get your thoughts on the Dio Returns show with the hologram. Have you had a chance to see it?

I haven’t had a chance due to scheduling but many of the people who go say that they enjoyed it. Others aren’t so sure. Something that people may not realize is that the guy produced the show, Jeff Pezzuti, is a huge Dio fan. People think this is being done just to make a cash grab but that’s not the case at all. Jeff built his business around his love of Dio and trying to keep his music and legacy alive. I think that’s important for fans to understand.

Are there any other projects you’re currently working on?

My daily radio show has been my main thing. It’s like sports talk for rock fans on Sirius/XM Channel 106. We do a live show from 2-4 with a replay every night, 9-11 E.T. I also do a monthly show from The Rainbow in L.A. and it’s been a blast to do. Outside of that, I’m doing a bunch of hosting and speaking engagements. I also recently found out that my publisher wants me to do a revised edition of my first book, “Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal”, with updated sections on the bands along with a new forward. Every day is a different adventure.

What excites you the most about the new season of “TrunkFest”?

The thing I’m looking forward to the most is watching the show grow and connect with new people. In season one we only had eight episodes. Now, we’ll have about eighteen in total and my hope is that more people will get to see it and talk about it. We have more music festivals in this country now than we’ve ever had, including a lot that most people don’t even know about. This show is the eyes and ears to these festivals and what goes on. We still pay attention to the genre of music and who’s playing, but it’s also about seeing what goes on in the ultra-VIP areas, backstage, on stage and in the audience. It’s a travel and experience show. People who loved season one will love the new season and we’re looking forward to getting some new people on board as well. 

Season Two of AXS TV’s original series, “TrunkFest” premieres Sunday, July 7 at 9:30pE/6:30pP on AXS.

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Interview: The Alarm’s Mike Peters Discusses New Album, ‘Sigma’, Touring and Living Life to the Fullest

Photo by: Andy LaBrow

Originally intended to be part of double-compilation called Blood Red Viral Black, The Alarm’s infectious new album, Sigma acts as the sequel to 2018’s critically-acclaimed Equals and features contributions from such musical giants as original Alarm guitarist Dave Sharp and Billy Duffy from The Cult.

Sigma, as well as its predecessor, mark a creative change for Peters, who crafted most of the songs from lyrics he’d written while he and his wife, Jules, were going through cancer treatment. The result is a second volume of material fueled by heartfelt emotion, angst, and revelation.

In addition to the new album The Alarm will soon embark on one of summer’s most highly-anticipated tours, where the alternative British rockers will join post-punk auteurs Modern English and the charismatic Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel on what’s being hailed as The Sigma LXXXV Tour.

Peters’ Love Hope Strength charity will also host bone marrow drives at each concert aimed at finding finding donors for people suffering from blood cancers. To date, the charity has registered in excess of 200,000 people, with more than 4,000 potentially lifesaving matches.

Sigma will be released on Friday, June 28.

I recently spoke with Mike Peters about the new Alarm album, touring and more in this exclusive new interview.

How does the new album compare with some of The Alarm’s previous work?

Mike Peters: It’s very much a sequel from our last record, Equals, which came out last year. The music of both albums was conceived at the same time. Originally, it was going to be a double-album called Blood Red Viral Black, but on the eve of release we decided to switch focus and release a single album, Equals, with the knowledge that a sequel would be released twelve months later. There’s a lot of connection between the two records.

The material for these two albums came about a little bit differently than what you’ve done in the past. Can you talk a little about the songwriting process?

In times gone by I’d usually start at the top of the mountain. Where you’d have that initial expression, phrase or chorus, and then you’d work your way down to find the bridge, verse and finally, the lyrics. With this set of music I started at the bottom of the mountain with lyrics first. A lot of songs came out of the turmoil of the situation when I found myself relapsed from the leukemia I’ve carried most of my adult life. At the same time my wife, Jules, was diagnosed with breast cancer, so it was a double whammy. I put everything on hold while we faced this challenge together. There were lot of places where I found myself threatened, emotionally, and I’d write down my feelings. It was only after we came through the worst of these times that I showed my wife all the things I’d written down. That’s when she said to me “This is the start of a new Alarm record. Then I printed all the lyrics out and laid them on the floor around me and started looking for the music in the lyrics to go back up the hill. These albums are very different from how I’ve worked in the past. It’s been quite liberating.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Mike Peters by Clicking Here.

Interview: Gabrielle Stone Discusses Her Inspiring New Book, ‘Eat, Pray, #FML’

Although Gabrielle Stone has never considered herself an author, the accomplished actress and director has always been an avid storyteller. But it wasn’t until a series of failed relationships — one which included a nightmarish divorce and another that ended with her traveling to Europe alone — that she decided to put pen to paper. The story of the events of her trip, the inspiration and thought processes are chronicled in her amazing new book, “Eat, Pray, #FML

Told from the perspective of a woman seeking to find inner strength and resolve, Stone has documented a journey unlike anything she’s ever experienced. One that was not only personally cathartic for the author, but a story that’s sure to give others the inspiration they need to perservere.

In its truest form, “Eat, Pray, #FML” is an inside, pull-no-punches look at Stone’s personal diary, but it’s also a book that reads like a mystery novel and flows like a female-empowered Lifetime drama. Pulling you in from the start with its honest writing and heartfelt emotion. Better still, it leaves readers with the tools they can use to overcome any personal obstacle.

“Eat, Pray, #FML” is available in paperback and e-book exclusively through Amazon. Click here to order!

I recently spoke with Gabrielle Stone about “Eat, Pray, #FML” and more in this exclusive new interview.

What was the writing process like?

Everything was written in real time as it was happening. It just happened to be a crazy trip where some interesting things took place. This book will connect with any female who’s ever been in love, felt betrayed, or isn’t sure how to live with herself. I don’t embellish anything that happened on the trip and I wrote the book as if you were having a conversation with me. Yes, I slept with some people; I drank, and I smoked in Amsterdam. But I tell these things so that when I get to the golden nuggets of what I learned and how I found ways to heal, it will resonate that much more.

A lot of what happened in your relationship with your ex-husband and your discovery of his infidelity almost doesn’t seem real. Did you notice any warning signs?

I want everyone to know that I have no hate, resentment or anger toward my ex-husband. Having said that, I’m so happy to be out of that situation and being where I am now. The warning signs were there, but I always turned a blind eye and thought that we’d eventually fix things down the road. The truth is, he’d never been ok with my career, and whenever I’d go off to shoot a film with a kissing scene, or just be with male co-stars, there was a lot of jealousy. I went through a lot of hurt during that time because I was getting roles that were exciting professionally but then had to combat it with the berating and heartache from someone who was supposed to be one of my biggest supporters. It wasn’t as if I was working some other job and then decided to be in movies. He met me as a working actress. This is who I’ve always been. From an outside perspective, it’s hard to believe how he could’ve been so sloppy, but once I started finding things it all unfolded like it would in a movie.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Gabrielle Stone by Clicking Here!

 

 

 

Interview: Jean Watts Discusses Her Etherally-Charged Single, ‘Feel The Same’

Singer-songwriter Jean Watts’ music can best be described as an eclectic combination of beautiful but dark. But the alluring songstress also proves she’s a force to be reckoned with. Case in point, her ethereally charged single, “Feel The Same,” which is equally as evocative as it is addicting. With a hauntingly infectious groove, soulful vocals and an accompanying music video that’s one part symbolic metaphor (complete with car explosion) and one part action film, Watts sings of taking back control in times of deep despair.

In addition to “Feel The Same” Watts is currently preparing to release even more new music that will be followed by a proper round of touring.

I recently spoke with Jean Watts about “Feel The Same”, her creative process and much more in this exclusive new interview.

To those who might not be familiar, how would you describe your sound?

Jean Watts: I’d describe it as beautiful but dark. Anthemic, but also real and inspiring. I want it to touch a lot of sensitive areas in a special way. That’s what I strive for with every song.

What attracted you to the song, “Feel The Same?”

I was in a session, working on my own tracks, one day when my producer showed it to me. Usually, I don’t partake in tracks that I didn’t write or have a hand in producing but I loved this track so much and felt it was a perfect fit with everything else we’re about to put out. I love the meaning behind it.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Jean Watts by Clicking Here!

Interview: Stop Thrust’s Jordan Kai Burnett and Claron Hayden Discuss Their Unique Brand of Blues-Punk

Rising from the musical landscape of Astoria, a neighborhood in Queens, NY, blues-punk band Stop Thrust has been slowly making a name for themselves.

What makes the band so incredibly unique, aside from the often dual-perspective comparison to acts like July Talk and The Dead Weather, is that all four members of the group are seasoned pros of the musical theater. This offers another dynamic layer of craft to the band’s already impassioned performances.

The band will be performing at the legendary Rockwood Music Hall on Monday, July 8th before celebrating the release of their long-awaited EP at The LetLove Inn in Astoria, Queens on Wednesday, August 14.

Stop Thrust is: Jordan Kai Burnett (vocals), Claron Hayden (vocals, guitar), Will Schnurr (bass) and Matt Wills (drums).

I recently spoke with Jordan Kai Burnett and Claron Hayden about Stop Thrust and more in this exclusive new interview.

How would describe your brand of music?

Jordan Kai Burnett: We went down a rabbit looking at all kinds of bands we love and how they identify themselves and the way that music has evolved. When it comes down to it we like to call it blues-punk.

Claron Hayden: We’ve been influenced a lot by the associated acts coming out of Third Man Records — Jack White from The White Stripes, who’s now with Alison Mosshart [The Kills] in The Dead Weather. There’s also a Canadian band, July Talk, that’s inspired us. They add two perspectives the entire time and not just in a one or two song thing.

JKB: They’re a huge influence because of the male/female dynamic and the gritty, sexy nature of their music.

How did Stop Thrust come together?

CH: All of us have worked professionally in theater and other projects in music. Matt and I have actually known each other since we were kids. Jordan was in the process of developing material for a solo project and the two of us had done a few songwriting sessions where we compared notes and music. It came to a head that what we both actually wanted was to build a band that was fun, energetic and had a shared, dueling perspective between both angles inside of a relationship.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Stop Thrust by Clicking Here!

Goodbye Palmer Elementary

It was the suddeness of the hypnagogic jerk that roused me from my sleep. It’s centrifugal force igniting every molecule of my brain back into consciousness. My eyes opened to the sight of the ceiling fan gently rotating above my head. Nearby, the metal vents on the floor rattled with a soothing clinking sound as cool, conditioned air made its way from the basement into the living room where I lay.

I’d been power napping on the couch for a little more than five minutes. Something I tend to do frequently on weekends these days, especially when I’m out late the night before. Although I do enjoy these afternoon breaks from reality they rarely last longer than fifteen minutes. What can I tell you, I’m old. Not “Hey you kids! Get off my f#cking lawn” old, but more of a “It’s Saturday afternoon and I feel like taking a nap” old. There’s a difference.

I gazed over at the clock and noticed the time: 2:00 p.m. I sat up quickly and pursed my lips. “There’s something I need to be doing today,” I thought to myself. “Somthing important and, if I don’t act quickly enough, something I’m going to miss.” I fished the cell phone from my pants pocket and glared at the calendar app, where I saw the overdue notification blaring on the screen:

“Walk Through.. Palmer School”

I rose from the sofa with all the energy of a grizzly bear that’d just woken from a winter hibernation. With cracking knees and slight disorientation I grabbed the keys from the kitchen counter and made my way to the car.

Palmer Elementary is part of the Easton Area School District and, if memory serves me correctly (remember, I said that I’m old), it’s the oldest one still being used under the same name. The school is unique because it’s actually two buildings in one. The original one is called The Cole building and the other attached structure, built a few years later, is referred to as The Auld building. About the only thing I remember about Palmer Elementary was its odd, sprawling shape, and the green-tiled walls and wooden stage that were now riddled with the ghosts of generations of students who’d spent kindergarten through fifth grade roaming it’s corridors from September until June each year.

The school is now scheduled to be demolished and replaced with a new, state of the art strucuture, but the district was kind enough to let people walk through its hallowed halls one final time before it’s leveled into dust. I only attended Palmer for one year, fifth grade, back in 1979. A mind boggling thought to consider forty years later.

All Purpose Room

As a fifth grader, I was confined to The Auld building and as I entered the door to that part of the school again I felt a wave of emotion rush over me. My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be able to find the homeroom class where I’d spent most of my time. Heck, I couldn’t even remember the room number, even though I suddenly recalled it was something familiar that I could easily associate with.

As I trudged through the corridors I found myself walking in a certain direction. I passed something that was once called The All Purpose Room; a large room with filing cabinets, chairs and even a stage for talent shows. It was there that I recalled it’s significance. On June 5th, 1980 this room served as the location for Palmer’s Silent Spelling Bee where me and a bunch of my teammates came in second place.

It was the most exciting thing that ever happened to me at school up to that point, because the entire Spelling Bee was being filmed live on this crazy new contraption called a video recorder. Our tiny little selves could actually watch our performances on the television screen almost instantly after it happened!

As I walked out of that room my thoughts raced back to the Second Place ribbon I’d kept from that day. One that, almost 40 years later, still resides in a curio cabniet is my office.

I exited the all-purpose room and into another winding corridor that led past the gym, where the smell of old wood and the blood, sweat and tears of youth still lingered heavily. It was then that my strides began to come more in earnest, as if I knew there was some place I needed to be. I walked past doors with signs printed on them that said “Janitor,” “Teachers” and “Boiler Room,” along with black, scuff-marked floors from decades of abuse by children’s boots and shoes. Each sign and scrape as oddly familiar as the nose on my face. Finally, I came to the beginning of a single long corridor, and my heart skipped a beat.

“It’s down here,” a youthful voice inside my head said. “Down here on the left! Take your time. It’s not the last room, but the one just before it.”

Room 409

I started doubting myself. Could it be possible that I’d actually remember the exact location of my homeroom? A school that I’d only spent one year of my life in? I trudged the corridor, peeking into each room on the way down as I slowly made my way toward the end.

Finally, with my heart still racing, I came to the second to last classroom on the left. I peered at the number that hung above the door and laughed out loud. It was Room 409. The same number as that f#cking cleaning product, Formula 409. THAT was how I’d always remembered my 5th grade classroom!! I stood there, staring at those three digits for the longest time, remembering the ten year old boy who regularly walked through it’s archway and into learning. Although I was hesitant about entering nearly forty years after I’d last walked out, I nonetheless forced myself inside.

Room 409, just like all the other classrooms in the building, was completely empty, but my mind quickly filled in the blanks. I could once again see the desks that were occupied by me and my classmates. I could see my teacher, Ms. Reiersen, with her dirty-blonde bob, standing at the blackboard near her desk lecturing. I remembered looking out the window at the monkey bars and longing for recess. I recalled the hottest of days in May when the open windows did little to relieve the unbearable heat. It was in this room where I learned about reading and social studies. It was also where me and my friend Steve came up with the idea of auditioning for the school talent show by wearing paper bags over our heads and doing a skit called “Unknown Comic News.”

If you don’t know who The Unknown Comic is, look him up on YouTube.

I walked the room very slowly taking it all in, running my fingers softly along the walls and reading the memories people had scrawled on the chalk board. I pushed on the closet doors to see where my childhood coat once hung. Yes, it still took a herculean effort to open them. I thought about all the kids that went to school with me at Palmer and how forty years had passed by in a blink of an eye. That’s when it hit me that all of us will be turning 50 this year

Well, they are, I can’t possibly be THAT old.

After what seemed like a lifetime (in reality, it was) it was time to say goodbye to Room 409, Palmer School, and that long ago part of my life. I’m not afraid to admit that I looked back several times through glassy eyes to see if time would stop. Of course, it didn’t.

I’d taken a lot of pictures to remember this day but something still felt missing, and then I realized what it was. I walked back to the board, grabbed a chunk of chalk from the tray and, the same way I would’ve done forty years ago, scribbled a final message.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview: Caly Bevier Discusses Her Edgy New Single, “Hate U Sometimes”

Photo: Lindsey Byrnes

It’s been a surreal four-year journey for L.A-based pop artist Caly Bevier. Following a trajectory that included overcoming a stage-three cancer diagnosis, earning herself a Golden Buzzer on NBC’s America’s Got Talent — where she was sent directly to the semi-finals by judge Simon Cowell — and an insatiable debut single, “Head Held High,” the inspiring singer-songwriter is back with her brand-new track. The edgy and ethereal “Hate U Sometimes.”

The song is a hauntingly inspired, groove-ridden track with universal appeal. One that describes the empathetic, and at times confrontational, feelings between significant others, partners, and family members.

All relationships have their ups and downs, but Bevier’s message resonates on much a deeper level. A sentiment that says even though we may not always agree, at the end of the day, we can still hold firm to our commitments to each other and say, “You know I love you, don’t you?”

I recently spoke with Bevier about “Hate U Sometimes” and more in this exclusive interview.

What can you tell me about your new single, “Hate U Sometimes?”

Normally, I’ll write all of my songs, but “Hate U Sometimes” was one that was sent to me. I could relate to it on so many different levels. I went in and helped re-write a few parts and the bridge. That’s how it came about.

What’s your typical songwriting process like?

It all happens naturally with producers and writers. Sometimes I’ll go into a session with a bunch of ideas that I may or may not use. Typically, the producers are the ones who will start a track, and then I’ll go lay down some melodies and lyrics.

How would you describe your sound?

I’ve been living in L.A. the past few years building a sound that I’d consider to be edgy-pop. What’s cool is that, in the future, I can go deeper into a more alternative-pop sound. Artists that inspire me are Halsey and Billie Eilish.

You’ve gotten to work with songwriters like Bonnie McKee, who’s worked with Katy Perry among others. What was it like collaborating with her?

It was extremely cool. Bonnie was in one of my first sessions and taught me how to do melodies and be comfortable with getting my ideas across. As a woman, you sometimes feel shy and might not want to say the line. She taught me to be confident and that’s really helped me grow as an artist.

Read the rest of my
Interview with Caly Bevier by Clicking Here!