TESTAMENT played its first show with stand-in drummer Chris Dovas (SEVEN SPIRES) this past Friday (September 9) at the Van Buren in Phoenix, Arizona. Dovas is sitting behind the kit for TESTAMENT on the first six dates of the summer/fall leg of “The Bay Strikes Back Tour”. He is filling in for regular TESTAMENT drummer Dave Lombardo, who is unable to make the gigs due to a scheduling conflict with the MISFITS.
Last Tuesday (September 6), TESTAMENT guitarist Eric Peterson shared a photo of him, Dovas and TESTAMENT bassist Steve DiGiorgio, and he included the following message: “Yo! Chillin with Stevie D and Chris Dovas after rehearsals today! By the way, Mr. Lombardo will be playing a show with the MISFITS on the 17th and joining us in Saint Petersburg Florida until then we are in good hands with Mr. Dovas I think folks will be surprised! See ya all soon!”
Remaining TESTAMENT shows with Dovas on drums:
Sep. 12 – Wichita, KS -Cotillion
Sep. 13 – Kansas City, MO – Truman
Sep. 15 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Sep. 16 – Nashville, TN – Brooklyn Bowl
“The Bay Strikes Back Tour”, which also features fellow San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans EXODUS and DEATH ANGEL, will conclude on October 15 in San Jose, California.
On September 17, Lombardo and the rest of the current lineup of MISFITS will headline Riot Fest 2022, performing the band’s landmark first album “Walk Among Us” in full for its 40th anniversary.
An original member of thrash metal legends SLAYER, Lombardo was the guest drummer on TESTAMENT‘s 1999 studio album “The Gathering”, which also marked the first time the band worked with then-up-and-coming British producer/engineer Andy Sneap.
Lombardo rejoined TESTAMENT in February following the departure of Gene Hoglan.
In March, TESTAMENT singer Chuck Billy told the WSOU 89.5 FM radio station that he didn’t expect Lombardo to focus only on TESTAMENT in the coming months. “I’m not holding my breath that Dave just is in TESTAMENT only but we’re gonna have to kind of maneuver around what happens,” he said. “But then again, this is the beginning of the relationship. We might be busy enough and he might just be happy enough just working with us and it works out. So we’re just kind of taking it one day at a time, one tour at a time. We know he’s gonna be with us for the next three tours — we know that for sure — so we’ll see what happens after that.”
Lombardo told SiriusXM‘s Liquid Metal that he reached out to the TESTAMENT camp the same day that the band announced it was splitting with Hoglan.
“I was still asleep, and my wife, she just said, ‘Hey, Gene just left TESTAMENT,'” Dave recalled. “And she’s been always telling me, ‘Man, I can’t wait for you guys to get together for that ‘Gathering’ reunion.’ ‘Cause we had been talking about this two and a half, three years ago — before the pandemic. And so I immediately — I didn’t even get my other eye open and I was texting Chuck. I said, ‘Hey, man, what’s going on?’ I don’t know exactly what I mentioned in my text, but it was very simple, ‘Hey, what’s happening?’ And he immediately called me back. And I remember Tiffany [Chuck‘s wife] was on the phone; Chuck was on the phone. We were, like, ‘Hey.’ It was a great come-together moment, like, ‘Hey, here we go. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for.'”
Dave went on to say that the timing was right for his return to TESTAMENT.
“‘The Gathering’ reunion didn’t have to happen putting Gene out, separating Gene and saying, ‘Gene, we’re gonna go with Dave for a while now.’ Nothing like that happened,” he said. “This happened organically. And it happened at a time where my other bands, two of the bands that I have, MR. BUNGLE and DEAD CROSS, [Mike] Patton sings in them and he’s trying to get healthy and is taking a little hiatus. And SUICIDAL TENDENCIES hasn’t been touring much lately. So that leaves me with a lot of little odd projects here and there that I work on in my free time. So it just felt like the right moment.
“I know it can be deceiving because I am in so many different bands, but there’s 24 hours in a day and I only sleep eight hours, or seven to eight hours, so that leaves me 16 other hours,” he explained. “And I don’t take Saturdays and Sundays off. So it was a no-brainer.”
Chuck said that he was surprised to hear from Dave so quickly after TESTAMENT made the news of its split with Gene public.
“Right when it happened, it was within minutes after the announcement,” Billy recalled. “And Dave doesn’t remember, but [his text message to me was] simply ‘Lombardo?’ That was the text. I’m, like, ‘You’re shitting me. Tiffany, Lombardo just wrote me, ‘Lombardo?” I called him right away. I said, ‘Hey, dude, what’s happening?’ He was, like, ‘Dude, I heard the news.’ I’m, like, ‘Dude, I would have called you right away, but I just thought it was kind of far-fetched for you to kind of jam because I know you’re probably pretty busy with all the other projects going on.’ And he was, like, ‘No. I’ve got a big opening and I’d love to get back.’ And we talked about ‘The Gathering’, doing that again. And here we are — it could be a reality to get to play ‘The Gathering’ like we spoke of.”
“The Gathering” was widely considered to be an improvement over 1997’s “Demonic”, an album that saw Billy employ a more guttural style of vocals and was released at a time when thrash acts as TESTAMENT had fallen out of favor.
Hoglan originally played drums on “Demonic”, but didn’t stick around long enough to do any touring with the band. He officially joined TESTAMENT in 2011 and played on the group’s last three albums: 2012’s “Dark Roots Of Earth”, 2016’s “Brotherhood Of The Snake” and 2020’s “Titans Of Creation”.