Alex Skolnick to Miss Half of Testament’s European Tour, Vio-lence’s Phil Demmel to Step In


Familial responsibilities are going to keep Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick from playing in some of the band’s upcoming European tour. Fans of the classic thrash outfit won’t have to worry about any cancellations as a result, however, since Vio-Lence guitarist Phil Demmel stepping up to fill the vacancy.

According to a post on social media, Skolnick told fans that a “family emergency” involving his ailing mother would hamper his ability to join the band abroad.

“A few days ago, I sent a late night ‘family emergency’ email to the band. The hour was 3AM. I was at my mother’s hospital bedside, in a tiny chair, still in stage clothes, a soft guitar case crammed in the corner (I’d come straight from my gig downtown). Thankfully, things have improved somewhat, knock on wood, and my mom’s out of the Emergency Room, in more comfortable surroundings at the hospital, with release in the (hopefully) not too distant future. It’s a good thing I happened to be home during such a turbulent week.

“At the same time, it’s become very clear how many urgent matters need hands-on attention by yours truly, in light of all this. All of which is to say that, unfortunately, there is no way to avoid Testament’s upcoming European tour being affected.”

Skolnick said this sort of thing is nothing new for Testament, having already established what happens in the case of an emergency like this long ago.

“At least there is protocol for these situations. At this point, Testament has done an untold number of tours with bands in which one or more band members have had to be filled in for, most often for family issues (which become more frequent for everyone as life goes on). And having assessed this situation, it seems to make the most sense – assuming things continue in a present positive direction – for me to sit out part of this current tour and rejoin approximately mid-way. While I hate to miss/cancel shows (and never have, as far as I can remember), family first, as they say.

“Please know that the entire Testament band/crew/mgmt has been above and beyond in terms of understanding, empathizing and allowing me all the time I need. There’s been no pressure and this is a plan I’m entirely on board with. There is plenty of gratitude on my end.”

Skolnick also thanked Demmel for stepping up, calling him the band’s “Cousin Phil,” explaining how far back he and the band go and the various instances in which they crossed paths over the years.

While we don’t know exactly when he’ll rejoin Testament, it’s great to know that a) his mother is going to be fine and b) there won’t be any canceled shows as a result. It really is the best of both worlds where family comes first, but the fans also get to see one of their favorite bands play.

We want to wish Alex and his family the best moving forward.

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