Jim Florentine on ‘That Metal Show”s Return and Why We Shouldn’t Care About the Grammys
After far too long a wait, 'That Metal Show' returns on Feb. 21 for its 14th season on VH1 Classic. Each episode finds noted metal-radio hero Eddie Trunk teaming up with comedians Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson to discuss and debate hard rock and metal news and history in creative ways. The trio will interview Geddy Lee of Rush on this season's opening episode, and Dream Theater's John Petrucci will sit in as guest guitarist.
We talked to Florentine about how the three got together, how 'That Metal Show' has changed over the years and why we shouldn't care that heavy metal artists are regularly disrespected by the music industry:
Do you find it hard to believe that you’ve been doing this show for seven years now?
It’s insane. Thank God we’re on a channel, VH1 Classic, where they give the show time to grow and not worry big-time about ratings. If we were on a big network, like Fox or something, if we didn’t get a rating, we’d be off the air after three weeks. it’s great that they let the show grow and pick up on its own. Some people didn’t really find it until last year, after it’s been on this long. So it’s been amazing, for a TV show to be on seven years and 14 seasons.
Geddy Lee is going to be on this season's first episode. Does that make you think about how much things have changed since Rush was on back in your first season?
Rush definitely helped, you know, being on the first season. It gave us credibility when we had Alex [Lifeson] and Geddy on. You know, because nobody even knew what the show was about. It’s great that six, seven years later, Geddy’s willing to come back on -- it’s awesome.
How exactly did you get together with Don, Eddie and 'That Metal Show?'
Me and Don were stand-up comics, and Eddie was on the radio, he’s been on the radio in New York City for years. Every Friday night he would have a heavy metal show on one of the local rock stations here. And me and Don would be driving home from a comedy show on a Friday night, and we’d always put Eddie’s show on, like, ‘Man, this guy likes all the same music we like. This is crazy, how do we not know this guy?’ Then we met him at a concert a few months after that, and he said, ‘Hey, you guys should come on my show. We’ll talk music and crack some jokes. And then after we sat in a few times, Eddie was already working at VH1 Classic. He goes, 'I’m going to try to pitch a show, basically a talk show with the three of us.' And next thing I knew, we had a show.
Had you done any interviews before you started the show? Were you nervous?
No, I didn’t do any. But, you know, I’ve been a metalhead since I was a little kid. I’ve been waiting to ask these questions to these guys for years, I don’t even have to do research.
Does it bother you that Tenacious D won this year's Grammy for Best Metal Performance?
I wasn’t even following it … No, it doesn’t bother me because being a metalhead, you know, you’re anti-establishment anyway. You always got s— on by the masses. So why does everybody want to be part of the masses now? Whether it’s the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Grammys, or something like that, who cares? I think it’s more cool not to be nominated and not to be part of that. They don’t know what the hell they’re doing. They give Motorhead a Grammy a couple of years ago for a Metallica cover, come on.
So what music are you currently into?
I really like the new Slipknot record -- that’s great, love that. There’s a band that opened for them on their last tour, King 810, out of Flint, Mich. I love those guys, they’ve got a really good debut album out. And then I know Danko Jones has got a new record out. He’s been around a while, I always enjoy his stuff, he’s got great hard rock songs. The new Black Star Riders, I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m really excited about that -- you know, those guys from Thin Lizzy.
Are there any new bands that you think could become future classic rock stars?
There is a good band that reminds me of classic rock, southern rock, a band called Blackberry Smoke, you can definitely hear that Skynyrd influence. I dig those guys a lot. They’ve been around 10 years, put about four records out, they’re great. They’ve got the Lynyrd Skynyrd crowd, it’s perfect.
Let's do some quick predictions. Do you think we'll get a new Metallica album this year?
Hmm ... yeah. Between like November and February, I’d say.
Okay, how about Guns N' Roses?
What, the original?
No, the current lineup.
No. Supposedly there’s like two or three albums already written. I don’t know if it’s gonna see the light of day. Maybe it’s gonna take a little while. Hopefully it will [come out], I like the last record. I know a lot of people were down on it -- before it even came out — but there was some really good stuff on there.
You can (and should) keep up with Jim's stand-up comedy dates, podcast and radio show at JimFlorentine.com.
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