TESTAMENT's ERIC PETERSON On Realities Of Post-Pandemic Touring: 'It's A Challenge'

July 31, 2023

In a recent interview with Riff X's "Metal XS", TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson was asked what is has been like to hit the road again after not being able to tour for a couple of years due to the coronavirus pandemic. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): " I would say the biggest thing, and I would think most bands would agree, is just the appreciation of what we do. In my mind, I always thought, being in the music business, especially if you're doing okay, that everybody wants to hear music and you're always gonna have a job as long as people wanna hear your music. But a pandemic [laughs], even though if people wanna hear you, it can change it. And I was just like, 'Wow.'"

During the same chat, Peterson addressed some of the realities of post-pandemic touring, including increased travel expenses — gas, tour buses, hotels and flight costs.

"The cost of fuel's gone up," he said. "A lot of things have gone up. Maybe some fees haven't gone up for bands. Some of my favorite techs that have worked with me, they're not doing this business anymore, because three years of not working is really hard. Luckily we've slowly built up a new crew and everything seems to be firing on all cylinders. We're pretty happy. But, yeah, it's a challenge. It's like starting over — new soundman, new guitar techs. When touring started again, everybody toured again, so there was no buses. It was tough. But I think because of the relationship TESTAMENT had with a lot of companies for so many years, we were one of the luckier bands that we were able to continue maybe getting favors."

Peterson and new TESTAMENT drummer Chris Dovas recently spent a few days working on material for the band's next studio album.

Last month, TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick told Chaoszine about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's next LP: "There are a few songs, a few ideas. We haven't gotten to the vocals yet, but I would say there's close to half an album's worth of music that is pretty close to having vocals. We still need to write the other half and then get into that process. But it's coming together. We can never rush it. It always takes time."

As for when TESTAMENT fans can expect to see the new LP released, Alex said: "We don't a lot of shows after this tour until September. We're gonna go to Asia, where we haven't been in a long time. And then in between now and then, we're just gonna try to complete the writing, at least as far as the music goes. And then I think by next year, we should be able to go in the studio early in the year and have the record recorded and have it come out next year."

Alex's latest comments echo those made by Peterson, who told Loud TV about the group's plans for a new album: "There was a big gap because of COVID. But now we're getting ready — probably after this [European] tour to go start working on new material. So, yeah, I'm looking forward to that. We have about five, six songs written already, and [I'll] probably try to finish it up when I get home. And then hopefully record right after we go on tour to Japan. So '24 should look like a release for TESTAMENT."

Peterson went on to say that the new TESTAMENT material is shaping up to be "fucking killer." He added: "I'm a fan. For me, I wouldn't release anything unless I'm a fan of what I'm doing. I have to get goosebumps. When I hear it, I'm, like, 'Yeah.' And then, of course, I play it for friends. A few of them go, 'Ehh.' But most of them go, 'Fuuuck!' Except Chuck [Billy, TESTAMENT singer] — Chuck goes, 'Eh.' And then four years later, [he goes], 'That's the best song ever. Write more shit like that.' I'm, like, 'Yeah, but four years ago you said that sucked.'"

As for when TESTAMENT will record the new album, Eric said: "Hopefully maybe October, November. If not, probably January, February. But we're shooting for this year — at the end of the year. I think I'll be done writing in September. So we just have to wait for vocals. Which can take a while. But we'll see what happens."

Peterson was also full of praise for Dovas, who officially joined the band earlier this year as the replacement for Dave Lombardo.

This past April, Lombardo revealed in an interview with BLABBERMOUTH.NET that he would sit out the remainder of TESTAMENT's 2023 shows, with no guarantee that he will return to the band.

Lombardo, who was the guest drummer on TESTAMENT's 1999 studio album "The Gathering", formally joined the long-running San Francisco Bay Area act last year. The former SLAYER drummer is currently a member of the MISFITS, MR. BUNGLE, EMPIRE STATE BASTARD and SATANIC PLANET, among others. He also played with SUICIDAL TENDENCIES from 2016 up until 2020.

Prior to joining TESTAMENT as a full-time member, Dovas previously filled in for Lombardo on the first six dates of TESTAMENT's summer/fall 2022 leg of "The Bay Strikes Back Tour". Lombardo was unable to make those gigs due to a scheduling conflict with the MISFITS.

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