Twinmusix got to speak to Alex Skolnick from Testament about the upcoming set for Download Australia and the upcoming tour.
TM - Hi Alex, Thank You for this interview today. How are you?
AS - Good, how are you?
TM - Good, how is your day going?
AS - Just came back from rehearsal. We are getting ready to leave for Europe in a few days for five and a half weeks and then it's off to Australia.
TM - We cannot wait to have you here. What can fans expect from your Australian shows at Download?
AS - We are really excited about that we have done Download UK before but not Australia.
TM - What can fans expect from your sideshow will they be different or the same show?
AS - I think it will be different because we get to do a bit more and have extra songs when it's your own show and not part of a festival. It seems to be a bit more intimate but it's great to play for the big crowd as well, so it's all going to be exciting.
TM - What can fans expect from your new album Titans of Creation, that comes out April third?
AS - I think it is definitely going to have something for everybody and it definitely feels like a testament record. I think Testament is a band that has a very consistent sound. I wouldn't say as consistent as someone like AC/DC. You know what it is going to sound like but I think there are some different things from the last couple of Records. It's different that it feels like a different band.
TM - Did you help write the album and what was your writing and recording process?
AS - Eric and the founder of the band wrote majority of the music and I will listen to the songs and come up with ideas and suggestions. This time I have two full songs of my own on the record.
TM - If you could have any band play one of your songs what band would it be, what song would it be and in your style or their style?
AS - I would love Rush to do one of our songs a special mention to Neil Peart may he rest in peace and he would do A Day In The Death.
TM - What is your favorite solo album that you have written for Alex Skolnick Trio?
AS - My favorite album is the most recent one Conundrum.
TM - Dose your other band Alex Skolnick Trio have more plans of touring?
AS - Yes we will at some point but I'm going to be very busy with the testaments tour. We have started writing new music with my Trio. We will put out a few singles this year and do a lot of touring next year. We have already started recording our new record we have about a third of a record already.
TM - What is your favorite Testament riff you have written?
AS - Dangers of the Faithless, that is on The Formation of Damnation that's my favorite riff.
TM - What was it like filling the huge shoes of Chris Olivia (R.I.P) with his stint in SAVATAGE and would he be part of a SAVATAGE reunion if it was to ever happen again?
AS - It was a huge honour but a sad occasion. I wish he didn't have to be cold to do that but it was an honour to do that. I was a fan of Savatage from the very first recordings and it was a huge honour to play Chris's part. I can't really answer if the band would reunite it hasn't happened but a lot of us thought it would of happen since so many bands are reuniting. Testament is most of the original line up but I think it's definitely up to the founder. Jon Oliva and I haven't been in touch lately so I'm not sure where his head is at. I know if he wanted to do it it would definitely happen.
TM - What was your deciding factor to return to Testament?
AS - I had been on a jazz guitar hiatus and an education hiatus because I wanted to study music at a university level. I went to music school and I was working as a side band as a guitarist for a number of groups and shows based in New York. The most famous one was Trans Siberian Orchestra which is connected to Savatage and I think after a few albums I wanted to explore metal again. I was thinking about playing a metal project and Lamb of God reached out and I played a solo and that inspired me, even more, it was almost a total coincidence Like Clockwork.
Testament reached out and said they have had some offers for the original line up and I think at that point to they had been considering retiring the band. They ended up doing some shows just to see how it went and it went really well. I thought this would be fun for a while and I might do some other metal project in the future. It went from a few shows to a whole tour and a couple of years later we got offered a tour with Judas Priest and Motorhead. We said we have to do an album and we did Formation of Damnation and science we are back and done tours with bands such as Slayer and Megadeth.
TM - Can you tell us a story about touring with Motorhead?
AS - Yes one of my favorite stories is the last night of the tour, we finished in our hometown Oakland California and they pulled a great practical joke on us. We were asked to stop our show and the promoters were Bill Graham presents legendary promoters and they were in on the joke. We stopped the show and said there was going to be an announcement and it ended up being Motorhead coming out on a horse with Phil Campbell at the front leading the horse Mikkey Dee on the horse wearing a sombrero. Lemmy was pretending to sweep up after the horse and on the same show they also pranked Heaven and Hell and they gave everyone in the front section of the audience newspapers. After the first song, Nobody clapped everyone pulled out there newspapers pretending they were board.
TM - (laughs) that is amazing, I wish I was there to see that live.
TM - Is there anything else you want to say to your fans?
AS - We are really grateful that we are coming to Australia, Thank You for the support and sorry it's been so long.
TM - We cannot wait to see you in Australia for Download and your sideshows. Thank You for this interview today we really appreciate it.
Download ticket link: https://www.downloadfestival.com.au/tickets
Sideshow ticket link: https://www.livenation.com.au/artist/testament-tickets