EAST HARLEM, NY—VH-1 Classic’s That Metal Show featuring my buds Eddie Trunk, Don Jamieson and Jim Florentine made its triumphant return to New York City this past January to film season 13 of the hit metal talk show after taking the show from New York to film in sunny Los Angeles. With the weather the way it’s been, can you really blame them? Regardless, now that they were home, I was determined to sit in on a live taping of the show, but which show would I want to sit in on? After receiving a list of upcoming guests through a press release, my eyes honed in on Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars, and anyone who knows me knows this choice was a no-brainer. So, I made a few phone calls, sent a few emails and I was in!
The day came and I covered myself in Mötley Crüe garb. The drive into Harlem, where the studio was located, was a breeze, but finding parking around the studio was quite a task. After finding parking six blocks away, we walked to the studio where we were given That Metal Show bracelets to wear. As we were ushered in, we were searched by security, who I thought did a better job than the TSA at airports, and then escorted downstairs to an audience waiting tank where they took our coats. I was lucky enough to have scheduled an interview with Don Jamieson an hour before taping, so we were brought up to his dressing room. On our way up, we ran into the day’s guest, Mick Mars. Did I freak? You bet your ass I did since Mick was one of my four heroes since I was a kid, but I kept my cool and acted professional.
After my interview with Don, we were brought back downstairs to wait to be brought into the TV studio. I have to say that this production was a well-oiled machine. We walked onto the set of That Metal Show, a set that many of us viewers have seen every Saturday night for the past 13 seasons. As a fan of the show, this whole experience was pretty surreal and overwhelming and not to mention, the set looked much smaller than it does on TV. Our escort pointed us in the direction to sit in the bleacher seating area. There were cameras all over the place and as the time drew near for the filming to begin, the stage manager, Raf, came out to greet the crowd and make them run through a bunch of B-roll shots for the show’s editors to use. I thought this was pretty interesting.
Next, Raf introduced the show’s musical guest, who would play guitar into the commercial breaks, and it was none other than Tom Keifer from Cinderella. This taping was getting better and better! Filming began with the introduction of our three heroes, Eddie, Don and Jim, who would bring out Metal Church guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof for the “Top 5” and then eventually Mick Mars, who received a standing ovation. As I said earlier, this production was one well-oiled machine. Along with the interview, the guys burned through stapled segments like “Put It On The Table,” “Pick Of The Week,” “The Throwdown” and the extremely popular “Stump The Trunk.” Oh, and I can’t leave out the beautiful Jennifer Gottlieb, who was very easy on the eyes. You almost wanted Eddie to get the answers wrong so that Jennifer can come out with the box of junk.
When taping finally wrapped up, the audience was allowed to talk to Eddie, Don, Jim and Jennifer, but we also had access to Tom Keifer, Kurdt Vanderhoof and of course, Mick Mars. Yes, I did bowl people over just to get to Mick. I have to say that my class trip experience to the set of That Metal Show was a pleasant one and one that I would love to do again. If you ever have the chance to go to a taping, I highly recommend that you do! Especially if you’re a hard rock and heavy metal fan! Catch That Metal Show every Saturday night at 11 p.m. on VH-1 Classic.