ALEX SKOLNICK Talks About His Relationship With Former TESTAMENT Bandmates

February 21, 2005

Blasting-Zone.com recently conducted an in-depth interview with former TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick. Several excerpts follow:

Blasting-Zone.com: At this point in time, how would you describe your relationship with the members of TESTAMENT?

Alex: "It's good...every time they're in town, I go see them. It's only Chuck (Billy, vocals) and Eric (Peterson, rhythm guitar) that are left from the original line-up. (Original drummer) Louie (Clemente) lives on Long Island and we have a great time hanging out. I actually saw (original bassist) Greg (Christian) for the first time a couple of months ago...he came to see the band...he's doing great. ...He's in a new band called HAVOCHATE...he's living upstate...we'll see how it goes...I wish him the best of luck."

Blasting-Zone.com: It's great that you have such a strong relationship with them. Is it safe to assume you left the group under less than ideal circumstances?

Alex: "Definitely... ...I think I have come to understand why they were so upset and why it was so hard for them to understand where I was coming from at the time. At the same time, I feel like they have grown to understand my point of view in the whole thing. None of wish anyone else any harm. It just was not working. Even if I had chosen to stay in heavy metal, I'm still not sure it would have worked...at least at that time. It happens with bands at all levels...it happens with relationships at all levels..."

Blasting-Zone.com: To me, personally, it sounds like you all needed a break from each other.

Alex: "Yes...also, it was a very difficult time in the music industry. ...Suddenly, we were all getting swept away by alternative bands. At first, when NIRVANA videos started appearing, we thought '...this is our friend...' ...This aggressive, heavy music being played on mainstream stations...we all thought we would benefit from it."

Blasting-Zone.com: What were the motivations behind you temporarily reuniting with TESTAMENT for the recording of the "First Strike Still Deadly"?

Alex: "...Chuck Billy became ill with cancer. God bless him, he's gotten a lot better...he seems to have gotten over it. ...It brought us and a lot of other people from the metal community together...we all rallied behind Chuck. We held a benefit concert for him in San Francisco called the Trash Of The Titans...in August of 2001. A lot of old groups got together to play... S.O.D., ANTHRAX, EXODUS...it was one of (late vocalist) Paul Baloff's final shows with the group... It was just this amazing moment. ... TESTAMENT had been working on recording new arrangements of some of the material from the first few albums to give them a more modern sound. ...We worked it out so that it happened around the same time as the benefit and it was a lot of fun. It was great to go back and revisit that music."

Blasting-Zone.com: I have to admit, I was initially a little confused...if you had rejoined the group...or were just a "special guest." Hearing you play with (original TESTAMENT and former EXODUS vocalist) Steve Souza was a nice surprise...

Alex: "...It was a pleasure to do...it was a lot of fun."

Read the entire interview at this location.

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