OCTOBER 15th 2013

Chuck Billy and his Testament cohorts have been on a huge roll since they reunited in 2005. Their reunion tour spawned a live album and DVD titled ‘Live in London’ it captured the band tearing through Testament classics. It was still early in the band’s reunion and the emphasis was just on capturing the band’s performance with little to no effort placed on visual aspect of the show. Fast forward to 2013 where Testament are on the verge of issuing their new DVD and live album titled ‘Dark Roots of Thrash’ via Nuclear Blast Records. This particular show captures the high energy, pummeling show that Testament deliver. It also captures the band playing gems from their last two critically acclaimed albums ‘Formation of Damnation’ and ‘Dark Roots of Earth.’ Metal Titans caught up with a tired Chuck Billy after having played a release party  for the DVD the night before. Although Chuck was a little battered from the previous night’s festivities he was a sport and answered everything.

By Ruben Mosqueda  

MetalTitans: I can’t recall a time that Testament has done as much touring  as you’ve done behind ‘Formation of Damnation’ and ‘Dark Roots of Earth.’

Billy: We’ve been very busy over the past few years that’s for sure. That’s a good thing for us. In the 90s thrash died off a little bit. Major labels lost interest in this kind of music. It was a little tough. MTV stopped playing videos which meant no airplay for us---the 90s were tough.

MetalTitans: I checked out for a little bit after ‘The Ritual’ record. I think the fact that it was more melodic and on the lighter side might have turned off some of the fans. After that record you came back with music that was heavier than anything you’d done before.<br/>

Billy: I think that was part of the contributing factors to why we parted ways shortly after that record. We lost focus and we just didn’t know what we wanted . We all had different  influences and styles and I think you can hear it in the music that we produced at that time. There were some good songs on ‘The Ritual’ but it was leaning more toward a polished style that’s for sure. ‘The Ritual’ oddly enough is our best selling record. It outsold everything else we’d released. After that we were pissed off and we went heavier. We got angry and wrote some angry music! (laughs).

MetalTitans: There’s been a thrash resurgence over the past few years. Like you mentioned there was a dry spell where thrash went even more underground that it had been. It’s getting better in Portland for years bands would bypass Portland and play Seattle and them play Boise or Northern California.

Billy: I think there are promoters out there that believe in this style of music and they’re giving it a shot. I think in the past promoters went by trends and they kept a close eye on Pollstar and jumped on that. I think there are younger promoters out there that are willing to take a chance on bands like us.

MetalTitans: You’re about to embark on a pretty big tour in the next few weeks.

Billy: Yeah, next month we head out with Lamb of God. We’ve been talking with the guys from Lamb of God for a number of years about going out with them---it hadn’t panned out. When this opportunity came up we were available and I think they’ve put together a great package.

MetalTitans: You’ll be issuing a live DVD and dual CD set for those that haven’t seen it how does ‘Dark Roots of Thrash’ compare to the ‘Live in London’ DVD and CD set that you issued in 2005?

Billy: I think people will be very pleased with the new DVD. ‘Dark Roots of Thrash’  and the ‘Live in London’ DVD are like night and day because that’s heavy on the classic stuff because that’s what the guys wanted to play. They wanted to play stuff that they recorded which was understandable. We’ve been back together for about seven years now. We’ve been playing stuff off ‘The Gathering’ and of course we’ve written ‘Formation’ and ‘Dark Roots’ and I think it’s heavier and really captures what Testament is all about now. I really think we all have a grip on the direction that we’re going with the band. I think this DVD is very impressive because we didn’t put much effort into the ‘Live in London’ DVD. We didn’t put much effort in the mixing of the audio or the visual aspects of the DVD. We all put in our opinion on what we wanted to see and we were hands on during the editing of the DVD.  When people see it they’ll be floored because it’s very powerful.

MetalTitans: How much tweaking did you do to the set list for this DVD? Did each person throw in some additional songs for this particular set?

Billy: Well we had our normal set for the ‘Dark Roots’ tour but we did add an additional five songs since we were shooting this DVD. We put in some additional classics like; “Disciples of the Watch,” “Trial by Fire,” “Over the Wall,” and “The Haunting.” Those are song that we’ve had in the set before so it wasn’t that hard to rehearse those a few times and we had those down.

MetalTitans: We’re winding down 2013, you have this tour with Lamb of God. What happens once you wrap this tour up? You have anything planned after the holidays?

Billy: We’ll wrap the Lamb of God tour then January 1st we’ll kick into songwriting mode and begin to work on the new record which we hope to have out by early summer of 2014 and then hit the road again.