Testament’s Chuck Billy Talks Motorboat Cruise, Pranks With Motorhead + More
Motorhead’s Motorboat Cruise is scheduled to set sail on Sept. 22, and it's a dream for any metalhead. With the likes of Anthrax, Zakk Wylde and Down playing, it’s sure to be an epic time. Did we mention the almighty Testament are also going to be on the ship? We had the chance to chat with frontman Chuck Billy, who talked all about his expectations for the upcoming cruise. He also dishes on some very funny pranks between him and Motorhead guitarist Phil Campbell and much more. Check out our interview with Chuck Billy of Testament below:
You are playing the Motorhead's Motorboat Cruise. It’s got to be a thrill to get a chance to play on this bill with Lemmy and the guys. Tell me a little bit about your association with Motorhead over the years.
When they did the Metal Masters tour we became closer friends. Phil [Campbell] is a big prankster so he was always pulling pranks and joking around and we’d f--- with each other every day. The second to last day of the tour, they were all fired up and there ended up being a blow up doll and I was sitting on the side of the stage with her in a beach chair.
So the next day, the last day of the tour, Phil went ahead and ordered a horse. He came riding out on a horse with a dress and wig; occasionally he would show up dressed as a woman [laughs]. It was just a crazy tour. Lemmy [Kilmister] came out pushing a broom behind the horse, sweeping up poop. They just topped everybody’s pranks.
I think for [the band] Heaven and Hell, they bought about 2,000 newspapers and handed them out to the first couple of rows so when Heaven and Hell came out, the first two or three rows were all reading newspapers instead of watching the show. [Laughs]
I was going to ask who was the better prankster, but it seems obvious.
Phil, definitely Phil. [Laughs] He’s such a fun guy, every day he would show up at a gig and go, “I went to the store and look what I got” and he would get fart machines and just all kinds of goofy stuff. It made the tour so fun and we became really good friends. We keep in contact and email each other. Every time I see Lemmy, he talks about the horse prank so when we see each other it’s just like hanging with old friends again. It will be good to see them on the boat and hang for a week.
So many other incredible acts are on the boat, Anthrax, Zakk Wylde, Down -- who else are you looking forward to catching up with on the ship?
Everybody, I think it’s a strong bill. I have yet to see Zakk Wylde play live so, for me, that will definitely be a show I want to see. Down is always a fun show to watch. Catching up with the Anthrax guys -- we’ve spent a lot of time together over the years touring but we haven’t seen each other in a while so it will be good to catch up.
You’re stuck on a boat with all of these guys; planning on some late nights?
I don’t know, probably late nights but I don’t drink anymore or anything like that so it will just be kind of mellow for me. Last time we did the 70,000 Tons of Metal Cruise, they have casinos and other stuff so I’ll just hang out. What I loved about it is that the fans weren’t overbearing all the bands, everything was just mellow and laid back. It’s a really great trip for the bands and the fans.
Any nerves or anxiousness to be in such close quarters with die-hard Testament fans this time around?
No, because if it were for them I wouldn’t be able to do this for 28 years. [Laughs] It’s just the way it is and I’m happy with it. We work hard to put out our music and the best records we can. For fans to come up and express themselves about our music or the band, I love it and I’m very thankful for it.
With the likes of Motorboat, 70,000 Tons of Metal and ShipRocked, among others, what do you think of the cruise experience for live music overall?
I think it adds a bonus as far as the fans go, I think it’s something really unique where you can be up close and personal with bands that you like. It’s a special way to see a band and it’s a lot of fun. I didn’t know what to expect the first time with a cruise and the band almost didn’t want to but at the end of the experience everyone was like, “This was a blast, I’m so glad we did it.” We’re all looking forward to this one because there are so many great bands and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Our thanks to Chuck Billy of Testament for the interview! For more information on Motorhead's Motorboat cruise, which sets sail Sept. 22, visit the event’s official website.