Testament’s Chuck Billy Auditioned to Replace Max Cavalera in Sepultura

  • Axl Rosenberg

I dunno how we missed this, but last year Sepultura guitarist Andreas Kisser revealed that after Max Cavalera left the band, one of the dudes who auditioned to replace him was none other than Chuck Billy from Testament:

“Chuck Billy, he [laid down his vocals over] the [demo version of a then-new Sepultura song called] ‘Choke’ … Because we sent the instrumental [version] of a new song [to prospective singers to record their vocals over]. We didn’t want anyone to sing ‘Roots [Bloody Roots]’ or ‘Refuse/Resist’, because we didn’t want a clone. We wanted somebody to bring new ideas, to bring Sepultura to a different path, to a different level. And Chuck Billy, he did… He used more of the guttural [vocal style on his audition tape]. And it works. Because, recently, we did a ‘Metal Allegiance’ jam at NAMM in Los Angeles, and we played some Sepultura stuff with Chuck Billy singing, and it was great, man — it was great. So he did a great job. But, you know, he’s Chuck Billy; he’s Testament. We wanted somebody new.”

Now Mr. Billy himself has shared a slightly different version of the story with Eon Music:

“Yeah, around that time was right before the ‘Demonic’ record, so we had finished our Atlantic contract, and we were shopping for a new deal. We didn’t really have a deal yet, and at the last minute, I just said, ‘You know what? Maybe I should try to find a band that’s solid, that’s going to keep touring and continue on,’ and at that point, Sepultura was taking auditions, and I think it was at the end that I decided, ‘Screw it, I’m going to do it.’ I think I did three songs; I did ‘Refuse/Resist’, I did ‘Territory’, and I wrote my version of ‘Choke’, and gave it to them. But by the time I had delivered, they had already made their decision for Derrick, which in the end, was probably the way it all should have worked out.”

Regardless of why Sep chose Green over Billy, I agree with Chuck that everything worked out for the best… at least for him! Sepultura’s post-Cavalera output has been pretty consistently meh, while Testament have gone on to enjoy a creative renaissance. So he kinda dodged a bullet.

You can listen to a sample of the Billy-fied “Choke” below. I’ll say this — I would never have guessed this was Chuck Billy screaming.

[via Metal Injection]

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