When asked if things got so bad in the 90s that he came close to quitting, Billy responded: “Well, yeah. In 1997, I auditioned for SEPULTURA [after Max Cavalera left]. It was right at that point where the record deal’s over, we didn’t have a band, it was just really tough. I thought, ‘Maybe I should just look for another band that’s established out there.’
“But I came in too late to the party with SEPULTURA,” he added. “I turned in my demo too late. They said, ‘Oh, we loved it but we already told Derrick [Green] he got the gig.’ But things happen for a reason.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Billy was asked what was his first reaction to hearing TESTAMENT, which at the time was called THE LEGACY.
“There were good. Zet [original TESTAMENT singer and current EXODUS frontman, Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza] was my younger brother’s best friend, so I went to see their gig in Alameda,” he replied. It was Eric [Peterson] and his brother Derek on guitar, and they all wore priest collars. It was very entertaining. Like, ‘Wow, these guys are pretty good.’
“Shortly after that, Alex [Skolnick, guitar] joined the band in 1983 and did the demo [in 1985], and that’s when Zet played me the demo with three songs. I was, like, ‘Wow, these are really mature songs for those kids I saw playing not too long ago.’
Billy added: “When Zet decided to leave to join EXODUS [in 1986], he kind of handed me the baton, ‘Call Alex, they need a singer now.’ At that point, I was, like, [determinedly] ‘OK, I’m gonna find a band that I’m gonna join and be a part of it.’ And I walked right into that band. The timing was perfect.”
TESTAMENT released their new album, Titans Of Creation, on April 3 via Nuclear Blast. You can get the album here.