Early in 2014, Testament made a lineup change the came as a surprise to many as longtime bassist Greg Christian left the band, with Death / Sadus bassist Steve DiGiorgio coming on board to fill the void.
At the time, the band issued a statement calling it a “mutual parting,” though little was said about Christian’s exit. Instead, the statement focused more on the addition of DiGiorgio, who had previously been a Testament member during ‘The Gathering’ and ‘First Strike Still Deadly’ albums.
Christian, apparently tiring of keeping quiet about his exit, issued a detailed account of why he left the band via his Facebook account. The post, as excerpted by Blabbermouth, can be read in full below:
F— it. Last week I said I’d do this, so here it is. And if this gets picked up by any sites, all I have to say is, I can say whatever the f— I feel like on my own page. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I’m in the US of A and this is my free speech.
Anyway… ”The last straw [was as follows]. [I was] sitting at the bar in the Seoul/Incheon airport [in South Korea], with a couple of the entourage, and Chuck [Billy] walks up and casually says he just spent three grand, cash, on a first-class upgrade. [He] said he thought it was worth it to be more rested for the first Euro show, in a couple days. Then, of course, Eric [Peterson] gets up and walks over to the ticket counter (gotta keep up with the Jones’s or the Kardashians or whoever lol).
[Here’s some] perspective. As my employer, in a business I helped start and put (at that time) just over 20 years into — 12 then 8 — and helped build from nothing the first time and helped resurrect from almost nothing the second time, this $3K for one first-class upgrade stuck in my mind, and when I got paid a couple weeks later, I was just thoroughly disgusted and done with Testament. ‘My employer’ thinks that his ass being in a more comfortable seat for one ten-hour flight is worth more than I was worth for five festival performances (on two continents — neither this one), a half dozen shi–y flights plus a week and a half away from home and my family.
I did this as a job…
I don’t make anything off anything else, so it’s not a situation where I get anything off the back end. In other words, promoting the band only helped my employers — not me.
I made $350 a day for show days, $175 a day for travel days / days off since 2005 — with not a penny more and no PD’s [per diems] so I had to spend about $300 out of pocket to eat in hotels and airports — or starve.
I don’t know actual numbers — no one ever told me — but I heard rumors the band made $100K just for the one Korean show and watched both Chuck and Eric spend $$$ like it was true (of that I got about $700).
Tune in next week if you want to read about a ‘band meeting’ a few years ago in Sao Paulo, Brazil (the last time I tried to talk to those guys about $$$) and hear a few of the things that were said…
Christian was an original member of Testament, playing with the band from 1983 to 1996. He would later return to the group when the original lineup reunited in 2004. He left the band’s late 2013 tour for “personal reasons,” with the announcement of his permanent exit coming in January 2014.