Testament‘s Alex Skolnick is one of the most beloved and admired guitarists in the world. Along with fellow band member Eric Peterson, the duo have unleashed some of the most ear-gasmic guitar hooks and solos in metal history. As well as being a thrash shredder, Skolnick dabbles in jazz with the Alex Skolnick Trio and has toured with the iconic rock opera outfit Trans-Siberian Orchestra. However, during our recent interview with Skolnick, he revealed that he has no plans to ever return to the Orchestra.

“That [Trans-Siberian Orchestra] is something I did for a number of years, and I got some invaluable experience,” Skolnick tells us. “I’m grateful for the experience, but it’s something I am not doing anymore.”

He continues, “Basically, it has to do with time and energy. It was very demanding. For the last few years there have been spring and winter tours, and I was doing the winter tour. When you factor in the two-month tour, rehearsal time and recovery time, because it was an average of two shows a day, with sound check and autograph signings — it was amazing, but it was such a knockout, grueling experience. It would just take so much time and energy. As the rest of my career outside of that was taking off, it became harder and harder to go back and designate that kind of commitment.

Skolnick went into even more detail of why he’s chosen to dedicate himself to his other projects. “If I had done the tour last year, I would have missed touring with Testament and Anthrax. If I had done the year before, I would have missed touring with Rodrigo y Gabriela and the Alex Skolnick Trio. I just realized I needed that time back. I enjoyed being a part of the spectacle, but I would rather be part of a much smaller production where I play a bigger role and have more creative input.”

Testament are setto begin the third leg of their North American tour with Anthrax and Death Angel this fall. Stay tuned for our full interview with Alex Skolnick.

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