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Event: Guests On Sirius XM’s "Artist Confidential" Series
Location: Sirius XM Radio offices, Manhattan, NYC
Date: 8/10/09
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

After touring Europe this summer, including performing to 80,000+ rabid fans at the 20th Anniversary of Wacken, culminating over 189 shows on their World Tour…Testament made a stop in New York City for a special taping of Sirius XM’s Artist Confidential series. Artist Confidential is a series honoring the most important and timeless artists in music, the icons, the legends, the artists who are without question the innovators who make their indelible mark.

Artists who have appeared in the Sirius XM series include Paul McCartney, Santana, Bryan Adams, Phil Collins, Gloria Estefan, Don Henley, Def Leppard, Rush, and Sting among many more.

Testament were invited into Sirius/XM’s NYC studios to sit down for candid interviews, intimate conversations with fans plus a live performance combing early Testament classics as well as 2 new tracks from their award winning, Golden God Album of the Year 2008 release "The Formation Of Damnation".

Testament played: Over the Wall, The New Order, Practice What You Preach, Into the Pit, More Than Meets the Eye, and The Persecuted Won’t Forget.

The show is scheduled to air later this year on Sirius XM’s Liquid Metal, Sirius channel 27 and XM channel 42.

Here is what we learned during the Q&A portion:

  • Filming for the video for ‘Over The Wall’ on Alcatraz Island was illegally done as the band dogged tour guides and tourists.
  • Alex and Chuck sited heavy, yet melodic (created by Alex and Eric’s guitar harmonies) aggressive musical arrangements with melodic vocals as being the keys to Testament’s successful formula.
  • "The Legacy" and "The New Order" are seen as classics and spawned many thrash anthems; most noteably ‘Into the Pit’.
  • After guitarist Alex Skolnick and bass player Greg Christian’s departure, singer Chuck Billy and founding member Eric Peterson (guitars) forged ahead with James Murphy on guitar and several drummers including Jon Dette, Gene Hoglan, John Tempesta, and finally Dave Lombardo from Slayer for the album “The Gathering” in 1999 which is a favorite of Eric’s.
  • When Alex left the band after the release of "The Ritual" in 1992, and Greg after "Low" in 1994, Eric wanted to take Testament’s music into a heavier direction. As a result, 1997’s "Demonic" saw Chuck Billy barking and the music written in a less thrash more death metal style.
  • During one of the band’s recent tours, a runner (someone who takes band members where they need to go, picks up supplies,etc) was in route taking Chuck to the bank. While on the road they got pulled over by the cops and it so happens that the kid (runner) had a record of sorts and marijuana on him. If it wasn’t for the officer recognizing the band Chuck sang for they both probably would have been in jail. The runner was fired upon returning Chuck safely.
  • In 2001, Chuck Billy was also diagnosed with a type of cancer that affected his lungs and heart. His cancer was treated successfully.
  • After Chuck's recovery from cancer, in 2001 Testament released "First Strike Still Deadly", a collection of re-recordings of songs from their first two albums. The album featured Chuck Billy, Eric Peterson, Steve DiGiorgio on bass, the return of Alex Skolnick on guitar and John Tempesta on drums.
  • By 2003, Chuck Billy had completely recovered, and the band began performing live again with a new drummer, John Allen of Sadus. In 2004, the band changed their lineup once again for their summer festival live appearances, and John Allen was replaced by Paul Bostaph. Lead guitarist Steve Smyth also departed to join Nevermore, and was replaced by ex-Halford guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak.
  • By 2005, Testament reformed with original guitarist Alex Skolnick, bassist Greg Christian, with drum duties shared between John Tempesta and the band’s original drummer Louie Clemente (who was present today at the Sirius radio event) and filmed a show in London for the Live in London DVD.
  • By 2008, after several years on touring together with the original lineup and with Paul Bostaph on drums, the band returned to the studio to record "The Formation of Damnation".
  • For the rest of 2009, the band will play a few more shows before Alex goes on tour with the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Eric with Chuck, Greg, and Paul will continue working on songs for a studio album to be released in 2010.
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