Personalities | Alex Skolnick | Testament to Remember | Guitar Heroes
Alex Skolnick (b. 1968) is best known as a metal guitarist with thrash pioneers Testament, but metal is just one facet of the talented guitarist’s abilities.
Skolnick was born in Berkeley, California. At the age of nine, he discovered Kiss and subsequently decided to learn guitar. He was later inspired by the highly technical work of Eddie Van Halen and Randy Rhoads. At the age of 16, he joined a band called Legacy. Two years later, the band changed their name to Testament and entered the studio to record their first album, The Legacy, which was released in 1987. Skolnick would go on to record five more albums with Testament before the group disbanded in 1992.
During that era, Skolnick earned well-deserved praise in the guitar community, regularly appearing at the top of readers’ polls in guitar magazines as Best Thrash Guitarist or Most Underrated Guitarist. It was also during this time that Skolnick saw one of jazz legend Miles Davis’s guitar-driven bands on television, sparking an intense passion for jazz music. He began to study the jazz language intently, eventually moving to New York City to attend New School University, where he earned a degree in jazz performance in 2001.
While attending New School, he founded The Alex Skolnick Trio. Their first recording, Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation (2002), featured jazz arrangements of classic metal songs. Subsequent releases Transformation (2004) and Last Day In Paradise (2007) featured similar arrangements of metal tunes, accompanied by original bebop compositions.
In recent years, Skolnick has toured as a member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a classical-rock odyssey that performs technically demanding arrangements of Christmas songs to sold-out arenas. He is also featured in ‘Jekyll & Hyde: In Concert’, the touring version of the hit Broadway show ‘Jekyll & Hyde’, and has begun working with composer Jim Steinman on the Dream Engine project, performing new songs and classics. In 2005, Skolnick reunited with Testament for a highly successful series of sold-out concerts in Europe and Japan. The Formation Of Damnation was released in 2008. It was the first studio album of all-new material for Testament in nine years and the first to feature Skolnick on guitar since 1992’s The Ritual. A further Testament album, Dark Roots Of Earth, was released in 2012.
Testament: The Legacy
The Alex Skolnick Trio: Goodbye To Romance: Standards For A New Generation
The Alex Skolnick Trio: Last Day In Paradise
Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Night Castle
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