ALEX SKOLNICK: 'I Always Hated The Concept Of Having To Be Exclusive To One Musical Genre' recently conducted an interview with TESTAMENT/ex-SAVATAGE guitarist and leader of ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO, Alex Skolnick. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. During my first listen of [the new ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO album] "Veritas", something that popped out to me was the scope of emotion in the pieces. The title track is a beautiful, melancholic piece while "99/09" is as jazz/funk as it comes. Are there any limits to what the three of you come up with for an album?

Skolnick: Thank you. The idea was to capture a wide range of emotions, a sense of depth and honesty. All three of us have diverse musical tastes. We try a lot of ideas regardless of style and focus on the ones that feel right. As musicians we are not easily labeled or placed in neat little boxes. I think that's true of most people. Yet we live in a world where everything is categorized and people are molded into these cookie-cutter types. This pressure, which comes from numerous sources, is unfair, unhealthy and dishonest. This album is a declaration of truth (hence the title "Veritas", Latin for "truth") and a reaction against this form of typecasting, in music and in life. One of the things that I noticed was that even with the multiple tracks, "Veritas" still sounds very intimate, almost like I was sitting in the room with the three of you while you were jamming. Was that something that you were aiming for?

Skolnick: The three of us were playing almost everything at the same time. For a few songs, such as "Song Of The Open Road", "Path Of Least Resistance" and "Fade To Black", I'd been using a loop pedal to get the extra tracks live. But in the studio, I played these as extra tracks (without the loop pedal) simply for the sake of sound quality. Then there were occasional embellishments, such as my added acoustic guitar and Nathan's Calimba (thumb piano) on "Bollywood Jam". But the majority is just the trio live in the studio. You're not only a member of the ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO, but also very well known for your work in TESTAMENT and TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. Considering that each of these groups has a very distinctive musical style, what do you take away from playing in these varying genres?

Skolnick: It's been really interesting. I always hated the concept of having to be exclusive to one musical genre and social scene in order to be accepted. Only at this stage in my life (not quite a "veteran" but no longer "new on the scene") am I able to comfortably express myself in multiple scenes, verbally and musically. I enjoy taking on the challenge of shattering preconceptions from anyone who thinks otherwise or underestimates. Being a part of these three very different projects has helped make that possible. TESTAMENT has enabled me to communicate in a high energy, high-volume situation that runs on "10" most of the time. TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA gave me experience playing in sold-out concert arenas, including moments where all focus of the 14,000 or so people was on me. With the special guests, I had the experience of starting THE WHO's "Pinball Wizard" with Roger Daltrey right next to me and even more challenging, YES' "Roundabout" while standing next to Jon Anderson. And finally, ALEX SKOLNICK TRIO has enabled me to prove myself as a composer, bandleader, producer, improviser, frontman and everything else that no one would have ever guessed when I was this awkward kid who joined TESTAMENT at sixteen years old.

Read the entire interview from


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