Eric Peterson is the longest tenured member or Testament and has been the only member their throughout the bands entire career. Along with Alex Skolnick he helped create the sound that is Testament. One of the hardest and heaviest sounds in thrash metal. Some people feel like they should have been a part of the Big 4; I for one am satisfied with Big 4 but if their was a Big 5 I would fight tooth and nail for Testament to get that spot. It was an honor to be able to have Eric Peterson answer my questions and find out a little more about the man behind the riff. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Hey Eric! To start off just want to thank you for taking the time out to answer these questions for us!
No worries, glad too!
Testament has been around for almost thirty years. How important is it to you and the band to keep putting out new music? Is the creative spark still what it was in the early 80’s?
It’s been 25 years since our first record “The Legacy” was released in 1987. It seems so surreal because we weren’t even 25 years old when it was released, so to think it’s been longer than my life at the time is crazy! It’s a dream come true and a hard one to live up to after so many years, I’ll tell ya! But this is what I always wanted to do with my life and I still have that fire for metal in me. Watching bands like Black Sabbath & Iron Maiden continue playing after 50 years of age is inspiring and gives me hope to keep playing and recording Heavy Metal music.
The band has gone through illness and inner turmoil throughout the years. Some people claim that it has led to sub-par music and lack of effort from members. I saw the band in October 2011 with Anthrax and Death Angel, you guys seemed to still be loving every second of being on-stage and playing music.
Sub-par? Hmm… Dunno about that, I can’t think of any release we’ve done that’s sub-par, we take all our releases seriously and have tried to serve no wine before it’s time!
Speaking of Anthrax and Death Angel; you have been touring with them a lot. Any specific reasons?
Well the first and second tours were split up because of timing and scheduling issues, basically just finishing up the last third of the first tour later. This next one which is mostly North America being Canada, is something that was brought to all of us because of the buzz and strength of the line up.
This album to me sounds more like a Testament album than “The Formation of Damnation” did and I loved that album. “Dark Roots of the Earth” just has this dark, brooding feel to it like classic Testament albums did. I felt like this album was the bands return to form after touring and recording for a few years together to, in a way, re-meld everything together.
Formation was a great return to the scene album and was a good mixture of old and new Testament quality’s, but as I said to a lot of press, this one (the FOD) is setting up our next release, yet to be titled the “Dark Roots of Earth” a lot of it was premeditated in my mind even before the riffs were written, there was a vibe and atmosphere that was hiding up there & waiting to come out. Heh…
The album as a little more intensity to it as well; was that because of the death metal background that drummer Gene Hoglan comes from?
Well the songs were all written before Gene was a part of it, but that’s not to say that if someone else played them they would sound like this. Gene definitely made them the best to there potential, the difference between “the real deal” (What your hearing) and “processed” (sewn together ‘via protools, like a lot of records these days)
One song that sticks out to me is “Native Blood”. Can you tell us anything about the lyrics? We all know that Chuck Billy is a very proud Native American; was this song that he wanted to write for awhile or just a spur of the moment track?
I think Native Blood has been stewing for a long time, and when he heard the song I had come up with, he knew it was the right song to write the lyrics too. On the album you guys covered “Dragon Attack”(Queen),“Animal Magnetism”(Scorpions), and “Powerslave”(Iron Maiden.) Why those bands? Why those songs?
Why not? I mean to do covers you have to pick other artist songs! (smart ass!) Ok ok I’ll be nice, all these bands go way back before we were in bands and or even played instruments…songs that inspired us to play music.
Testament releases a lot of their albums on vinyl. I know of the classic ones and the newer ones but the mid 90’s albums I am not sure. Why is it important for the band to continue vinyl releases?
I think it’s important especially for hard rock and metal fans, it come across and is way more personal with the way we created the art and the whole lay out is just way cooler! And just sounds warmer. It really is a lot fun to have an album collection, and to have all your records out in your room and just jamming out to them…lots of fun!
How about downloading music? As a musician that has seen the industry and formats change numerous times what is your opinion on illegal downloading?
Yeah it sucks, it takes away from the hard work you deserve to get payed for, I mean it’s great to be able to listen for free or to check out bands and not waste money on something you don’t really like, but I think if you like it, you should support the band and buy the record, I do!
The hot subject in metal today is Randy Blythe. It’s no secret that in the early days of thrash fans running on-stage were just a part of the show and happened frequently. After what has happened with Randy, how will you handle fans on-stage at future shows?
Well, I’m sure security will get a bit more secure and less lenient to stage diving, but you just gotta be careful, it’s just a sucky situation for Randy, he’s totally not to blame IMHO.
Alright time for a hard one. If you were stuck on a desert island and had to listen to one of three albums, which would you choose:
Katy Perry – Teenage Dream
Lady Gaga – The Fame
Metallica W/ Lou Reed – LuLu
It’s not easy, I know.
LuLu all the way! In that gem is a secret message of the future, and would inspire me to swim to my fortune! Or save me from her, him, it :-/
So what is left for Testament throughout 2012 and 2013?
Lots of live liberation!
Thank you again for taking the time out to talk to us!
Yeah whatever :p