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Eddie Trunk Teases Axl Rose Interview: Former GN’R Members, Tardiness + More

Eddie Trunk
Theo Wargo, Getty Images

Eddie Trunk and VH1 Classic’s ‘That Metal Show’ nailed the mother of all interviews when they sat down with press-shy Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose, who had not granted a televised interview in a decade.’ We checked in with Trunk about the sit down with Axl — we know, that sounds so very ‘Godfather’ — and he gave us an inkling of what to expect (no reunion talk, humor regarding his notorious tardiness, his positive energy about the band in 2011 and more) when the episode airs on a special time and date, which is this Friday, Nov. 11, at 11PM ET on VH1 Classic.

When you finally got face time with Axl, it was 6 AM.

That’s Axl time.

I know. His world. We live in it. Were you ever at your boiling point, like “Eff this” or did you think, “We gotta hold on and see if we get him?” Since by 6 AM, I can imagine you were petty cranky and fatigued by waiting so many hours.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was ready to pack it in a couple of times, but I was not mad at Axl. I was not ‘Eff this guy.’ There was lots of conflicting information. We went there without a firm commitment. It was something we were told by his people — that if you come, there is a chance you could get him to sit down. We were never given a time. It was very loose. The network felt it was worth taking a shot.

Axl and I have history. Five years ago, he walked into my radio show. We were ready to go for this interview from 3 PM on. We were ready to go at 3:30 or 5:30, whenever. The only thing that would have gotten us to leave was if he left. When he went onstage at midnight and played a three-hour set, the minute he took the stage, I turned to everyone in the crew and said, ‘This is not going to happen tonight.’

Why? Axl seems like a night owl…

This could be the last thing he is going to do. He likes to go out, hit South Beach. I thought, ‘If we don’t get him before he goes onstage … we won’t.’ But credit my producer Jeff, who was not giving it up. We were going to stay until were were told he had left the building!

Waiting for the “Gentlemen, Axl has left the building” declaration, Elvis Presley-style!

When he got offstage at 3, some of the guys in the band that I know were texting, ‘He is still here, having a drink, winding down.’ I kept hearing, from his camp, that he didn’t know that we’re here. So communication was blurry.

Was any topic off limits with him? Did you have to submit a list of questions? Did you have any leeway with him or your line of questioning?

There was nothing we could not talk about with the exception that someone requested we did not ask about reunion tours. The reason being — and I get this — the fact that Axl really feels he is into this lineup of the band. He feels this is a great time for this version of the band and is optimistic about how this band is sounding, the connection and fun they are having. They feel it is disrespectful to those guys, the minute he sits down, to ask, “Reunion? Reunion? Reunion?” He wanted to show where he is today instead of dwelling on past. We respected that.

He might have stormed off if you asked about it and then you’d get nothing.

There really was enough to talk about! The thing that should not get lost is that his band was really good. If the show sucked, he sucked or the band sucked, we would have to have asked about the reunion. He is in a good place and it was he who brought up old members of Guns N’ Roses. He was positive and reflective about them, and excited about what he is doing now!

Did he share anything super revelatory?

The thing I took away the most is that he is into this version of the band. He is a misunderstood guy. I asked him about going on so late, and he joked how that has been a 20-year problem, and even referred back to him being a child, working next door to where he grew up, and couldn’t get there on time, either! People will get the feeling that he feels good about new management he has. He feels good about this band. He feels that ‘Chinese Democracy’ has settled in. And his crowd is now a lot of young people, and that is the case outside of America. How the music has turned over is interesting when it comes to him.

Watch a Preview of Axl Rose on ‘That Metal Show’

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