TESTAMENT's Chuck Billy and EXODUS's Steve "Zetro" Souza have released a new 40-minute video in which they go in depth about the two bands' decision to postpone the North American leg of their "The Bay Strikes Back Tour" to 2022. The 30-date trek — also featuring DEATH ANGEL — was originally scheduled to kick off on October 6 at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California and make stops in Austin, New York, and Detroit before concluding on November 27 at The Fox in Oakland.
Speaking about the thought process behind pushing back the tour, Chuck said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I called Zet and I called Will [Carroll, drums] and Ted [Aguilar, guitar] from DEATH ANGEL and just wanted to hear what everybody's thoughts were. And the most important thing, I think, came back as that when we did the European leg [in February/March 2020], we all had such a great time. It was the first time where you go out and there's not a band that you met that you've gotta get to know and hang out with. Where we came into it as, like, 'Hey, buddy.' We're all pals flying out together. It didn't feel like starting a tour. And at the end of it, we all had a good time. No attitudes, no problems.
"We said, 'This has gotta go to America. This has to go everywhere,'" he continued. "We were saying that. The most key thing was, you know what? Remember how much fun we had? I was talking to Tom [Hunting, EXODUS drummer] about it and Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist]. We had a great time. Do we wanna do America and not have fun, not enjoy ourselves?
"'Cause I did talk to other [bands who were recently] on tour, and the consensus was it wasn't fun. And we were, like, do we wanna go do that? We wanna have fun. I think we're bands that like to go out and talk to the fans. We don't hide and run from fans."
Added Zetro: "Then there's the whole cost factor. Buses cost money. Crew cost money. We're not rich rock stars. We live off the business, and we're very fortunate to do so, but we still have to look at it from that angle. And if we go out for three weeks, and we've printed all this merchandise with the dates on the back, and Chuck gets sick. Are you gonna get a new singer for TESTAMENT? You can't do that. You can't replace it. So the tour's now over with. 'Cause DEATH ANGEL and EXODUS are not gonna go, 'Well, TESTAMENT's dropping off. We're just gonna continue.' That's not the package. That's not how it works. Gary gets sick. Over with. Zetro gets sick. Over with. Tom, who's just coming back from his whole ordeal with cancer. Tom gets sick — done, over, tour over.
"And, again, we're talking to our friends on other tours. We're getting the feedback from the crews. And they're telling us what's going on and what a nightmare it is. 'And yes, we're there working, but we're isolated on the bus.'
"I've always said, as soon as it's not fun anymore, I don't wanna fucking do it anymore," Zetro said. "So if we're gonna go out there for five weeks, and you're gonna basically put me in a rolling prison, I can't do that. On days off, we have to be accountable for. I like going to the movies or going to games and stuff on days off. I can't do that, 'cause if I go out and I get exposed and I expose everybody, it's just the way… We have to tour in a bubble, basically."
Continued Chuck: "We really took our time thinking about, 'Do we wanna go and do this?' And I think at the end of the day, after all this talk, it just came down to, 'Let's go out and do this right. Let's go out and have some fun. Let's go out and do it for the fans that got to hang out that we've been doing this for for all this time.' And it just made more sense [to postpone it].
"So many restrictions in venues in different cities are different. You've either gotta have the shot or show proof… So, as time goes by, I think it's all gonna open up better.
"First of all, we've seen the world change. 'Okay, there's daylight. Things are getting normal.' And then the delta variant hits," Chuck added. "We're, like, 'Oh, here we go again.' Things are changing — shutdown, restrictions are coming back. We thought we booked this tour knowing by the time October comes around, it's gonna be free and clear. And it changed on us. So that was the sucky part for us."
"The Bay Strikes Back Tour" dates have been rebooked beginning in April and will include additional cities not originally scheduled for the tour.
"The Bay Strikes Back Tour" 2022 dates:
Apr. 09 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Fremont Theater
Apr. 10 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
Apr. 12 - San Diego, CA - House of Blues
Apr. 13 - Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
Apr. 15 - Tucson, AZ - Rialto Theatre
Apr. 16 - Albuquerque, NM - Sunshine Theater
Apr. 19 - Oklahoma City, OK - Diamond Ballroom
Apr. 20 - Houston, TX - White Oak Music Hall
Apr. 21 - Austin, TX - Emo's
Apr. 22 - Dallas, TX -Amplified Live
Apr. 23 - New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
Apr. 26 - Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
Apr. 27 - Raleigh, NC - The Ritz
Apr. 30 - Sayreville, NJ -Starland Ballroom
May 01 - Baltimore, MD - Soundstage
May 02 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
May 03 - Philadelphia, PA - Theater of Living Arts
May 05 - Huntington, NY - The Paramount
May 06 - Buffalo, NY - Town Ballroom
May 07 - Cincinnati, OH - Madison Theater
May 09 - Pittsburgh, PA - Stage AE
May 10 - Cleveland, OH - The Agora
May 11 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall
May 12 - Detroit, MI - The Majestic Theatre
May 14 - Joliet, IL - The Forge
May 15 - Joliet, IL - The Forge
May 17 - Minneapolis, MN - Skyway Theatre
May 19 - Denver, CO - Summit
May 20 - Salt Lake City, UT - The Depot