I found this book by chance in a local music shop and after flicking through it quickly, it was clear that this was a necessary purchase. Author Eddie Trunk is a music fan, whose relation to the music business dates back to the early eighties, writing for the local highschool newspaper and starting the "Metal Mania" radio show in 1983, and has continued through the decades, including working for Megaforce Records, hosting "That Metal Show" on VH1 Classic, several Radio shows and many other gigs.
I'd never heard of Eddie Trunk prior to reading this book, but now I feel like I practically know the guy. "Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal" is highly entertaining on both a musical and personal level. You could say the book had me at hello since Eddie opens his introduction with the words: "I started writing not because I thought I was a great wordsmith, but for the same reason I went into radio a few years later: to share the music I loved with others and to spread the word about all those underappreciated bands out there." In writing that, he mirrors my exact motivation for spending my time on creating this website.
Throughout the book, Eddie writes about the history of specific bands and his relationship with them, including a wide array of interesting and often funny anecdotes of hanging out with, and interviewing them. Each band section includes a discography, recommended places to begin discovering that band, favorite song playlists, excellent photos and other tidbits.
The book delivers a ton of interesting facts, stories, recommendations and genuine love for the music. Eddie's writing style is casual and laid back, but with enough bite to keep things entertaining. Eddie Trunk comes off as a true professional both completely honest and blunt at the same time, not afraid to lay his opinion on the line and yet objective enough to not lose respect.
What is clearly a compliment to content of the book, I felt a strong urge, after reading each chapter, to dive into each band's catalogue, expand my existing collection and listen to their music, even though I already had a relationship with each band. I discovered a new angle on some bands and that single band, I did not know (Billy Squier), has since been a nice surprise to discover.
As the title of the book implies, the bands described in the book are essential to the world of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music from the point of view of the author. Whether you agree with this or not will be a matter of taste and your impression of said history. Eddie Trunk's selection is probably based on many factors, his taste being just one. Clearly there is not enough actual heavy metal here, only about 30%. There is also a focus on well known "mainstream" bands. I miss my own favorite bands since none of the bands in my personal Top 10 are mentioned, so ideally it would have been nice with some features on lesser known bands for the book to live up to those words in the introduction I referenced earlier. Then again, I could just write my own book: "Steen's Obscure Hard Rock and Heavy Metal", which absolutely no one would buy.
I enjoyed this book immensely and was happy to discover that Eddie already has written a sequel, to be released wordwide on September 24. I was hoping for words on bands Like Savatage, Manowar, Dream Theater, Enuff Z'nuff, Virgin Steele and Fates Warning. Bands that are all essential in my world of music. I am pleased to see at least a few of these included in Volume 2.
To buy this book from Amazon follow one of these links: UK - US
For more information on Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Vol 2 go to this link.
The list of bands featured in this book includes the following:
Guns N' Roses
Written By Steen
Online: Thursday, September 12, 2013