Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick will sit out the band’s 2023 European tour to deal with a family emergency. He will be replaced for the said tour by former Machine Head and current VIO-LENCE guitarist Phil Demmel.
Skolnick released the following statement:
Dear Friends, a few days ago, I sent a late night ‘family emergency’ email to the band. The hour was 3am. I was at my mother’s hospital bedside, in a tiny chair, still in stage clothes, a soft guitar case crammed in the corner (I’d come straight from my gig downtown). Thankfully, things have improved somewhat, knock on wood, and my mom’s out of the Emergency Room, in more comfortable surroundings at the hospital, with release in the (hopefully) not too distant future. It’s a good thing I happened to be home during such a turbulent week.
At the same time, it’s become very clear how many urgent matters need hands-on attention by yours truly, in light of all this. All of which to is to say that, unfortunately, there is no way to avoid Testament‘s upcoming European tour being affected.
At least there is protocol for these situations. At this point, Testament had done an untold number of tours with bands in which one or more band members have had to be filled in for, most often for family issues (which become more frequent for everyone as life goes on). And having assessed this situation, it seems to make the most sense – assuming things continue in a present positive direction – for me to sit out part of this current tour and rejoin approximately mid-way. While I hate to miss/cancel shows (and never have, as far as I can remember), family first, as they say.
Please know that the entire Testament band/crew/mgmt has been above and beyond in terms of understanding, empathizing and allowing me all the time I need. There’s been no pressure and this is a plan I’m entirely on board with. There is plenty of gratitude on my end.
I’m also grateful to my sub for these dates, Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head). If bands are families, he is our ‘Cousin Phil.’ We have shared stages at NAMM and the with Metal Allegiance and he and Chuck [Billy] go back to their early youth. In recent years, Phil has become like Winston Wolf (from ‘Pulp Fiction’),the guy you call in a pinch, whether you’re Slayer, Lamb Of God (for guitar or bass),Overkill and even vocals in Journey – ok that’s not true (but there is a funny meme about that). Eric Peterson will also be stepping in for some of my sections as well. Having played with both, I just know these guys will sound fantastic together, like a thrash Maiden. Will it sound like me? No and it shouldn’t.
One of my biggest honors was being a fill-in (one of four) for the late, great Allan Holdsworth, with his own band shortly after his passing, at a show he‘d been slated to play. All of us agreed – don’t try to be him (no one can!), just be YOU. And that’s how this is going to be. Think of these shows as unique, one-of-kind and worth going out of the way for. I’m looking forward to watching clips online.
Enjoy this temporary version of the band (which will be great) and don’t worry – you’ll have me to put up with again soon enough.
Thanks for understanding, and see you all shortly.