INTERVJU: Eric Peterson i Testament

Testament återvänder snart till vårt lilla land och lovar att ta med sig en ordentlig show. Vi ringde upp Eric Peterson för att stämma av läget. Vi snackade bl a om turnén, kommande album, boken de jobbar på och gamla minnen:

“Hanging out and drinking beer with James Hetfield. Chasing him around a football field because he was teasing me that my demo sounded like Slayer, while holding his burrito and his beer laughing at me and I´m drunk chasing him.”


What´s going on in the world of Testament at the moment?

We just finished Japan. Last year we did our first headlining tour campaigning ”Brotherhood of the snake” and it was pretty successful actually. We were very happy with it. Touring Europe… we´ve always brought out good bands, but we´ve never done, in my opinion, like a package tour where the bands are up to par with us. It´s been newer killer bands or promotors thinking of bands or local bands or whatever, but we had Annihilator and Death Angel and they definitely can hold their own, so I think that´s one of the reasons it did so well. We also brought our full staging out. It´s so expensive, but we were able to make that happen this time. It ended on December 11th and we had a couple of months off and then we just did Japan and it went really well. We did that with Exodus and Warbringer and now we´re gearing up to come back to Europe for the second leg. We were supposed to do shows with Amon Amarth, but somehow it got confused between the Asian set… and actually what I think they wanted to do was that they wanted Testament to play on their own, because… we don´t do as well as Amon Amarth, but we do better than just being an opening act. They wanted us to come back and do a full show and we´re pretty stoked about that. ”Brotherhood of the snake” charted pretty well in Sweden, so it´s long overdue for us to play there. I don´t know if we´re bringing the full on stage over there, but we´ll bring in the new stuff that we´ve got and definitely some special stuff, so it´s not gonna be just some amplifiers and a backdrop. It´ll be a little bit more than that I hope. I think we´re still kinda arguing about the budget. (laughs) Trying to figure that out.

Are you guys working on the next album or what´s the deal?

It´s kinda like the same thing we did last time. I´m librarying riffs right now and getting ideas. Some of the ideas are on my phone, some are on my Logic and a lot of my ideas I have in my notes. I usually always go ”Oh, I´ll remember that.” and then the next day I go ”Fuck, what the hell was that?” What I do now is if I have an idea, I´ll just get my phone out and hit the voice memo and I´ll write down what I thought and e-mail it. It seems to work pretty well, because when I go back to it a month later it´s like ”Alright, that´s where it was!” I´ll look at my notes and I heard like one little piece of a note somewhere. That´s happened to me my whole life. There are so many riffs that have gone through my fingers that would´ve taken us to another level, but I forgot. I don´t know that for sure, but I remember that they were really good. I used to have dreams of a song, with singing and everything and when I wake up I remember it, but then I get up and make coffee and it starts fading and it´s like ”Oh shit!”

You better not lose your phone like Kirk Hammett.

Yeah, I was just thinking that when I said phone, ”I wonder if that will be brought up?” I won´t lose my phone and it also goes to my iCloud, so I don´t know what kinda phone he had. ”What about your iCloud, Kirk?”

You guys have said that the next album will not take as long to get out as was the case with ”Brotherhood of the snake”. Are you looking for something in 2019?

Hopefully, and this is permitting that we don´t take every tour that comes our way and Chuck (Billy) seems to be on that page. Our plan was to end in August 2018 and maybe get into the studio by the end of 2018 and put the record out in 2019. But you know, Slayer´s announced what they´re doing and they want us to be a part of it. I would imagine, if that stuff happens then things will get pushed back a little bit, but the initial plan is to have it out in 2019. Ready for summer to do all the A-markets for festivals and stuff. This summer we´re not doing a lot of festivals. we´re actually talking about bowing out of a couple to make other things happen with the Slayer farewell thing.

Do you see yourselves doing what Slayer is now doing? One final tour?

I don´t think we´re in that position to say goodbye yet. Who knows what´s gonna happen. Slayer´s in a different predictament, but they´re not that much older than us. Of course they´re a lot more successfull and they can bow out gracefully. When it does come, we´ll probably do something like that. Tour the world for a year and a half, but I don´t see that happening any time soon. I would imagine it´s more near than far away. (laughs) I think we have a couple of records in us.

With the next album, do you see yourselves working with Juan Urteaga and Andy Sneap again?

Eeehm, Juan probably because he´s local. I don´t know what Andy´s deal is? Have you heard what´s going on with Andy?

Yeah, he´ll be touring with Judas Priest.

Yeah. (laughs) It´s funny. When we were younger we used to always argue… like you´d have your best friend and go ”I´m Tipton!” and then ”And I´m KK!” and we´d argue. I mean, I don´t look like KK but we´d always argue. Now I´m like ”Well, you´re definitely not KK. You´re Tipton.” and he goes ”Well, you´re still not KK.” and I´m like ”Fuck!” (laughs)

How´s the Testament book coming along?

The book? Well, it´s kinda slowed down a little bit. I think they want some audio stuff and trying to find some audio in my garage is hard enough with my schedule. I guess it´s on hold right now, but that´s definitely something I want to achieve. A coffee table type of a book. Maybe we´ll get our shit together and get it out for Christmas 2018. Your question kinda surprised me because I´d kinda forgot about it. (laughs) We were really pushing it and then it just kinda stopped because they really want presales and I think people weren´t biting on it right away, but I think we´ll get it.

It could be a really cool book. Fans love that stuff.

Yeah, it´ll be sick when we get it done. We just gotta figure out the audio part, like a cd with outtakes maybe from ”The Legacy” (1987) or something. I had a cassette with us rehearsing before we went to New York to record it and it was so more aggressive than the record and it sounded pretty good, but it was just a cassette. The songs were punishing compared to the record. As soon as that red light went on (in the studio) we were like ”Yikes!”

Do you get nostalgic about the ”good old days”?

Yeah, it brings back memories and it really triggers stuff when you see a picture or hear a demo. I can almost go back to that day like ”Oh yeah, I remember I had burritos that day and I bought cheap beer.”

When you started out as a band, who was your first like music hero that you met?

Meeting our peers and hanging out. Going to shows and seeing Exodus and Metallica. Later on hanging out and drinking beer with James Hetfield. Chasing him around a football field because he was teasing me that my demo sounded like Slayer, while holding his burrito and his beer laughing at me and I´m drunk chasing him. Shit like that. (laughs) He was going out with my cousin, so me, James and her got a sixpack of beer and went to this football field in Alameda. We got some burritos and we were just hanging out. What a weird evening! Meeting Mercyful Fate was pretty cool. I hung out with Michael Denner a little bit. I´ve still got the poster and it´s all ”Good luck Legacy!” which is pretty cool.

Who was the first guitar hero you met?

Michael Schenker. Definitely. I didn´t get to see UFO in the early days. I saw them at Day on the Green, but I was pretty young and I wasn´t the biggest fan yet. I think I had ”Heavy petting” or something like that. Then when he did his first solo record he opened up for Cheap Trick. I actually gave him one of my Testament tour jackets and I saw him giving it to his girlfriend as I was walking away and I was like ”Ah, man!”. He was doing ”Walk on water” with UFO and me and Harold O and a bunch of friends jumped all night. He played all the old classic shit and it was awesome. We had heard rumours that he had walked off stage the night before, but he had a good night that night. He even broke a string and kept playing.

Do you have any memory of the first record you bought for your own money?

Yes. Out of all the places that I´ve lived, Lafayette in California was a small, little town in between Concord and Oakland. Not suburbia but more woodsy type of small town. There was a store called the Record Exchange and they had a poster of ”Tokyo tapes” (Scorpions) and ”Unleashed in the East” (Judas Priest)… no… this wasn´t actually the first time. The record at that time was ”Tokyo tapes”, but the very first record I bought was in 5th grade and it was ”Dressed to kill” (KISS). I couldn´t make up my mind and I kept looking at ”Rock and roll over” and I wanted the one that I´d seen in Circus magazine which was ”Destroyer”. I love that cover. Then when I finally made enough money from my paper route I bought ”Rock and roll over” and ”Destroyer” and those are my favorites, but then when I got ”ALIVE”, that was my favorite record. I knew how to air drum that solo and I think everybody did.

Text: Niclas Müller-Hansen