Matthew Parker of MusicRadar.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Peterson of San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
MusicRadar.com: 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of TESTAMENT‘s debut album, “The Legacy”. What were your initial expectations of the band?
Eric: “[Initially], none. I just wanted to put a record out. Then when [second album, 1988’s] ‘The New Order’, came out, we had a seven record deal with Atlantic Records and we just thought, ‘If we can live out that term, that would be awesome. We were watching a lot bands around us fold on their second or third album. We realized how hard it was. The playing is the easy part, it’s just everything in between — that’s what breaks bands up. I don’t think it’s the music at all, it’s the chemistry. It’s dealing with all of the downtime in between the two hours you’re onstage.”
MusicRadar.com: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your years as a musician?
Eric: “Just being consistent and sticking to your blueprint. It’s easy when other bands come into the scene that are like a whole new different style to go, ‘I wanna be like that now!’ But we have a following and we’ve got to be like, ‘This is how we are!’ It’s very important that you stick to your guns. When you’re a thrash band, it’s not a good idea to add rap, or start wearing trippy clothes — the fans can see right through that crap.”
MusicRadar.com: Alex Skolnick has been back with the band since 2005. Has the way you divide guitar duties changed over the years?
Eric: “The duties have changed a little bit. Alex is still the lead guitarist, but I’m starting to do a little more soloing now. As players, we’ve all grown a lot. Alex has got a lot of influences and it really, really shows in his playing. When you hear his leads, you know it’s him. But when Alex left the band I started taking on more. The other guitar players that I jammed with, first Glenn Alvelais and then James Murphy, were all like, ‘Dude! How come you don’t play leads? You’re killer!'”
MusicRadar.com: So that gave you the impetus to start developing your leads…
Eric: “It wasn’t like that before. No one said to me, ‘Play leads!’ It was just ‘Alex is the lead guitar player, you’re the rhythm. This is how we’re doing it.’ When Alex came back I said, ‘I’m not going to step on your toes — we’re not going to fight for solos here — but it’s just going to add more to it.’ And he was like, ‘Totally, dude! You should totally do that.’ That was a real breathe of fresh air, because the old way would have been, ‘Well, I’m the lead guitar player.’ We’ve all grown up now and it’s such a better band [for it].”
Read the entire interview from MusicRadar.com.