Peter Bailey of Metalheadz conducted an interview with guitarist Eric Peterson of veteran San Francisco Bay Area metallers TESTAMENT on February 14, 2009 at the NEC arena in Birmingham, England. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
MetalheadzFM: You're on tour with JUDAS PRIEST and MEGADETH. What's it like to play such a strong bill?
Eric: Well, all three bands have been at it a long time. Of course, JUDAS PRIEST has been one band that's inspired both bands, and both bands have had more success than us, a lot more, actually, and yeah, we feel privileged to be on this tour, were pretty excited, big fans of both bands.
MetalheadzFM: Your latest album, "The Formation of Damnation", has been well received receiving a Golden Gods award. How do you plan on following it up?
Eric: Well, that's a good question. I'd say that "The Formation Of Damnation" is setting up for the next record and all the work were doing right now is setting up for a bigger idea.
MetalheadzFM: Are you currently writing any material towards this big idea?
Eric: Yep, there are about four songs. We even have a slow song but we thought they weren't ready yet. I mean, I prefer playing stuff like "DNR" and "The Formation Of Damnation" and there's other guys in the band who like to play the more rock melodic style but the next one is gonna be a bit heavier, I think.
MetalheadzFM: Have you been working on your side project DRAGONLORD at all?
Eric: Yeah, we do a lot of shows at home and we play northern California a lot. At the beginning, I really wanted to go nuts with it, I wanted it to big and do a lot with it, but you know, a lot of people in my band, they have day jobs and they're really good friends, so I didn't want to be a dick about it and kick them out and get other people in to make it happen, which was the sacrifice of keeping the band more of a cult kind of thing, but musically, yeah, we do about four or five shows a year which is really nothing but were getting ready to work on a new record this winter.
MetalheadzFM: I bet it's a lot of fun to play those four or five shows?
Eric: It's a lot of fun, you know. When you start jamming and play shows, we get to that fifth show and we think, "Fuck, we're good. This is great." And then we're done.
MetalheadzFM: Are there any other bands/musicians you would like to write or jam with?
Eric: Well I would love to do a black metal project with Rob Halford. He really knows how to use his voice. He actually asked me to put him on the DRAGONLORD CD, 'cause I was telling him about it, so that would be cool.
MetalheadzFM: How much does downloading affect TESTAMENT?
Eric: Probably a lot. Like, there's a lot of new records I get, like the new AC/DC, and people are like, "Hey, you can download it here," but if I like a record I'll go out and buy it.
MetalheadzFM: So bands like EVILE and CHILDREN OF BODOM are citing you as an influence. Do you think TESTAMENT has a whole new generation of fans?
Eric: It's definitely helped playing with bands like CHILDREN OF BODOM — they're a great band, and I'm a really big DIMMU BORGIR fan, and back when they first came to San Francisco, I was like, "God, I've got to see them," and I think Nick Barker just joined the band and I knew Nick from CRADLE OF FILTH. So anyway, I went to the show and went to the bus and I didn't know anybody except Nick and I had my CDs with me, I had "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" and "Spiritual Black Dimensions" and I was so nervous to ask them to sign it, 'cause I didn't wanna look stupid, you know, and at the same time [they] apparently had their [TESTAMENT] CDs and right when I was gonna ask them to sign my CD, they had "The New Order", and we were both like, "Can you sign my CD?" We laughed about it, so that was cool.
MetalheadzFM: So what are TESTAMENT's plans after Priest Feast?
Eric: We're doing a headline tour which is in the States for six weeks, with UNEARTH, and we'll be back here [in Europe] in the summer. We hope to be doing Download again and some other cool shows as well.
Eric Peterson took part in a meet-and-greet/signing session at Dolphin Music in Liverpool, England on February 12. Fans in attendance also got a chance to check out his brand new Dean Eric Peterson "Old Skull" V Guitar.
Watch video footage of Eric's appearance below.