Chad Bowar of About Heavy Metal recently conducted an interview with vocalist Chuck Billy of San Francisco Bay Area thrashers Testament. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
About Heavy Metal: How come you decided to put together a special tour edition of your "The Formation Of Damnation" CD?
Chuck Billy: It was something we spoke about doing early on, when we were touring last year. It wasn't pulled together in time. Then when the "American Carnage" tour came up with Slayer and Megadeth, the record label decided it was time to put this out. It has some cool stuff on there, like when we performed live at Alcatraz in the mess hall at night. It was a pretty cool vibe.
What's the status of your next studio CD?
We've been working on it since October. We weren't really planning to tour this year. We passed on a summer tour, but then "American Carnage" came up and we took it. We decided to do the tour, then come home and finish the record. We had hoped to get the record out by the end of the year.
Dave Ellefson just rejoined Megadeth after being out of the band for several years. You guys have had that same thing happen with an old member coming back. What's that dynamic like when they a member returns after a long absence?
For us it was amazing. At the first rehearsal together, we knew the material wasn't the tightest, but the second day it was like we never left. It was locked in. There's something to having the guys who wrote the songs perform them. We've been fortunate to have a lot of great musicians in the band, but it's not the same as the original members playing it.
On the Megadeth tour you'll be playing "The Legacy" in its entirety. How was it going back and relearning the older material?
It was good. We did "The Legacy" and "The New Order" in Holland, London and Japan last year. Those shows went over really well and we had a lot of fun. So when they talked about us doing "The Legacy", we thought it would be killer. We did it before and had a great time. When we started rehearsing for these shows, we stepped right back into it again. We're definitely up to par on the old stuff. We're excited about it.
Now that you're older, do you make more of an effort to see some of the sights when you're playing in different countries?
That's all I do now. Since 2001 and the cancer, I've been back touring and have been taking my family and friends. I have a lot of friends that I've known since high school and before that. A lot of them have never been to Europe. It's a great chance to show my friends what I've gotten to experience and take for granted over 20 years. You see it all over again through different eyes, as a tourist. We go out during the day and do our thing, then I go back and do the show. It's flipped around. It used to be party, tour bus, good times, party, and I missed a lot. Now it isn't about that. You might party a little after the show, but not like 20 years ago.
Will there be another Dublin Death Patrol CD?
There's almost a whole record of material written now. We're just trying to schedule it. Testament will be focused on getting our record done, and I'll also be trying to get Dublin Death Patrol done as well. Now even more of our friends from Dublin are coming out of the woodwork and are ready to play. It's growing. It's going to be interesting.
Read the entire interview from About Heavy Metal.