Cameron Edney of Australia's Inside_Out666 recently conducted an interview with drummer Paul Bostaph (TESTAMENT, SLAYER, EXODUS, FORBIDDEN). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Inside_Out666: I want to congratulate you on one of the finest TESTAMENT albums ever made. Now that "The Formation of Damnation" has been out for a few months and you have had time to digest it, is there anything you would have changed?
Paul Bostaph: Yeah, probably a few more fast songs, a few more thrash songs. When we were finishing this record, I was thinking it would have been killer to write a couple more thrash songs, but that's good for the next record, we'll do it then. Overall, I'm really satisfied with the band and how the songs came out; the songs are a compilation of years of these guys trying to get this record done. Some were done while we were in this session writing. I wouldn't have really changed anything cause it shows TESTAMENT at this time!
Inside_Out666: As a drummer, when it came time to enter the studio, did you approach it in a different way to some of the albums you have recorded in the past?
Paul Bostaph: Yeah, actually, I did. The last album I recorded, I did with a click track, this album I didn't use a click track. The other difference in my approach with this record was that I was trying to accomplish something entirely different with my style. A lot of the drum ideas on this record are different, I honed in on a certain drum style that I do and I've done periodically in my career, but one that has never surrounded an entire record. I think on this record, there is more ear drumming and that is something that I never really got the chance to fit into an album before.
Inside_Out666: When you hit the studio, did you have complete power over your drum tracks or did the band already have certain ideas of how they wanted things to go?
Paul Bostaph: I had complete control over my drum tracks. At first, Eric Peterson [guitar] and I worked very hard on the drum tracks together. I would get the tracks to a certain point and Eric would come in and come up with some ideas. There would be parts to do on the guitars and some of the guitar tracks hadn't been written yet so Eric would want the drums to follow the guitar and we would work on ideas together. I'd either say, "Okay, I'll do it that way" or I would change it to come up with something more suitable. As a result, I think it made the drum tracks better.
Inside_Out666: Paul, over the years you have played with some amazing bands. Tell us, what has been your most embarrassing onstage moment?
Paul Bostaph: Oh god, my most embarrassing moment would have been drumming with TESTAMENT back in 1992, when I filled in for them. It's actually on video tape somewhere and I was wearing these shorts that didn't have a tie on them. Chuck Billy's wife, who is a friend of mine, told one of the guitar techs that when I got out onstage and threw my hands up into the air that she'd pay them twenty bucks to pull down my shorts down around my ankles. Of course I'm standing there doing the rock star pose and next thing I can feel this slight breeze downstairs [laughs] that's got to be the most embarrassing this that's happened.
Inside_Out666: Let's go all the way back to when you joined FORBIDDEN back in the mid eighties. What comes to mind when you look back on those early musical experiences?
Paul Bostaph: Oh, wow, we were crazy, a lot crazier than I am now. We didn't know shit about the music business and from that point, being naïve played a big part in the music we create. The fact that we were one of many bands that came from a thriving Bay Area thrash metal scene, we had to try and stand out amongst our peers and that was almost impossible to do at the time. Someone would always compare you to someone else that came before you. Looking back now, I think that we did stand out, sometimes good and sometimes bad, but I'm pleased that our albums have stood the test of time, back then if you had asked me if those albums would have been classic thrash metal records I would have said no! I would have said "Reign In Blood" would be and "Ride The Lightning" would be, but our albums, no!
Read more from Inside_Out666.