Alex Skolnick has defended his right to speak out on political issues, saying that part of his motivation in pursuing music in the first place was to not be forced to suppress that which he wanted to express.
The TESTAMENT guitarist discussed his decision to publicly express his political views in an opinion piece for Newlines Magazine.
Skolnick wrote, in part: “True artistry includes challenging your fans on occasion. Some will come along and discover new ways of seeing. Others will prefer the comfort of their prejudices, hurl insults, and hit ‘unfollow.’ At a time when attention has become a prized commodity, the fear of losing one’s audience is understandable. But we forget that it was fearless acts of imagination that built that audience in the first place. If there are risks to political activism, there are also gratifications to offset them. Every time I have spoken out on a political issue, I’ve alienated a few. I have also had my views amplified by journalists and opinion-makers, some of them household names. This in turn has brought me to the attention of people beyond my immediate audience — new follows, more retweets. The biggest loss to me would be to succumb to fear and suppress my voice at a time like this.
“Part of my motivation in pursuing music in the first place was to not be forced to suppress that which I wanted to express,” he added. “I wouldn’t have lasted long in a regular job that requires you to bottle up your feelings, put on a happy face, and suck up to those on whom your income depends. The 1999 Mike Judge film ‘Office Space’ deftly satirizes such an environment. And in some respects, the hordes of disgruntled social media followers who respond to your political tweet with some version of ‘Stick to guitar!’ are trying to impose a similar type of conformity on the nonconformist world of an artist.”
Ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Alex frequently tweeted against then-President Donald Trump‘s policies, including the last administration’s handling of the outbreak of of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus first observed in China. In March 2020, the 52-year-old guitarist blasted Trump for not being able to “convey a sense of reassurance during a time of emergency.”
Last fall, Skolnick released two anti-Donald Trump rap songs called “Trump Sucks” and “Wear A Fucking Mask”.
TESTAMENT‘s latest album, “Titans Of Creation”, was released in April 2020 via Nuclear Blast.
ANNOUNCEMENT: I’ve written an opinion piece about artists who are outspoken. It’s just been published. This is my 1st essay for a news-based, non-musical outlet. I’m both proud to be in @newlinesmag & humbled to be among these serious writers. I look forward to hearing feedback. https://t.co/0XktlGg0IE
— Alex Skolnick (@AlexSkolnick) March 29, 2021