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Chuck Billy (Testament)

Interview with Chuck Billy from Testament
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 11 May 2008, 6:54 PM

This interview is one of the reasons that I became an editor for Metal Temple. You get the chance to meet people who are part of the Heavy Metal history and I think you agree with me that Chuck Billy is definitely a whole chapter with TESTAMENT. Before I leave to read the interview let me tell you this; Chuck was calm and nice to talk to and had nothing to do with the beast he turns into when he is on-stage!

First of all congratulations on your new album, it’s really awesome! What is the feedback you are getting so far?

Thank you, it is good everybody is enjoying it and I think that we managed to meet their expectations.

How long did it take to produce The Formation Of Damnation?

Well, we really started working hard on the 1st of September and we started recording on November.

Did you all work together?

No, it’s mostly me, Eric and Paul. Greg was also there but Eric came up with the riffs I arranged them with the vocals.

 Was there any reason that Alex did not take part on the song writing?


Alex was busy during that time touring with TRANSIBERIA ORCHESTRA and he actually came in a couple of days before the start of the tour. In the middle of some days off they flew back to New York to record his tracks. Before his tour he had the chance to show him some of the songs and demos and he showed as some of his stuff. So, this is roughly how we did it.

So, are you working separately and then mix your ideas in the studio.

We did two demos before getting in the studio and we knew exactly what we wanted before start recording the album.

 Did you have in your mind how you would like the album to sound before start writing the new music?

….hmm no, but we knew what we wanted to do. We wanted a big drum sound and a really one not fake sample drums.

Did you think of the fans regarding the new album?

No, not really. We were focused on what we wanted to do and that was something stronger, better and kind of different than The Gathering. I wanted to sing a little more and have more lead guitars on it.

What are the lyrics about?


They are about really things that we have to deal in our life. We have song about the 9/11 tragic invent and terrorism, a song for our troops going to battle, a song about my father who recently passed away. The rest of the songs are about everyday things that are real as I said and are not based to fictional stories.

 So, what is coming first, the music or the lyrics?

Definitely the music. I am writing the lyrics on the feelings I am getting by the music.

Do you have any plans to make a video clip from the new album?

Yeah, we have scheduled a shooting on the 17th of May. I think it will be our first after 15 years or something. We are going to shoot More Than Meets The Eye and then Henchmen Ride in July.

What about a live DVD, do you think that you should make through this tour?

I don’t know but I really doubt it because we have already done it with Live In London.

 From your point of you what are the differences between TESTAMENT of the early days compared to the band nowadays?

pause. There are some things that are the same, especially now with the original guys back in the band but it is definitely different because we are all men now, we have our families and lives. We are better musicians than we did and so the songs we do now come way better.

 What is your opinion about the Metal scene nowadays?

I think that it is good and looks pretty healthy.

Ok, how does it feel getting back on the road with that heavy program ahead of you?

It feels good. Well, we have a new album and so we have to support it.


 You have also booked some days with JUDAS PRIEST, HEAVEN ‘N HELL and MOTORHEAD.

Yeah that is going to be very good. We haven’t done a proper American tour for a long time so it is good to have a good tour like that.

How did you decide to have Paul Bostaph as a regular band member.

He leaves close to where we are and he has been with the band before so he knows the TESTAMENT set. After all he comes from a generation of music that we all play so he was the perfect choice.

Looking back to your career can you say that you feel satisfied?

Yeah, I think that things always happen for a reason and through all the changes in the music climate we actually survived and here we are today with a new album with the original guys back. So, there no regrets it’s all good!

You have a voice that can handle Death and Thrash Metal at ease, do you have any music genre that you like best?

All of them. No that I can combine them all together it is the best thing for me. You know, I can do exactly what I feel; my voice can follow the feeling I am getting from the music.

Ok, my last questions; you have booked two days in Greece after a long time. What are your memories from Greece?

Yeah on day is at Thessaloniki that is a beautiful city with some very beautiful women, great people and of course an excellent show. And a lot of Ouzo! I remember that there was one bar that it had only Ouzo so it was just great!

 Chuck I have to thank you for your time and feel free to say anything to close our conversation.

Just, sorry for taking us so long to make a new album it won’t happen again!



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