TESTAMENT frontman Chuck Billy has outlined some of the changes that will be made to the meet-and-greet sessions on the band's upcoming tour as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Billy, who was one of the first metal musicians to test positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, discussed TESTAMENT's plans to keep the bandmembers and fans safe in a video message he shared on Instagram earlier today (Wednesday, August 4).
He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We're getting ready to get back on tour [in the U.S.], October [and] November, with 'The Bay Strikes Back', with TESTAMENT, EXODUS [and] DEATH ANGEL. A killer package.
"I just wanna talk about a little bit… Of course, you guys know we came off 'The Bay Strikes Back' in Europe [in March 2020]. I think everybody in the bands — all three bands — were sick with COVID. So we're getting ready to go out on this tour, and we've gotta kind of approach things a little different. First of all, we wanna be able to put on a performance and a show for everybody that's been stuck at home for so long dying to get some music, shows under the belt. So we're gonna do things a little different as far as… We do wanna offer a meet-and-greet with our fans, but we're gonna do things a little bit different and offer a soundcheck so we actually don't really have to touch each other and be that close to each other to spread a virus if someone does carry it. Because if one person gets sick on this tour, the tour is over. So, we're trying to do everything we can to keep the fans safe, to keep the bands safe and keep us working so the tour doesn't end. So I wanna apologize, 'cause I know I like to come out after the show and hang out with some fans, sign things, talk to everybody. And it's gonna be a little different this time. So I wanna apologize in advance to those of you who've been hanging out after the shows and I visit with. You're gonna have to wait a little longer — maybe until next summer, when the tour comes through. But I wanted to make everybody aware of that.
"We're all gonna have to do this together, do our part," he continued. "Either be vaccinated. And if you're not vaccinated and you wanna come see the show, do everybody else a favor — wear a mask. I mean, that's your choice. We're just trying to do everything we can to keep this tour going, keep fans entertained, and, most of all, keep us and the crews working. I would hate to get out there and start a tour and then, in the middle of it, somebody gets sick and the whole tour's done. So, we're all in it together.
"We're looking forward to 'The Bay Strikes Back'. It's gonna be a kick-ass tour. Get your tickets, if you haven't. They're selling really good — some sold-out shows already. So we're looking forward to it. It's been a year and a half since we got to perform [last] — a little over a year and a half. So, here we come. We'll see everybody real soon."
"The Bay Strikes Back Tour" will kick off on October 6 at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California and make stops in Austin, New York, and Detroit before concluding on November 27 at The Fox in Oakland.
Back in March 2020, Billy revealed that he had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning home to the San Francisco Bay Area following the completion of "The Bay Strikes Back" European tour with EXODUS and DEATH ANGEL. EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt also tested positive, as did DEATH ANGEL drummer Will Carroll, who spent almost two weeks on a ventilator in an intensive care unit at a Northern California hospital.