Rock Reads: Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal by Eddie Trunk

Reviewed by Kevin Wierzbicki

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Trunk is the co-host of VH1 Classic's That Metal Show and also the voice behind numerous syndicated radio shows and he's not just a knowledgeable super fan of all things heavy; he's considered a pal by the likes of Slash, Rob Halford, Bret Michaels, Tommy Lee, Rob Zombie and Steven Tyler. So what you have here is an insider's look at thirty-five rock and metal bands (alphabetically that's AC/DC through Van Halen) portrayed through Trunk's conversational narrative and lots of color photos shot by Ron Akiyama. This is not a tell all book by any means but Trunk's recollections are always entertaining, sometimes focusing on the humorous, like the time Anthrax trashed his hotel room by filling it with shaving cream and things less savory. There are sad moments too as Trunk recalls his last interview with the late Ronnie James Dio and his final on-air moment with the departed Dimebag Darrel. But the book is meant to be a celebration and fans will love how Trunk lovingly recounts hundreds of "you did what?!?" moments, always keeping the focus on the stars. Each chapter also has a listing of each band's line-up and any significant changes it endured, the group's discography, a "Did You Know" factoid about the band or one of it's members, and an "Eddie's Playlist" feature that lists Trunk's favorite songs by each act. Each chapter is also decorated with reproductions of ticket stubs and backstage passes and plenty of shots by Akiyama, the value of which cannot be overstated; shots like Gene Simmons breathing fire onstage or Ozzy Osbourne embracing guitarist Jake E. Lee bristle with just as much energy as the printed words they accompany. With chapters on Pantera, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Rainbow, Cheap Trick, Black Sabbath, UFO and Megadeth to name just a few, this handbook is a keeper with something to thrill any hard rock or metal fan.

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