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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Testament: “the Comparison with Metallica was a curse

This legendary team was founded in 1983 in California by guitarist Eric Peterson and his cousin, derrick Ramirez. Later the group appeared bassist Greg Christian and drummer Mike Ronchette, and Ramirez was replaced by Alex Skolnick, pupil of the famous guitarist Joe Satriani. Success came to Testament after the release of their first album “Legacy”. Today they are called one of the most popular thrash metal bands of the 80’s. On the agenda – 11th Studio album, “the Brotherhood of the Snake” and a concert in the capital. “MK” was found with Eric Peterson to talk about who is needed today is heavy music, what times she’s going through, what is the secret of success and why for 30 years the group is not tired of the stage and the tour.

Photo courtesy of the press service of the group

Eric, you not only became the founder of the group, but also the only constant member in the squad over the years of its existence. How does it feel in this status?

– I have very hard to get up in the morning (laughs). Just kidding, of course. In fact, I feel great. It’s great to feel that you and your child created, even when I was in high school. This is my first and only group, and when we have achieved success – it was a breakthrough that caused me tremendous emotion. I’ve always liked heavy metal, from childhood I was a fan of this music and life in the end do what you wanted – it’s worth it. In the group I initially had the best guitarist, so to me the burden is not accounted for, I can concentrate on song writing and implementation of all their ideas. Of course, 30 years is crazy, I can’t believe we have so many play. But still I feel like a child 20-year-old boys, except a little fat (laughs).

The popularity came to Testament immediately after the release of their first album “Legacy”. What was the key to success – luck or hard work?

– And then another. Most importantly, the time was appropriate. Then metal had not been developed. It is now possible to hear groups of 200-300, similar to Judas Priest or Iron Maiden and the 80s thrash metal was in its infancy. Appeared on the scene, Metallica, Slayer, Exodus is just about 10 bands playing in this genre. It was not a competition – just come and conquer America, be a pioneer! We are fortunate to live and be creative at the time. Now if the record companies suppress metal artists imposing their own rules of the game, how they should sound, then we can dictate terms and make the sound as he saw fit. When a new musical style, you are a legislator “fashion” in it, set a trend, and then the younger teams listen to your songs and want to sound just like you look the same.

In the beginning you are often compared with Metallica. How did you react?

– That was our curse. On the one hand, played a hand in terms of attention, the popularity, the other caused labels, for example, about the expectations that we sound just like them. Metallica was one of the first teams playing thrash metal. I must admit that our music really have something in common, but they have become more commercially successful, we have a slightly different way.

– Is it important for you sense of mutual support in the group? And what was it like to break up with different players, different years leaving the team?

– In fact, we have become almost the only metal band at the time, which for many years has not changed the composition. I’ve watched many teams then had to bring to each new entry of new participants – was terrible “turnover”. This occurred for various reasons, often fatal. Remember, in 1986 in Sweden killed bassist of Metallica, cliff Burton, when the bus group overturned on the road… Then the guys were shocked and didn’t know what to do next. Our membership has changed Overkill – a lot of examples. Testament has stayed in the original part of 7 years, it then began a dark streak – first team left one member, then another. Then came the hard times – appeared and became popular, grunge, everything started to go crazy for Nirvana. The metal left on the back burner, but I believe that this period only made our group stronger, we then, for example, jammed with many great drummers. We then began to work with drummer Louie Clemente is a very talented and professional guy. However, it always pulled to more complex music than the one that made the Testament, in this sense group limited. After his departure we started to work with Dave Lombardo, who also became a real discovery, his coming heralded for us the period of new revival, a new round of development.

– How changing your music from album to album?

The first albums were similar to each other, then we were young, we were constantly on tour, clearly knew what we want and what is expected from us fans. Then we were still, in fact, the children then began to be some changes, but more of a personal plan. My attitude to music, it never changes, unlike Alex Skolnika. He had a secret love for jazz, so at some point he left the group and began to engage them. Then we got James Murphy from death metal band, he was a good guitarist. We had to pause development to spend the time to work with. But it went only benefit, due to the change to Testament came to be what it is now. Our credo is melodic music spiced with elements of death metal, black metal, but sohranyaya his hard-rock and thrash metal entity.

– What do you want to convey to the audience with their creativity? Music for you is a means of communication or decoration?

And then, and more. I’m quite a selfish person in terms of creativity, I write and play only those things that are like myself that come from the heart, I have to feel them. When I recorded the solo guitar and someone gave me the advice “do that, play faster or slower”, I realized that it breaks me. It is important for me to be myself. I just close my eyes and try to understand how I should play, what I really need – and the solution comes by itself. Most importantly, the music came from the heart. People feel it.

You love touring, or for years, traveling loses its charm?

– I love to travel, but it is not in the movement around the world, and what kind of energy I get from playing concerts in different cities and countries. I’m really looking forward to our concert in Moscow, Yotaspace on July 19. The last time we played in Moscow and St. Petersburg, we had a wonderful time. Russian fans of Testament is a very emotional and sensitive, I feel that our music resonates here.

– If you compare the Californian metal scene, which you represent, in the past and now that it has changed?

– The time when we started was the era of its origin. In California it was very powerful and developed the hard rock community, although many of the musicians that played there were from other places (e.g. Rainbow – from England). All wanted to get into Los Angeles. In this part of the world there are indeed a lot of good music, Los Angeles was the capital of rock. Now it is not. It’s just a bustling, chaotic city.

– Why in the 80-ies metal band was more diverse, and now all sound the same? Is there a way to fix the situation?

– To date, all built in metal has already been committed, there are a huge number of areas, the experience of older colleagues on the stage is obvious, so young bands is difficult to develop by trial and error, and this is the only productive way. But again, if the music comes from the heart, things will work out, only then can we create something truly interesting and original.

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