Alex Skolnick Thinks AI is More a Threat to Pop Than “Guitar Music”


Even if you’re living under a rock, you’re surely familiar with the current debate about AI and how it will impact art and life. Recently, Alex Skolnick of Testament chimed in with his two cents on the matter.

In an interview with Ultimate Guitar, he claims that AI is a danger to pop music, a genre in which, in his opinion, things already sound like they were created by AI. He feels pop music is “pretty mechanical” and “sounds like a machine came up with it.”

Guitar-based music, on the other hand, Skolnick feels requires “the human touch” and use of improvisational techniques in order to capture the sound.

“That’s a very recent technology, and it remains to be seen how that impacts music and the music industry as a whole,” he says of AI. “It’s a little bit scary in a way, but as somebody that does a lot of improvisational music, even though I’m best known for my work playing heavy metal, I know that improvisational music is very hard to replicate. I cannot picture AI doing what we do as live musicians, playing off of each other and giving the human touch to music. I can understand it with other music.

“I’m not sure it would work for heavy metal. I would imagine some types of heavy metal… I’m sure AI could come up with a riff, come up with something that sounds like Judas Priest or whatever, but I don’t know how convincing that would be.” Skolnick says. “I know it has worked with some of the more recent pop music such as Drake and The Weeknd, but that music’s pretty mechanical to begin with. So, to me, that already sounds like a machine came up with it. So, I think music like that is much more in danger than guitar music, at least for now.”

Evidently, Skolnick does not have the highest opinion of The Weeknd, or AI—but he doesn’t see it as a huge threat.

Ironically, here is a video where Skolnick partners with Shredderz, an NFT. NFTs and their connection to art and music is another point of contention when it comes to creative potential.

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