Eddie Trunk On The Axl Rose Controversy: “Knowing What I Know About The Hall, I Like Him Even More For Standing Up To This Whole Thing”

by (@unclegrambo)

The buzz surrounding the rock royalty that will be in attendance for the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame’s 2012 induction ceremony this weekend is currently being overshadowed by the buzz surrounding the one person who will NOT be in attendance. Of course, we’re talking about the one and only W. Axl Rose, who gave the Hall the proverbial middle finger last night with his open letter declaring his refusal to be inducted alongside his former bandmates in Guns N’ Roses.

This declaration has sent shockwaves through the tight-knit community of hard rock supporters, so we thought who better to reach out to help us contextualize these developments than the host of That Metal Show himself, Mr. Eddie Trunk. Eddie has been communicating with his fans through his official @EddieTrunk Twitter account ever since the news broke, but we were able to get him on the phone earlier afternoon for an extended conversation about these controversial events. We caught up with him when he was playing blackjack (and winning!) at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, and as you might expect, he had LOTS to share about Axl, the likelihood of an eventual GNR reunion, his interest in creating an institution to rival the RRHOF, and his disdain for the Hall’s inductee selection process.

EDDIE ON WHETHER OR NOT HE WAS SURPRISED BY AXL’S DECISION:
“I’ve got to say, I was not surprised at all. Anybody who has followed, listened or watched me knows that not only do I have disdain for the Hall and the way they treat rock bands, but I never thought there was a chance in hell that Guns N’ Roses would play. Reading his letter, of course there’s deeper things there. Axl’s a complicated guy, everybody knows that. I thought it was extremely remote that Axl would ever show up.”

EDDIE ON WHY AXL DECIDED TO BOW OUT OF THE CEREMONY:
“When we sat down to talk to him about it on That Metal Show, he seemed like it was at that point he wanted to take a look at it and see what was involved in it. Judging from his letter, he clearly did look at it, had conversations with them, and saw that it wasn’t for him. Here’s why I think that this happened: He had issues with the Hall. Listen, if he doesn’t even want to be inducted, obviously something really went wrong there in the discussions. Purely speculating, I can tell you that this is a guy, for right or wrong, completely wants to promote and embrace his current band. This induction is NOT about his current band; they’re not included. He saw this for what it really was. If he stands up on stage with Slash and those guys, it’s going to throw a huge gallon of gas on this reunion outcry, and it’s the last thing he wants. I know the fans want it, but I can tell you this: I know all of the original members of GNR better than Axl, and none of them, with the exception of maybe Steven Adler, ever talk about a reunion. They’re all focused on their other projects.”

EDDIE ON THE “REAL” REASON THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME IS INDUCTING GNR IN THEIR FIRST YEAR OF ELIGIBILITY:

“Looking at the Guns N’ Roses situation, let’s be honest here. This was about the Hall, who clearly need a boost in their turnstiles in Cleveland, serving their purposes: Stirring up some legitimate buzz from rock fans, getting ratings for HBO —their new broadcast partner— and all that. To put them on during their first year of eligibility? Van Halen didn’t even get that! This is about the Hall needing the boost that comes with the talk of a possible Guns N’ Roses reunion. Cutting to the chase, I’m just thrilled that the Hall didn’t get what they wanted. This was not about the Hall having some great love and respect for GNR. This is about the Hall needing to be able to say, ‘Look, we got all the guys on stage at the same time, and we’re the catalyst for the reunion.’ And that’s not gonna happen! The Hall has snubbed and continues to snub tons of iconic bands, it’s nice to see them get snubbed. For once, the Hall didn’t get their way.”

EDDIE ON THE FAN OUTRAGE:
“This thing about it’s Axl disrepecting the fans is total BS. I’m a fan of GNR, i don’t need the RRHOF to validate them. How someone would stop being a GNR fan if they are currently because Axl Rose decided not to stand on stage with a bunch of people he hasn’t played with in over 15 years and accept an honor that was not voted in by the fans is beyond my comprehension.

“I think the fans will get over it. Just looking at the people who have been tweeting me, there are fans that completely agree and love what Axl has done and agree 100% and get it, and there’s some that feel really offended. If you’re an Axl Rose fan —meaning, a current Guns N’ Roses lineup fan— and you’re going to these shows and you’re waiting 2, 3, 4 hours for him to come on, is this really going to change your opinion of him? I don’t think that. Because he doesn’t want to go to a private club’s party on their terms? At the end of the day, the people who are really upset about this, are the people who thought this was going to lead to a reunion. This has been, from Day 1, first and foremost that. Instigating a reunion of the original band, and the Hall getting the pop for being the catalyst doing that.”

EDDIE ON HOW THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME TREATS ROCK FANS:
“Let’s be honest here, it’s not about the fans. The fans don’t even get to VOTE for the Hall of Fame. That’s the thing that also gets lost in this. I think that the fans who are getting outraged about this are outraged for one reason — they thought it would be a spark for a reunion. I don’t need the RRHOF to validate that GNR is a great band. I certainly don’t need a private club to tell me that, and that’s what they are! The whole thing is a sham.”

EDDIE ON THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME’S CREDIBILITY AS AN INSTITUTION:
“I think it’s a joke. I have been as vocal about it as much as I can on radio and TV. Alice Cooper was ignored for 15 years before he went in last year. I do it to expose the hypocrisy and blatant disrespect they have for rock and heavy rock music. It’s gone on for decades and nothing has changed.”

EDDIE ON WHETHER OR NOT HE WOULD JOIN THE RRHOF COMMITTEE IF THEY INVITED HIM:
“I had the President of the Hall on my radio show not long ago. We discussed some of these things and they know exactly how I feel. Would I be opposed to it? No. But, I would only be open to it if it was going to give me an opportunity to make legitimate change to something that is so incredibly flawed. If it was only to shut me up, I wouldn’t waste my time. I have no stake in this, I’m just a fan who has a larger platform than most to expose the hypocrisy of this thing. That’s all it’s about for me.”

EDDIE ON THE POTENTIAL TO START A RIVAL TO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME:
“I’ve been urged by people forever to try and start a real Rock Hall of Fame. I’ve had some very, very preliminary discussions about doing it. Obviously, I can’t do it myself, but there are a lot of people interested in that. Who knows where this is going to do down the line.”

For more from Eddie Trunk, be sure to tune-in to watch That Metal Show each and every Saturday night at 11 p.m. ET/10 CT on VH1 Classic. You can also follow Eddie on Twitter (@eddietrunk), and find out his thoughts on this and many other matters on his official website, EddieTrunk.com.