Eric Blair of "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" conducted an interview with drummer Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, SLAYER, ANTHRAX, ANIMETAL USA) at this year's NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show, a massive music-products convention that took place January 24-27 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California. You can now watch the chat below.
On how he came to play with ANTHRAX:
Dette: "Actually, Jason Bittner from SHADOWS FALL, who was filling in for Charlie [Benante, ANTHRAX drummer] on this last ANTHRAX run last year, couldn't do one of the tours that was coming up and called me and asked me if I would be available to do it. And I said, 'Of course. It would be great.' And the next day Charlie called me — which, Charlie is one my biggest influences ever, next to [Dave] Lombardo [of SLAYER], so it was kind of a surreal moment for me to get a call like that, saying, 'Hey, can you help me out?' Which, of course, I said, 'Absolutely.' I just went and did a Europe tour with ANTHRAX and MOTÖRHEAD, and now I'm getting ready to actually head off to India and Australia with them in February and March."
On how it feels to be playing with ANTHRAX:
Dette: "It's amazing, man. The first day that I started playing drums — a lot of people may or may not know this — the first album I ever got from the day I got my drum set was 'Fistful Of Metal' [by ANTHRAX], and literally, the first song I ever tried playing on drums was 'Metal Thrashing Mad'. Actually, I [was] hanging out with Charlie and I told him that this morning, and he was, like, 'Really?' And I'm, like, 'Yeah, really.' [laughs] ANTHRAX, METALLICA and SLAYER, they were such a foundation of my style growing up, and I've been privileged now to actually play for two of those bands. It's a very natural thing for me to play, but at the same time, seeing the back of their heads on stage, and Joey [Belladonna] is looking at me and he's singing, and I'm just, like, 'This is great.' I guess you can say that I play with a lot of passion when I'm with those bands, 'cause it's just absolutely passion and just an amazing experience."
On how he got the call to be in SLAYER:
Dette: "Well, I was playing drums for TESTAMENT at the time, and my attorney was also SLAYER's attorney, and I got a call from, actually, a crew member in the SLAYER camp that said, '[Paul] Bostaph just left and you should try out.' So, I asked my attorney and, long story short, he put us in touch together and I went down and auditioned. Again, SLAYER is one of those bands I've been playing forever, and so it was so natural, and I think we really felt that when we were in a room together. We rehearsed for two days and it just felt right, and they asked me to join the band at the end of our rehearsal the second night."
On what he took away from the experience of playing with SLAYER:
Dette: "Well, so many things. I mean, one, it's like my first experience playing with one of my true idol bands. Again, to temporarily replace Dave Lombardo, basically, even though I was replacing Paul, who, Paul's an amazing drummer in his own right. So many business things that I got to learn — just the music business in general, good and bad. But, again, just to have the opportunity to play for one of my all-time favorite bands and see the back of their heads every night… People would ask, 'Was there anything bad about playing for SLAYER?' And I would say, 'Yeah, every time I go to a SLAYER show, I have to look at the back of their heads now. I can't enjoy the show anymore.' 'Cause I would always be at SLAYER shows rocking out. I'd like to think I did it justice at the time I was with the band and it was just an amazing experience."