Alex Skolnick, lead guitarist for TESTAMENT, wrote a popular essay for Newlines Magazine about the importance of artists speaking up at a time of political turmoil. In the latest conversation with Newlines Magazine's Faisal Al Yafai and Idrees Ahmad, Alex explains why artists should speak honestly about social and political upheaval, why he doesn’t worry about losing fans who disagree with him, and why he wrote a rap song called "Trump Sucks".
Asked if he is concerned about possibly alienating some TESTAMENT fans with his political opinions, Alex said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It gave me pause at one point, when it first started happening. There's another phrase by an athlete — one of the greatest athletes — Michael Jordan, who once said, 'Republicans buy sneakers too.' I think he said that to turn down an invitation to speak at a rally for a Democratic candidate, something like that. So, at first, I thought of that — I thought, well, I have some fans that... I don't know how anybody could be behind Trumpism — as much as I could talk about Trump; let's talk about Trumpism — I don't get that. But do I really want to drive them away? And then I just thought, well, I don't wanna play this game and just have to suck it up and smile and sort of tailor my social media presence to make them happy. It actually felt like a relief to just say, 'You know what? No.'"
He continued: "I think it's beyond politics 'cause I'm not attacking traditional conservative politics. It would be very different if this was the '80s or even the '90s and I was talking about people who believe in lower corporate tax rates. Now it's gotten so disingenuous. And the whole belief in the right-wing news echo chamber and these headlines. Current headlines on Fox — one example, [President Joe] Biden just gave a press conference, and one of the banner headlines on Fox: 'Biden gives press conference full of lies.' These are the same people when Trump was giving his public appearance, they were praising it, falling over. So it's so disingenuous. And these same people that are criticizing me and threatening to not listen to my music, they're buying into that. And I can't support that. And I can't pretend to support that."
Ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Alex frequently tweeted against then-President Donald Trump's policies, including the last administration's handling of the outbreak of of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus first observed in China. In March 2020, the 52-year-old guitarist blasted Trump for not being able to "convey a sense of reassurance during a time of emergency."
Last fall, Skolnick released two anti-Donald Trump rap songs called "Trump Sucks" and "Wear A Fucking Mask".
TESTAMENT's latest album, "Titans Of Creation", was released in April 2020 via Nuclear Blast.