TESTAMENT’s ALEX SKOLNICK: The Band I Thought Would Be As Great As Metallica, But They Faded Into Obscurity

TESTAMENT guitarist Alex Skolnick remembered the early days of the thrash scene, singling out RAVEN – one of the bands for whom METALLICA opened on their first major tour – as the act he though would become one of the ultimate greats.

Explaining how he bonded with MELVINS frontman Buzz Osborne over their fondness of RAVEN, Alex told Jamey Jasta (as transcribed by Ultimate-Guitar.com):

“There was a quote in a magazine, [Buzz] was talking about the band Raven in early days – we thought they were gonna do what Metallica did.

“When those bands toured together they were sort of on equal footing. It was ‘Kill ‘Em All‘ for one tour, and those Raven records were great.

“We toured with [Raven] back in the day. That was one of those strange eye-opening music business things. In high-school I listened to Raven and I saw them as this massive band.

“And then fast forward a couple of years, they put out a couple of duds of records, unfortunately. And they were supporting Testament in Europe, it was the weirdest thing.”

RAVEN was founded in 1975 by the Gallagher brothers – John and Mark. They have 13 studio albums under their belt and are still active to this day.

During the rest of the chat, Alex sang praises of RATT, saying how their impact on various artists is greatly underrated:

“Early Ratt stuff is fantastic. Even Zappa was a fan. Dweezil was a big fan when he was learning guitar. He loved Ratt and Ozzy.

“Van Halen came over to the house a couple of times and Dweezil would play him the stuff and some of the stuff he was like, ‘Okay, you are gonna outgrow this one.’

“But with the Ratt stuff he said, ‘No, that’s some great guitar playing.’ Stephen’s [Pearcy] voice, it’s not an effeminate voice, it was actually kind of slimy, it had this masculine quality.

“I think they influenced music that you would never think they influenced. I remember being at an Alice in Chains concert, they were supporting Mastodon, and I ran into Ben Weinman from The Dillinger Escape Plan and we watched it together.

“And one of the Alice tunes – I started singing a Ratt tune. I started singing ‘Round and Round’ and I think it was to ‘Dam That River.’ It’s like the same groove and he flipped out. He said ‘Oh my god, it’s like the same thing!'”