Interview with Alex Skolnick of Attention Deficit

Alex Skolnick, former guitarist for Testament and Savatage, on the Attention Deficit project:

How would you describe your songwriting/recording process for the album?

Most of the record is the product of jam sessions. We recorded hours of spontaeous playing, along with a couple rough ideas, and picked the best parts. Many of the tunes went on for musch longer than you actually hear them on the album.

How was it working with Michael [Manring, bass] and Tim [Alexander, drums]? Was there a difference from your previous encounter with them with Thonk, which was more of Michael's project?

Yes, with Thonk, the three of us never tracked at the same time. Michael was there when I did my parts, but his bass and Tim's drums were already recorded. So this album captured the dynamic of the three of us playing in the studio.

I notice that there's a great deal of synergy between the three of you. In a project of this type, where three musicians who are virtuous with regards to their corresponding instruments interact, there's always the worry that it becomes nothing more than simply each of the individual musicians showcasing their talents. How did you get around this problem?

We discussed it beforehand and we all agreed that we wanted to capture us playing together and interacting.

Why didn't you stick around with Testament and then Savatage?

I was sixteen when I joined Testament. By the time I left I was twenty-three. I had grown up both musically and personally. With Savatage, it was a fun situation, but I hadn't realized how much my musical interests were changing. I loved hard rock and metal but it was the music of my youth. As I grew older I discovered other styles, especially high energy jazz and other improvised music. It was like starting over. I'm still learning more than I ever imagined and probably will be in a musical transition for some time. But I can't imagine not doing what I really want just because of a style I got caught up in as a teenager.

What's going on with Skol-Patrol these days?

Well, I just moved to New York to play, teach and study. So the Skol-Patrol will be on hiatus for a while. However, I'm still selling the CD's on my website ( and hoping to get it going again at some point.

How has Magna Carta treated you with this project? Did you have complete creative freedom?

Yes, we had more freedom than any of us imagined. They wanted it to be unusual, which was a first!

What's your favourite music? Who would you cite as influences?

My favorite album right now is Zawinul Syndicate World Tour. Music that diverse, by musicians of that caliber is what gets me excited about music. Also anything by Aquarium Rescue Unit, Michael Brecker and John McLaughlin.

What are your future plans and where do you see yourself in

The year 2000? I plan to continue working to be the best musician I can be and consider any opportunities that arise. It's an open door!

Music ramblings || Ram Samudrala || || October 13, 1998