Testament: Keeping You Young At Heart

We Have Been Wanting To Play Soundwave For Years!!

Testament are pretty much the happiest thrash mongers this summer; after numerous attempts to jump onto the Soundwave bandwagon the time has now come for these titans to bring the blast to the crowds of this year’s Soundwave Festival. Testament are currently in preparation mode for the festival in which they have postponed writing material for their next album to enjoy the splendour down under. Metal As Fuck recently caught up with the powerhouse himself; Chuck Billy to chat about their anticipations of their Australian tour, his time at the recent Metal Masters show and all things thrash.

So you guys have had ample time to recuperate after a massive touring schedule of late, what have been some of the highlights over the past twelve months? “Well, we finished the last tour up on Christmas so we got time to relax over the holidays. It’s good to be at home, just chill…. Recently I was a part of the Metal Masters show down in Anaheim and since then just warming up and getting ready for the new record”. 

Due to the nonstop touring, how do you guys generally keep energized whilst on the road? “We always try to find things to do – enjoy a day off here and there, get away from being in a crowd you know, it’s always harder in the winter because of course you just want to stay inside. The summer time though is much easier, you can go outside for a walk or a run or a bike ride, get away and enjoy yourself a little bit. But it depends where we’re touring at the time”.

It has been mentioned that there has been a lot of young (we’ll say new) Testament fans popping up over this last run of tours; good to see you guys are still influencing the generations. “Yeah the last tour was with Lamb of God & Killswitch Engage so there was definitely a different age group coming to those shows which I think we captured a lot of new fans, that had heard of Testament but hadn’t seen one of our shows, we ended up meeting and picking up a lot of new fans that who were turned on by the style of thrash metal”. It has been thrash in particular which has been one of the oldest forms of metal; a style of which will never be out of style, so I guess you guys will have to keep on playing forever. “I agree [Laughs] I hope so, I think that this style and being in Testament all these years has kept us young at heart in a way. I still feel like a kid, when I go on tour, when I get onstage. I just keep that mind frame of having a good time”.

Getting back in time to your teenage years, what were some of the bands that you hoped to tour with at some stage of your career? “Fortunately I have been able to tour with a lot of the bands I loved as a kid; Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden. We’ve played festivals with Kiss and the Scorpions and a lot of bands that I loved growing up and it makes you really take a whole other look at things, as a kid in a band you never think in a million years that you could one day share the stage with some of your heroes, it’s an incredible experience”.

You mentioned a minute ago that you had attended the Metal Masters – how was that experience? “It was awesome! We played with the guys from Megadeth, Anthrax, Pantera and a bunch of great drummers; all these top notch musicians and we helped them play songs from a bunch of bands that we loved growing up with. I don’t get to do that every day so it was a lot of fun – the crowd really enjoyed it because it’s also not every day they get to see a show with that sort of all star lineup on stage at the same time. It was sort of like a revolving door of awesome musicians [Laughs] it was cool”.

Another reason you guys have been busy of late is promoting that monstrous double disc live album The Dark Roots of Thrash taken the world by storm it has “We just did this one because our last was about 2005 that time was around when we had the original lineup which involved most of the classic stuff of Testament – this latest live album got to show more of where we are at today rather than just the classics”.

The big question is though, when does writing for the new record commence? “We’re actually writing right now, we weren’t going to do any heavy touring this year until we finished the record… but then we got offered Soundwave and we couldn’t pass that up! We’ve been trying to get on Soundwave for many years, we finally got invited so we were like, yep; taking a break [Laughs] it will be nice though because right now, where we are, its cold and miserable so it’s going to be nice to head to Australia and get some sun”. We are very happy that you guys are finally coming to Soundwave, what do you have in store for the punters? “We are going to cover a lot of territories of Testament, a lot of songs from The Gathering, Dark Roots... and of course some classics, we haven’t been told our timeslot or how long we’re playing or Sidewaves, so we’re still up in the air, but we will be ready! I like both intimate and big festivals yet we haven’t had the chance to play a festival in Australia before so we are going to be on fire!”.