THIS WEEK on the Heavy Metal Wanaka PODCAST!
CHUCK BILLY from TESTAMENT
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT ADDED BELOW!!
We talk all about the LEGENDARY THRASH METAL band’s new & upcoming Album “Brotherhood of the Snake” out 28th of OCTOBER 2016 on Nuclear Blast Records!
Out now on itunes:
The album cover themes revolving around ideas of ANCIENT ALIENS and SECRET SOCIETIES, alongside a more down-to-earth topics presented in songs like “BLACK JACK” and “CANNA BUSINESS“.
Despite the Album being recorded in a short window after some delays, CHUCK BILLY’S Vocal Performance is TOP SHELF, and is matched by the work of the rest of the band: ERIC PETERSON, ALEX SKOLNICK, STEVE DIGORGIO and the Atomic Clock himself, GENE HOGLAN!
WHO COULD ARGUE that “Brotherhood of the Snake” is set to become a modern day TESTAMENT CLASSIC!?
After the interview I look into the viral youtube sensation of Batmetal, and see where the backing band comes from.
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT FOR CHAT WITH CHUCK BILLY (TESTAMENT)
How’s it going with you guys at the moment?
It’s going well. Right now we’re at home,. We’re getting ready to leave on tour next Tuesday.
So that’s kicking off pretty early because you’re album “Brotherhood of the Snake” releases at the end of the month”
On the 28th
Yeah, given your last couple of albums have been some real heavy hitters how are you feeling about this one
I’m feeling pretty, really, good about this one actually. I was probably a little sceptical going into the recording process but I think the final product, at the end of the day, came out really good. There was a lot of long process getting this record done- me and Eric worked on this for over two years and don’t know why but we just couldn’t get the songs completed, so I think for years we kind of built up some frustration and maybe anger, and I think maybe that really kind of, maybe, helped the record. We’d gone in the studio, first time we ever went in without doing a demo or rehearsing the songs with the band but we had no choice, because with Gene [Hoglan- drummer] we had a small window for us to work and get the record recorded if we wanted a record this year, so we just booked it, went in and put our backs against the wall and I think the final product- you always try and out d your last one and I think we accomplished that.
(dl:dr) Your vocal performance seems really crafted on this one…
Yeah, the songs were structured for that and I know, coming out of the gate, we wanted to have a more intense record, faster record so the goal is definitely to keep the intensity of the music but still try to keep that Testament kind of hook- we always try to find a melody or something that just not built into the typical Death Metal voice or something over fast beats. It was just a lot of going into it knowing what we wanted, so at least we had a plan going in, unfortunately it was just… I think it was for the better. I think if we maybe had the songs finished maybe we would have second guessed ourselves on some of the stuff and may be polished it up too much. I think we kept it really raw.
(tl:dr)you were confident of a quicker turn over previously, but given the delay, do you think you will be getting sick of having to answer media questions in this tour cycle?
No, because yeah you go over it but it is the story, it is what’s going on there, it is the truth. We could’ve sugar-coated it and said yeah that’s great and we knocked it out really quick and it’s the fastest record we ever did but that’s not the way it really went down so the truth in it is part of.. I think if you know the truth of the record, what we actually went through, I think that’s what came out on the record. Like I said, we were a little nervous going into the studio, I’ll be honest, we haven’t demo’d this, we haven’t rehearsed these songs, these songs aren’t even finished, there’s a lot of chords, still a lot of missing pieces, so we were scared, nervous, backs against… all of the above- the emotions are really flowing and I think that’s the little spark that we needed to make this record to that point were, we’re sitting back thinking yeah, we out did ourselves from the last record.
Album art: artist freedom or includes symbols etc from the myth of this brotherhood?
Yeah there are symbols because the brotherhood is a secret society, so of course you have the ‘eye’ and there’s little symbols in there you’ll see. It really is set in there but I think Eric and Eliran [Kantor- Artist], Eric gave him the title and I think Eliran ran with it really quick and hit it out of the park again. The record covers he’s been doing for us have all been great, really good visuals- especially for the live show, the backdrops look amazing.
Lyrical content: Ancient Aliens, gambling, cannabis: Get idea from a BBQ (or party) over beers with friends?
Yeah, why not [laughs]
No pun intended, but at this stage Testament is a legacy band, so would releasing awesome new albums, like you have been doing, be less of a worry for you, compared to younger bands, because you’ve already got an awesome back catalogue to play with on tour?
Yeah. It definitely makes it tough when you out together a live concert when you have hundred and something plus songs to choose from, it definitely gets tought and it’s even tougher because you always pick the ones that you always play all the time. You’re always telling yourself you gotta pick different songs, but it makes it really tough at this point in your career once you have a good catalogue.
Because you last couple of albums have been so critically successfully, do you get as many calls for the classics or is more of a mixed bag?
It’s a little of everything. We put in 30 years of doing this so we still of course have fans who have caught us when we first began and they bring their children or grandchildren. So when we play the classics, they love that because that’s what they grew up, when they hear that familiar stud, especially music you grew up listening to, it takes you to it takes you to a good place so I tend to see that. It’s a broad spectrum, even newer, younger fans get turned on for the newer records and newer stuff and then they look our history up and get turned on to the history. I see they’re definitely a different change of age as far as metal’s getting younger, the audience’s definitely getting younger.
I noticed the line “Born to Lose” on “Born in a Rut”, is this a tribute to Lemmy [Kilmeister- Motorhead]
No not that one, no. ‘Born in a Rut’ is just a story we came up with, a guy that basically could’ve been born into this world, especially with this whole Alien thing, that never got a break, never really got his sh*t together and really doesn’t care much about life and about what’s happening in his world. I’ve been asked that before, but no it’s definitely not a reference.
Facebook snippet showed Gene Hoglan drumming for a video for The Pale King?
Yeah that should be hitting the streets the first day of the tour, somewhere around the first day of release, around the 28th.
Is that going to be a performance piece, or you going to include themes and imagery from the album?
Yeah, some imagery and themes. We’re performing in it as well but I think it will be a lot more of the imagery, the Pale King traveling the planet observing, checking us out.
With titles like “Brotherhood of the Snake” and “Neptunes Spear” you’re not worried about it being too phalliac?
No! No, Neptunes Spear, every body thinks Neptune the Water God, that song is definitely, I don’t think people don’t know but the SEAL Team Six that Osama Bin Laden, that mission they did was called Neptunes Spear, and that’s basically what that song’s about: One Shot, one kill. That’s why you here the helicopters at the end, flying out at the end.
Well, that attempt at a joke fell flat!