Ex-TESTAMENT Guitarist Stands Behind His Criticism Of METALLICA's 'St. Anger'

Former TESTAMENT/SAVATAGE guitarist Alex Skolnick has contacted BLABBERMOUTH.NET to clarify his previous comments regarding METALLICA's latest effort, "St. Anger", and to defend himself against the outpouring of negative reactions leveled at him by METALLICA supporters in the days after his original remarks were published.

The following is Skolnick's statement on the matter:

"The other day, e-mails started rolling in to my mailbox at an alarming rate. Apparently my comments on METALLICA's new album 'St. Anger' had made headline news on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. The result was an uproar on the site, as well as the story quickly making its way to other web sites around the world. Although it's slowed down a bit, questions keep coming in and don't seem to be dying any time soon.

"These comments were never intended as a public statement and came from a discussion with fans on my own web site, www.alexskolnick.com. I was as surprised as anyone to find this as a news story and couldn't believe the wave of reactions. It was amusing to read phrases such as 'Skolnick For President,' as well as some of the creative wordplay: 'Selloutica,' 'St. Anus,' even 'Skolittledick.' But while I got a kick out of much of it and can deal with a few clever insults, some of it was pretty irritating.

"For example, there have been a number of accusations thrown my way, such as the idea that I would say these things for publicity. That's completely absurd. I simply described a vivid picture of how I and my bandmates felt when we heard these songs on the radio. I didn't know it would become news, and if you think I had the foresight to see this coming, you're giving me way too much credit. Although my trio has succeeded in getting some rock fans out to jazz venues, we have no illusions of winning over legions of METALLICA fans.

"There's also the theory that I'm jealous of METALLICA. You've got to be joking. If that was an issue, why would I spend the last ten years keeping a low profile, going back to school and devoting myself to jazz improvisation?

"Believe it or, not, I'm very happy doing what I'm doing and have never been more musically fulfilled. There is actually a great feeling that when one finds himself or herself as an artist as I feel I have.

"Fortunately there were a few responses by people that actually get it: I could never be happy being in a METALLICA-type band and no amount of money could ever get me to join one. On the other hand, it is those who are obsessed with popularity, money and materialism who are making these accusations against me, because it's all they understand. They know nothing about me other than the fact that I was once in TESTAMENT. On my message board not everyone agrees, but at least we respect each other's arguments.

"I have no personal problem with anyone who happens to like this album as long as we can respectfully disagree. But so many are not giving any thought to what I'm saying or even to how they really feel. Instead their fan loyalty to METALLICA runs so deep it causes a knee-jerk reaction of defense (I felt the same way about KISS...when I was ten! Grow up already). I admit some of my supporters may also be guilty of juvenile comments, but it seems like it's the overwhelming majority of 'St. Anger' supporters have been sinking to the level of angry third-graders.

"That being said, I stand by the comments and find the outpouring of reaction to be a statement in itself. The words 'everything wrong with the music business' came from Lars Ulrich himself to describe BON JOVI. I'm not exactly a BON JOVI fan but I remember this statement clearly as well as the time period in which it was spoken. METALLICA was a band that stayed outside the mainstream, openly revolting against the 'rock star' lifestyle. They were rarely heard on radio, and even went so far as to avoid doing videos. Now, they are the mainstream: darlings of radio and MTV and by many accounts, behaving like arrogant, spoiled rock stars. Is it so wrong to throw Lars' own words back at him?

"And the heart of the matter is that this is not a good METALLICA album. I speak only as a fan. Sure, it's noisy and angry but something is seriously missing. It seems to represents a decline in the standards of this modern day and age, when we are bombarded with so much information we forget what true quality is. As a result, it is easy to get caught up in the opinion that something is good or bad without putting it in the proper perspective. Judging from the reaction to my statements, there are many who agree.

"This is all I have to say on the matter and have no further plans to publicly comment on this. If you disagree with me, but can do so with thought and intelligence, please contact me through my web site and I'll do my best to respond.

"Sincerely, Alex Skolnick"

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