Metal-Roos: Good morning, Chuck, how are you going, mate?
Yeah, I’m good. How are you?
M-R: Very well thank you. Let me introduce myself. My name is Adrian, and I’m calling from Adelaide, Australia, on behalf of Metal-Roos.
Ok, that’s cool.
M-R: Firstly, I need to ask how your feeling. It has been reported that you have been in quarantine with Covid-19. How is your family?
We’re getting better, and that’s the main thing—still not 100% but getting better every day, still in quarantine hiding from the world.
M-R: I saw that your bassist Steve DiGiorgio is now sick. Have you managed to see how he is going?
Yeah, he tested positive, but now he’s locked away too. He’s in good spirits and looking after himself, so he’ll be ok soon.
M-R: That’s good to hear. It’s sad to hear people getting sick with this virus, but I’m glad the both of you are getting better and be back fighting fit shortly. To your new album Titans of Creation, how has been received so far?
Yeah, so far we are happy with the way things are at the moment. It’s still quite new, but things have been going well.
M-R: Is there a theme or concept connected to this album?
No, not really. Not on this album. They all really have their own identity. There is not a theme on this not like Brotherhood (of the Snake)
M-R: Did the writing process change between Brotherhood and Titans?
Oh yeah, big time. Brotherhood was a pain in the butt, that was a two-year process whereas this was done in nine months. The songs are much different, the writing also. Eric wrote some unusual stuff which wasn’t the norm. I think it made for a dynamic record.
M-R: Speaking of Eric (Peterson), you two have been together in the band since the beginning. Has that bond created a better understanding of each other and in turn created better music?
I think when your writing and working with someone for so long you fight and disagree like brothers, but at the end of the day we get it done. You know we can disagree on a lot of things over the years. But the writing process, he understands what I can do and vice versa. If he’s writing something and I do not like it, I tell him. Sometimes it means me giving him shit just to push him a little. We have been writing for so long we have that kind of relationship where we can hang shit on each other but still walk away ok.
M-R: Lots of bands have had to cancel show all over the world, and I’m sure Testament is one of those bands how have you been affected?
Well, firstly we had to cancel Download Australia, we had a show in Thailand, and in Indonesia, we had to cancel that. We had a tour scheduled at the end of this month in America that won’t happen. It will be postponed for some other time. In Europe your gonna see festivals get cancelled left and right too! It’s happening more and more. We just have to wait until things turn back to normal.
M-R: When the green light is given around the world to resume life, how do you think your first concert back will be like? Will it be a party-type of atmosphere or something more subdued?
We have been working on an American tour for September. We almost have it fully booked so we hopefully can continue then. You know, hopefully, everything is back to normal then. I won’t be holding my breath but finger crossed it is. We will continue to make plans, but if we have to remove them, we will. Lots of things are unknown. Still, we have to wait and see like everyone else.
M-R: With the music industry being in the state as it is, venues closing down, concerts and festivals postponed or cancelled. Sadly people losing their jobs. Will the music business return to its former self or change into a completely different entity?
Well, it definitely will be going to change into what I don’t know just yet. People are still be going to be cautious and won’t run to shows straight away even though they want to get out, going to a concert may not be the first thing they do when they get out. I think we’re going to see people wear face masks to shows for a while. Which is good, I guess.
M-R: As a vocalist has there been someone who has influenced you either at the beginning of the band and up to this point in your career?
As far as testament style singing there’s definitely James Hetfield. I looked up to him, his style and approach. You know Thrash music style that he helped create.
M-R: What is your take on the heavy music scene of late, the bands of the ’80s are starting to call it a day, most notably of late, the mighty Slayer have said their final goodbyes but is there a band that will take over you think?
There are a lot of new bands. I keep hearing all this time, right now we have Sirius Radio. There a lot of great bands and a lot of cool stuff out there. When I say that I still don’t hear any of that classic style bands. I don’t hear a thrash sound a lot of it sounds a bit recycled, but I’m sure they’re out there and happy doing their thing.
M-R: You have done many tours over the years, do you have a favourite band you enjoyed touring with?
One of my favourites was completed just recently. The bayside strikes back tour we did with Exodus and Death Angel. It was great to tour with bands that you grew up with and are your friends. Hanging out for 5 weeks, it was a lot of fun. There were no attitudes everyone gets along.
M-R: A bit of a party atmosphere going on, then?
Mate, there was a party going on every night!
M-R: Do you have a favourite Testament song to sing?
I wouldn’t say there is just one, but on this last tour we pulled out a lot of old songs we don’t get to perform very often. It was fun and challenging because we all had to re-learn them to play them, ok. By the time we got to tour, they were all pretty solid. For example, one was The Last Stand for Independence that was so fun to play.
M-R: Going back a few years, the Demonic album had a different feel to it, a more of a Death Metal feel. What was going on with the band during that time?
That was a rough time for us. Going back to 1994, I think when the band broke up. We were on our own. We had completed our Atlantic contract. The metal world was changing; it was all grunge back then. Everything seemed to change real quick. It happened so fast but yeah was a different and difficult time for us
M-R: When you toured Australia as part of the Soundwave package, Testament was one of the loudest bands on the day and up in my top 3 loudest bands ever. The thing I also noted, though, was the clarity. I mean the sound is so clear, how did you achieve this?
Yeah, that was a lot of fun and good times on that tour. We toured with all of our regular guys and we brought all of our own equipment. We shipped that all over there, so we had all of our favourite toys.
M-R: Does that make a huge difference as a band to have your own things versus hiring equipment?
Oh yeah, big time! I had my own monitors. We had all our own soundboards. So it was consistent every night and having our own crew who know how to set it up the way we like. We didn’t have to try and dial-up a sound and mix on the fly. It was just there. It made a huge difference for us, a lot easier and cleaner – a lot less stress.
M-R: As a lover of music, what format do you like to listen? Do you get into the modern downloading trend?
I like collecting records. I don’t buy many CDs anymore. The ones I do have the more modern stuff I’m given. Mostly the stuff I buy is vinyl. I’m always on the lookout for the stuff I grew up with. It all depends, I like trying to find older records because I know the way that they are produced and made in the pre, and mid-’80s. Back in those days, you did test pressings to make sure it was all mixed properly and all separated. Whereas today I don’t think they do that anymore. They’ll get the CD mix and put that onto vinyl. It’s not the same; you’re losing the life of it, it’s a totally different mix.
M-R: You play in a metal band but are you a fan of metal music or do you have different tastes in music?
I like a lot of different stuff, but I still like my old classic style of metal. The only time I hear current stuff is on Sirius radio when I’m on my boat. I like to listen to classic stuff like Joe Bonamassa. I like the bluesy guitar playing and that kinda stuff. Very chilled out stuff, its great stuff to listen too.
Interview Date: 2020-04-07
Interviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham