Legendary Thrash guitarist Alex Skolnick spoke with Metal Wani‘s Carl O’Rourke about the upcoming Metal Allegiance record ‘Vol II, Power Drunk Majesty’, what’s next for his Jazz trio project as well sharing some words on a new Testament record.
Having recently judged Banger TV’s Shredder of Metal, Alex spoke about his experience on the show.
“It was a great experience. I’m a big fan of all the work that Banger does, particularly the Metal Evolution series, and the Rush documentary.. I knew they would apply really good quality to it, they’re so good with production. It was great, and it was very intense. It was done in six sessions over a weekend. We shot all the episodes starting very early in the morning. But they brought a great sense of production to it. It was a really good time. I was really please to see the way it turned out. I think they picked great clips. And it’s hilarious! It’s great, it’s fun for guitar players and it’s also absolutely hilarious.”
Being an integral part of the Metal Allegiance core four, Alex spoke on their upcoming new release which saw him link in with his old guitar teach, Joe Satriani.
“It’s kind of hard not to go back to the whole teacher, student dynamic with somebody like that. When I studied with him, he wasn’t a household name. I was lucky he was a local teacher in Berkley, California, and a few years later Surfing With The Alien would come out and everybody would know who he was. Then over the years we’d occasionally bump into each other and we’d say hi at events or through mutual friends. But we really connected a couple years ago. I got to teach alongside Eric Johnson and Steve Vai and Mike Keneally in Joe’s camp, the G4. That was really cool. So on the one hand it’s like okay, [Laughs] I’ve a lot of experience in my own right up to a point. But it’s hard not to go back to that, feeling fourteen years old in a small room with the greatest guitar player you’ve ever heard in person. But it ended up being this great experience and then on the record, trading off with him, it’s like a sink or swim experience! [Laughs] You just have to say okay, you just have to rise to the occasion. It’s very Star Wars like! [Laughs] Find the force within you, in a very friendly way.”
Alex is also the namesake of a Jazz trio who are set to release their new album, ‘Conundrum’ this fall.”
“This new instalment is all original, so it’s a different approach. We sort of built the trio off doing my favourite rock and metal tunes that I arranged for Jazz guitar. Just with idea that I figured there was enough Jazz guitar records of the same standards and the same types of songs which I love playing but we tried these arrangements and it seemed really interesting. Since then, I think we’ve sort of built a style of originals.”
“We also do these quirky originals. We had a tune from the last record called Bollywood Jam [Laughs] which was sort of inspired by Bollywood soundtracks mixed with Jazz guitar. We had a song called Western Sabbath Stomp which was like Spaghetti Westerns mixed with Jazz guitar and on this one there’s a tune called Culture Shock which is like a mash up of sort Nashville styled guitar and middle Eastern.”
Asked if he could pierce any of the anticipation surrounding a new Testament record, Alex shared,
“Oh yeah, I mean it’s being thought of. The recent period of testament, we found that it’s great because there is such a demand for the live shows. But if every tour is accepted it can push back the record by years. You can get caught in the touring cycle that never ends. So I think there’s definitely a decision at the point that the Slayer tour is the end of the album cycle. There will be some one offs. there’s a great show in December at the Wilturn in L.A, there’s a one off in October and it’s a huge festival. Slayer’s gonna be there, also Alice In Chains, System Of A Down. But I think at a certain point you can do one offs, or like a weekend here and there. But you have to not do a tour, because it’s so hard when you’re on tour. Everything goes on the shelf, that’s just it.”