Chuck Billy Talks New Management Company, Working With Exodus + Future Testament Plans
It’s been an interesting year for Testament frontman Chuck Billy. The rocker has enjoyed a break from Testament’s typically heavy touring schedule and during that period he’s launched a new management company called Breaking Bands.
Loudwire had a chance to chat with Chuck Billy on the Revolver Golden Gods black carpet and he spoke about his management venture, what it’s like working with longtime friends Exodus and he also gave us an update on Testament’s future plans.
We’ve got Axl from Guns N’ Roses being saluted here tonight. Big fan of GN’R?
Oh yeah, I’m a big fan. I’ve seen ‘em … They did the residency in Las Vegas and I saw them two nights and on New Year’s and I’ve got a lot of friends that are in the crew and work in the band, so I’ve got a lot of mutual friends. And I’m looking forward to tonight and seeing Duff with them. That’s going to be cool.
The Golden Gods are a big celebration for metal and hard rock in general. Can you talk about the showing and how people have turned out?
I think it’s great, cause there’s not a lot of these that happen, especially with metal musicians. But for us as artists, it’s like a reunion. You get to see everybody and you’re not performing, so you just get to hang out and drink and bulls— with each other and that’s the best part of it. We just have a good time.
And one of the cool things for you Chuck, you’ve got this management company Breaking Bands that you’ve started up …
Yeah, we started Breaking Bands with me, [publicist] Maria [Ferrero] and Jonny Zazula, who signed Metallica and started Megaforce Records and signed Testament. We’ve been talking about it and then Jon, he had gotten out of the business and then decided he’d gotten bored and wanted to get back in and we discussed it and now we’re doing this together. It’s just something that came about and we did it and now Exodus was our first act that’s with us and we have a few more new acts that are unsigned and we’re trying to get some label interest in. It’s a lot of work, but it’s like I’ve been doing this business for 30 some years now and I feel like I’ve got some info that could help some up and coming bands and hopefully let them have long careers.
How surreal is it to now be managing Exodus, a band you came up with?
It was a weird transition into it. The guys were like, ‘Isn’t that weird?’ But as we started working together, it’s not. I have stuff that can help out and they’re a solid band and they’ve got the music and they deliver, and it’s working. And actually, they’re better friends than ever now. We’ve known each other for 30 years and it’s good. The new Exodus record, they’re just finishing it up right now and that’s coming out towards the end of the year. It’s been challenging, but fun.
And Testament’s last album did very well, as well as the live set. Where do things stand with Testament right now?
We’re working on a new Testament record. Eric [Peterson has] finished up his Dragonlord record, so we’re slowly but surely getting Testament rolling. But we decided not to tour as much this year, but we’ll hit it hard, hit the festivals in Europe and hit it hard next year. So it kind of worked out and it’s kind of nice because it gave me a little more time to do the management thing and transition into that.
There’ve been peaks and valleys in the career, but it seems as though Testament is enjoying some of its biggest successes in recent years.
Well, we’re touring a lot more now and I think that has something to do with it. During ‘The Gathering’ era, we had so many musicians come and go and we just decided that it was hard to tour when you didn’t know who was in the band or who would be available. So we were just doing some festivals, but when we did the reunion with the original guys, that’s when we decided, “Okay, are you guys ready to do this? We’re going to work hard again.” And I think that builds back up to us having success again. We’re touring and we’re putting out some good records and there’s a new generation of fans that are still digging thrash metal.
Our thanks to Testament’s Chuck Billy for the interview. Learn more about his new management venture at the Breaking Bands website.