TESTAMENT's CHUCK BILLY: How Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change Global Touring Circuit

April 2, 2020

TESTAMENT singer Chuck Billy, who was one of the first metal musicians to test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, spoke to "The Classic Metal Show" about what he expects the touring circuit to be like after the pandemic starts abating.

"We want to travel the world and go away from home and play different venues, and [the aftermath of the pandemic will] make it tougher, but there's always gonna be somewhere, probably, to play," he said (hear audio below). "We've been fortunate in that a lot of the clubs and venues that we play are a lot of the same ones. So, maybe the sign of the times — who knows where it's gonna go? — but maybe they'll just start becoming back down to the more intimate shows, smaller shows, and be more intimate, just so bands could play and get out there and keep working. Because there's gonna be a lot of traffic. There's a lot of bands postponing and canceling that are looking to reschedule, so everybody's agents are gonna be looking at all these venues and trying to book their acts there, so it's gonna get pretty busy and pretty hectic for a minute once it starts back up."

He continued: "Right now, we have a tour planned [for] September that we've had in motion, talking about it since last year. Now, we'll continue trying to put that tour together, especially after America had to be postponed. And we'll see what happens in Europe, to the European festivals; we don't know the outcome yet. If that falls through, then America is the next thing in September in our books. So we'll continue with our agents and continue to try to keep booking the tour and secure the dates and the venues and keep moving forward."

Asked if he will still continue to meet with fans and handle personal contact with other people the same way he did before the pandemic, Chuck said: "I guess I will. Hopefully we get a grip on this and things kind of get back to the norm. I think people will probably always still be cautious now a little more so than they were in the past. Yeah, we'll still try to be normal, but I think we'll always try to be proactive on trying to do the right thing — either wear gloves or sanitize or [have] no-contact meet-and-greets or something. We'll figure it out. We'll just have to work with what's happening."

Last month, the 57-year-old Billy revealed that had been feeling unwell since returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area in early March following the completion of "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" European tour with EXODUS and DEATH ANGEL.

COVID-19 symptoms vary widely, and undertesting in many countries means that many people may have already had the coronavirus without having received a positive diagnosis.

EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt, who was also on "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" tour, tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

DEATH ANGEL drummer Will Carroll has been in an intensive care unit at a Northern California hospital since March 18 after being taken "very ill" following the completion of "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" trek.

TESTAMENT, EXODUS and DEATH ANGEL canceled at least two shows on "The Bay Strikes Back 2020" tour due to the fast-spreading outbreak of the new coronavirus: February 25 in Milan, Italy; and March 11 in Hannover, Germany.

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