Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal By Eddie Trunk Abrams Publishing, 240 pp. $19.95.
If hard rock and heavy-metal journalism have their own Eddie Murrow, it's Eddie Trunk. Via his web site, as a co-host of VH1 Classic's That Metal Show, and his programs on both terrestrial and satellite radio, Trunk brings a professional's objectivity and a fan's passion together in one persona.
In this book, Trunk picks 35 "essential" bands of the genre, from AC/DC, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth to Poison, Rush, Slayer, and Van Halen. Each group gets a chapter that runs down their history, discography, obscure trivia, and Trunk's own suggested "playlist."
But what makes the book a joy to read are Trunk's own anecdotes and stories of his interactions with musicians over the years - including some of whom became personal friends, like Ronnie James Dio and Rob Halford - as well as his brutally-honest opinions about some of their career moves and music.
Trunk may be the biggest KISS fan on the planet, but he still takes Gene and Paul to task for putting Ace and Peter's makeup on two different players. He also spotlights overlooked music from many groups. Overall, it's enough to satisfy both the neophyte and the hardcore of any act.
The book also looks great with high-quality, slick paper, mostly unseen concert shots spanning years, and band memorabilia.
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If there is a quibble, it's that the chapters aren't long enough, and Trunk does repeat a few of the same stories. (Yes, we know he's friends with baseball's Mike Piazza...) Minor issues to be sure. Hard rock and heavy metal music have no better champion and critic than Eddie Trunk, and this book reflects that in abundance.
For more about Eddie Trunk, visit www.eddietrunk.com.