Our Testament interview originally appeared in archive zine issue #1 in 1991.
Since the new album Titans Of Creation is coming out on Nuclear Blast Records on April 3, it seems a good time to post a cleaned-up version of our interview below for your enjoyment.
I cruised out to Greenbelt, Maryland, to the Marriott Hotel there to meet Louie Clemente, the drummer of Testament.
The band was touring for the new album Souls Of Black at the time, which was December of 1990.
Anyway, we sat down on the ground floor of the extravagant hotel on a couch, next to some guy in a tux loudly playing boring songs on a piano.
There were people in nice clothes everywhere for an expensive banquet nearby.
D.U.: Question number oneó
Clemente: Is that gonna pick it up? [referring to my tape recorder]
Yeah, itís OK. The Live At Eindhoven EP, it sounds like you did a lot of overdubs in the studio on that.
No way, man, thatís fuckiní pure live. It sounds like shit. I dunno, it was good. I mean, you can hear the energy and stuff on it.
I wish we did overdubs on it.
So you donít dig it that much?
I like it, but itís not good at all. You can tell itís live, totally.
If you could think back to when Steve Sousa got in the band, was he one of the original members when you first formed?
Not really. Me and Eric [Peterson, rhythm guitar] started the band, and Steve came in to it about a year later.
Did he leave because Exodus asked him to come in or what?
Yeah, he left to join Exodus.
How did you find Chuck Billy on vocals?
We just practiced at this studio, and Chuck was tryiní out for another band. And we knew Chuck through some people.
We just tried him out and he sounded good, so we kept him.
Why did you change the name from Legacy back then?
ĎCause there were other bands with the name Legacy, and at the time we didnít have the money to go into any kind of legal battle or anything, so we just decided to change the name.
How come Alex Perialas didnít produce the new album?
It was time for a change; it was time to move on. I mean, we canít sound the same all the time.
Michael Rosen, who produced it this time, engineered on the last record, Practice What You Preach, so we just decided to use him.
How do you like it? Do you think it turned out cool?
Yeah, itís the best Testament album ever.
You like this one the best?
Yeah, everybody does.
Did you do the new record live in the studio again?
No, me and Eric did all the tracks this time. All the basic tracks we did live.
And then Alex [Skolnick, lead guitar] and Greg [Christian, bass] and Chuck came in and did their tracks. But me and Eric did ours together.
If you run into fans from the first record, do they tell you that youíve sold out? Do you get a lot of that?
I never met anybody that said we sold out, ever.
Why donít you tell me about the European ďClash Of The Titans.Ē
Oh, it was cool. We played in front of about 10 or 15,000 people a night.
And Slayer and Megadeth and Suicidal [Tendencies] were really cool, and it was just a good, fun tour.
When you hook up with Slayer for the US version of the tour, are you looking forward to it, or is it gonna be the same old thing, Ďcause you did it already?
No way; weíre lookiní forward to it. Itís gonna be a lot better in the States, I think. A better tour.
Thatís weird, because I hear the fans in Europe are a lot more into it.
I know itís gonna be better in the US. This musicís gettiní more popular in the United States. Itís gettiní big.
How is it for you that youíre playing all these big arenas and the kids canít dive anymore? Do you feel divingís a big part of the show?
I mean, people diving and stuff, you know, that interferes a lot with the band playing, most of the time.
They get up and kick all the guitar stuff.
Do you miss playing the little clubs?
We play little places all the time. I mean, when Judas Priest takes a day off, we donít take a day off. We go play a club. So does Megadeth.
Whatís your opinion of the parental advisory stickers they put on the albums?
I think they should be on there if the album needs it.
You donít have any problem with it?
We never had a problem with it. Weíve never been stickered. But, I mean, I donít believe in censorship of any kind, but a sticker is not censorship.
A sticker is just like rating a movie R or PG, yíknow, so thatís cool.
How did you get the Megaforce Records deal? Did you send it a demo and it liked it?
They just heard of us through the demo and wanted to sign us.
Whatís the deal with the different logo on the new album cover?
Just fit the album cover better.
Was that you guysí idea?
Oh yeah. Everythingís our idea.
So then, you donít get any pressure from the label telling you to do this or do that?
We do what the fuck we want. Nobody influences us.
I know thatís a big worry with bands, that their record company will push them around.
Yeah, we donít worry about it. Megaforce and Atlantic, theyíre not like that towards us. They give us freedom. Thatís important.
What advice would you give an up-and-coming demo band on getting a label?
Just try and do something different than everybody else. And just work really hard and never give up. Always practice.
Thatís all the questions I have. Do you have anything to say to the fans, like to sign off with?
Yeah, thanks for supportiní us, and uh, buy our fuckiní record.