Testament’s Chuck Billy Talks Spring Tour With Exodus, Upcoming Album + More
Testament's Chuck Billy was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The vocalist discussed the band's upcoming tour with Exodus, offered an update on the band's new album and talked about his management venture. Check out the chat below.
The one and only Chuck Billy with us on the show. How are you, Chuck?
Good. How are you, Jackie?
Doing great. So excited about this epic tour. Testament and Exodus touring together -- really a nod to the camaraderie of the original Bay Area thrash scene, of course. Chuck, what never changes about the relationship between musicians who built this genre?
Well, it is just that history especially for a band like us and Exodus. I mean, we go so far back. I was actually in the studio when they were recording Bonded By Blood, doing a demo for my other band before Testament. That is how far back I go with Exodus. This is kind of a tour that we have talked about like 'it would be great" and "we've got to get out there and do the Bay Area thing and go out." It has just never happened, we just never seemed to work it out. Finally, it has happened and it is perfect timing.
Exodus has a great record Blood In, Blood Out. We are working on our new record right now, still. It would be nice to go blow some steam off and tour. It just to get together with the guys and work on, hopefully some new material.
The Testament/Exodus tour kicks off on April 1. Testament for you now, this is Native Blood Testament performing The Legacy and The New Order in their entirety on this tour. Chuck, what has time revealed to you about those two first albums?
Well, definitely the first one for me was going back when I first got in the band. The guys were so young, they were really kids writing these songs and to me they were just really kind of ahead of their age at the time. When we would perform these were the songs that stand out still in our set today that really stand the test of time. It still just gets people moving like back when we wrote them and playing them in '87 till now. The New Order, that was the first one where I really kind of learned the essence of the band Testament because I was really just singing Steve Souza's lyrics on the Legacy record and really attempted to write my own and come really apart of being in Testament at that point so those were two very important records for me.
Chuck, how are you progressing with the new album and how much do Testament songs generally change over the course of the creative process?
They are constantly changing. They all just start with parts and ideas and hooks. They keep developing. I think we are at a stage where me and Eric [Peterson] have done a lot of demoing, just us two, and when we get out on the road over the next two or three months together we will have a lot of time to just work out what we have done on demoing and hopefully, by the time we get back in June/July we will hopefully be ready to get into the studio. This is nice that we get to go out and go on tour but we are actually looking forward to getting together and working on some new material together.
The last two Testament albums have been exceptional. What keeps your band at that level of quality and consistency?
I don't know. I think we just kind of write by what is inspiring us at the time. I think a lot of it Eric pretty much leads the charge with anything that we write. So, depending on what Eric is feeling. I think definitely the new record will be stepping back into more of the thrash-style roots and there is definitely a lot more blast-beats in here and it is definitely a thrash record. It is good that we are taking it back to that. I think it is maybe leaning towards that Gathering kind of vibe.
You and Eric Peterson have been the nucleus of Testament for a long time. Musically and personally, how do you complement each other?
Well, at this point when we write we kind of know our limits with each other. You know, vocally with me and we kind of just know. It is a natural feeling, it is so weird because when I write with other people it is definitely not the same so there is something special when I write with Eric because it fits like a glove, I guess I can use that phrase but we have always had that chemistry.
Now that you are on the managerial side of the business with your company Breaking Bands, do you feel any regret for anything that you might have put Testament's management through when you were younger?
Not really. I mean we were all pretty mellow but you do, because we went through quite a few managements and stuff like that and you kind of know what that is all about. Besides that, no, nothing. It has definitely has been a learning experience for me this last year. I am probably coming up on a year and I am loving it.
Chuck, thank you so much for being on the show again.
Thanks again for having me, Jackie. It is always a pleasure.
Thanks to Testament's Chuck Billy for the interview. Catch the band on tour with Exodus and Shattered Sun at these locations. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.