Val Tapia of K38IZ-D in Phoenix, Arizona, recently conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Peterson of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT. You can listen to the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On choosing which songs to play live:
Eric: “It’s pretty hard. Everybody’s got their choice. We have ‘Return To Serenity’ on there because, you know, it’s a song that not only do a lot of bands cover, but, radio-wise, a lot of people are doing. We’ve rehearsed it in rehearsals and stuff. We might throw it in; we’re still working on it and trying to get Chuck [Billy, vocals] comfortable with it. It’s definitely, ‘Where do you put that at in the set?’ I think it works well in the bigger places with a big production because it flows with the whole setup of the stage production and whatnot. For smaller clubs, definitely, you want to keep everyone moving. [Laughs] We’re having a lot of fun. Even something different that we’ve never ever done before, all the players, we’re all doing solos. I’ve never played a solo before in my life. I’m having a lot of fun doing it. Usually Alex [Skolnick, guitar] will do a guitar solo back in the old days. We were just like ‘Why don’t we all do something?’ We won’t do five minutes, but we’ll get up there and do a minute or two of shredding, just get a little bit of personality of ourselves. Alex is doing one, I’m doing one, Steve DiGiorgio [bass] does one and Gene [Hoglan, drums] has a solo and on top of it, we bring it home with an instrumental called ‘Urotsukidōji’, which is off ‘Low’. That one showcased a little bit of everything as well. It’s a lot of fun. It’s kind of an old-school concert. When I was growing up, bands did stuff like that. A lot of bands don’t do that necessarily anymore. It’s fun.”
On the TESTAMENT song he’d really like to play live:
Eric: “There’s this one that Gene and myself, we are always scratching our heads, like, ‘Why don’t we play this song?’ It’s called ‘Fall Of Sipledome’ and it’s off of ‘The Gathering’. It’s a very brutal song and it breaks down, it has an IRON MAIDEN vibe in the middle. I just think that one would destroy. There’s a lot of songs that we never play… ‘Throne Of Thorns’ is one of them and we’re finally playing it. A lot of songs that we do that are epic, we understand why we’re not playing them, like on the record they sound amazing, but it is a challenge to play stuff like that. A lot of notes, a lot of picking and stuff. It’s starting to come together now. I wouldn’t mind playing ‘The Ballad’ again. That one used to go over really well.”
On the quality of the band’s recent studio albums, starting with 2008’s “The Formation Of Damnation”:
Eric: “Call it a second wind or second chance. It’s kind of like ‘The Legacy’, ‘The New Order’ and ‘Practice [What You Preach]’. They kinda had that same vibe when we first came out. It was like we were very lucky and it was one after the other. They just kept getting bigger and better and we got bigger. That’s the same situation here with ‘Formation’ as a rebirth. It all started in 2005 with the band, the original lineup got back together. We had seven shows in May that we’re supposed to do just for fun. We were at a point in our career with a lot of lineup changes and stuff. We ended up doing the shows and shows just kept getting added and added and we got into late 2006 going ‘Jesus, what happened to May?’ That led to a new record deal with Nuclear Blast. From the get-go, like I said, it just reminds me of that, it’s like a second wind. Now we got ourselves back with ‘The Gathering’, Steve DiGiorgio, who played on ‘The Gathering’, that was a very key point in TESTAMENT‘s career. Steve is back with us and everything feels really solid right now.”
DiGiorgio, who previously played with DEATH and SADUS, among others, replaced longtime TESTAMENT bassist Greg Christian in January 2014.
TESTAMENT‘s latest North American tour with SEPULTURA and PRONG in support wrapped up on May 20 at the Brooklyn Bowl in Las Vegas, Nevada.
TESTAMENT‘s twelfth studio album, “Brotherhood Of The Snake”, was released last October via Nuclear Blast.