Raquel Figlo of Heavy Metal Hill conducted an interview with drummer Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, SLAYER, ANTHRAX, ANIMETAL USA) at Thomas Lang's Big Drum Bonanza, which was held July 3-7 at Drum Channel Studios in Oxnard, California. You can now watch the chat below.
On doing double duty with SLAYER and ANTHRAX during this year's Soundwave festival in Australia:
Dette: "Well, I had just gotten off tour [with ANTHRAX] before [the Soundwave] tour started, so I really familiar with… I had already been into their music, and just knowing it for so many years. And the same with the SLAYER thing. I had three days to rehearse with them before going to Australia to do that tour. But I had known the songs for years, and [since] I [previously] played with SLAYER back in the '90s, I was very familiar with playing those songs. And when I listened to them again, it was like riding a bike; it was like I'd never forgotten [how to play it]. Again, it just falls back to the fact that I'm such a fan that I listened to their music not just to try to learn the drumming; it was part of my daily [routine]… When I was listening to metal [most of the time], not even daily, but every hour; it was, like, non-stop. And those were the bands that I listened to: METALLICA, ANTHRAX, SLAYER, MEGADETH, TESTAMENT… So it's definitely helped as far as memory retention in learning the songs."
On how paying with SLAYER in 2013 was different from playing with the band in the late '90s:
Dette: "Obviously, people grow, people change and mature, and obviously, in the case of SLAYER, their music has done the same. They've matured as people, I've matured. I mean, I'm a different person today than I was at 25, 26 when I was originally in the band. I think that things are much more — despite what's happened with SLAYER in recent years — they've become much more relaxed as people and maybe not so uptight with things. I think when I joined the band back in the '90s, it was kind of a tense time for them. There was a lot of things going, not only with their camp internally, obviously, with drummer changes and things like that, but also the music industry. Back in the '90s, it was grunge — that was the big thing — and metal was dead. And SLAYER and TESTAMENT, they were still pushing forward and trying to make it happen, but it was a different story than it is today. Metal's obviously much more popular right now than it was back then, I think. And like I said, everybody's more mature, and I think that our experience on stage now that we just had was such an amazing experience. Just because we all knew each other, and it was almost like a reunion, so to speak. It was a reunion under such unfortunate circumstances, but under those circumstances, an amazing result happened. So it was just an honor and privilege to be part of their history again."
On his upcoming activities:
Dette: "It's possible I will be working with ANTHRAX again later this year. So if that happens, I'm looking forward to that. That will keep me busy for the next several months. And then I'm actually involved with another project called ANIMETAL USA, which is this Japanese-themed.. It's all based on Japanese anime. And it's specific towards Japan right now, obviously. But it's me on drums, Rudy Sarzo on bass, Mike Vescera on vocals… So we're actually doing a record with Warner Brothers in the next couple of months as well, and I think that will be released in January 2014 or it will be released in the spring next year. And then they're talking about us possibly doing Loud Park [festival in Japan] later this year. I don't know; that's not confirmed yet. But yeah, you'll be seeing more ANIMETAL USA later in the year."
Warm-up + performance: