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Testament’s Chuck Billy Talks New Album Plans, Touring With Lamb of God + More

Testament
Charles Epting for Loudwire

Testament‘s legendary frontman Chuck Billy was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. Billy discussed the band’s post-’Dark Roots of Thrash’ promotion plans, their fall 2013 trek with Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and Huntress, and plenty more. If you missed Full Metal Jackie’s show, check out her full interview with Testament’s Chuck Billy:

Full Metal Jackie bringing you two full hours of metal each and every week. A returning guest on the show, good friend, Chuck Billy from Testament, what’s up?

Oh, not much, how you doing, Jackie?

Good to have you on the show again. Lots of good stuff happening with Testament as usual. We have this new Testament release ‘Dark Roots of Thrash’ DVD/2CD release and of course this amazing tour with Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and Huntress that starts Oct. 22. Let’s talk about the recent ‘Battle of San Bernardino’ show. What an amazing bill that was. Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Anthrax, Overkill. What do you look forward to most? Being on the bill with your peers? Your friends? Or sharing the stage with a band that maybe you idolized as a kid.

Well, a little bit of everything, but I think the looks in the fans’ faces when they’re — I just know from the fans’ perspective they’re going to be so fired up. Just ‘cause it’s a bill that’s something you might only see in Europe or something, not necessarily in the U.S.

Chuck, watching and listening to the new release ‘Dark Roots of Thrash,’ the live album and DVD. What do you hear and see that wasn’t so obvious to you in the moment that you were up onstage?

Well, I mean, that night was a special show. We ended up adding songs to the set; I think we added about five songs. So, you know, it was—you know, it made it a special evening ‘cause in the past we’ve been playing with the first live rec we did with Alex and Greg and Louie, back in ’05. We were playing a lot of the classic Testament stuff, ‘cause those guys wanted to just perform the old material. But in the last couple of years, we’ve kind of put stuff from ‘The Gathering,’ and then, of course, ‘The Formation’ and this record, so it was a little exciting and we were pretty fired up that we were playing a lot more newer, current material. And we’re just seeing a lot more younger fans attending the shows and it’s getting us fired up whenever we play now.

The last two Testament albums are arguably the best you’ve ever done. What is the trick to creating something now that surpasses the classic albums that fans hold so sacred?

It’s hard to put your finger on it, but, you know, every record you do you want to surpass your last and you want to, you know, make it sound better and definitely have better songwriting. It’s a tough call, but I think as far as Testament goes, you know, we’re very fortunate to have Eric Peterson pretty focused, you know, on his own style and his own riffs that he envisions as Testament. You know, and we all kind of take little elements of what’s going on today, what’s current today, what people are doing today, and try to keep our sound and everything still sounding like modern and not, you know, a band that’s been around almost 30 years. So, it’s a tough fine-edged sword you’ve got to, kind of, balance there.

Because the last two albums were so good, will there be another studio album? And if so, what fires you up most about Gene Hoglan and getting a chance to be involved in constructing the songs?

We actually, the Lamb of God tour will be the last tour of the ‘Dark Roots of Earth’ touring cycle. We start first thing in January writing and hopefully recording the new record within the first three or four months. Our plan is to have a new record out by next summer. I think, you know, Gene and everybody that’s in the band, you know, we’ve really been working hard touring a lot, and I think everybody’s just kind of, like, you know, excited to write some more material, ‘cause, you know, we did put our heart and soul into the last record, and just from fans and the press and everybody just really showing us some love with it. We’re kind of fired up just to get back in there and keep it going, you know. In the past, you know, we’ve taken some time in between records to write and I don’t know if it’s just, you know, disconnecting a little bit with everything, but I think right now we’re just kind of like, hey full steam ahead, let’s go, let’s tour, let’s write songs and just keep it going. I think we have a lot more material that could be like it was off the ‘Dark Roots of Thrash’ record.

Be sure to check out the band on tour with Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage and Huntress starting Oct. 22. Are you looking forward to that? What a tremendous bill.

Yeah, totally, I think Lamb of God and Testament, we’ve been trying to hook up and play a show with them for a long time. We almost did a few years ago, then it just didn’t happen and it’s finally has happened. We seen the guys last month in Europe where everyone is kind of, like, fired up and I think it’s about time, you know? So we’re looking forward to it. I think Lamb of God and Killswitch, you know, have a lot of bigger fan base with more of a new type of audience that maybe hasn’t really heard of Testament yet, so, you know, maybe there’s … I think it’s good for us just to kind of get out there and maybe try to get to some of the younger audience as well.

Awesome, looking forward to it. Good luck on this new release “Dark Roots Of Thrash” Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Huntress and Testament tour starts Oct. 22. Chuck, thank you so much as always. Appreciate it. See you soon.

Cool, see you soon.

This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome GWAR‘s Oderus Urungus (aka Dave Brockie) on her show. Full Metal Jackie can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.

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