Alex Skolnick says Phil Demmel is the Winston Wolf of metal guitarists, as the ex-Machine Head man joins Testament’s EU tour

Alex Skolnick and Phil Demmel
(Image credit: Roy Rochlin / Wagner Meier / StringerGetty)

Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick has compared Phil Demmel to Harvey Keitel’s iconic Pulp Fiction fixer, Winston Wolf – describing him as “the guy you call when you’re in a pinch.”

Skolnick recently informed fans that due to a family emergency he would be forced to sit out Testament’s forthcoming European tour dates. While Skolnick goes to pains to point out the support he’s had from his bandmates and their wider touring operation, he says he’s keen the shows still go ahead.

Fortunately, says Skolnick, “there’s a protocol for this” and the band immediately turned to metal’s go-to guitarist, Demmel. As Skolnick points out, the former Machine Head man now has one of the most enviable resumes in heavy music. 

“If bands are families, he is our ‘Cousin Phil’,” says Skolnick on social media. “We have shared stages at NAMM and the with Metal Allegiance and he and Chuck [Billy, Testament vocalist] go back to their early youth. 

“In recent years, Phil has become like Winston Wolf (from Pulp Fiction),the guy you call in a pinch, whether you're Slayer, Lamb Of God (for guitar or bass), Overkill and even vocals in Journey – OK, that's not true (but there is a funny meme about that).”

The guitarist also notes that Testament’s rhythm man Eric Peterson will be taking on some of his sections, too. 

“Having played with both, I just know these guys will sound fantastic together,” says Skolnick. “Like a thrash ’Maiden. Will it sound like me? No and it shouldn't… Think of these shows as unique, one-of-kind and worth going out of the way for. I'm looking forward to watching clips online.”

For his part Demmel, still has some dates with his own band – the reinvigorated Vio-lence, who are playing dates in support of 2022 EP Let The World Burn, but says he intends to honor both commitments, including the imminent Milwaukee MetalFest this weekend (May 26-28).

“I WILL be playing the @mkemetalfest Preparty AND the @vio_lence_band set on Friday night,” wrote Demmel on social media. 

“Then straight from the stage to Chicago to make a flight that will get me into Germany in time for the Rock Hard Festival. We [are] all with Alex and [send] his family the best. I’ve done my homework, see some of you soon.”

Keep an eye on Alex Skonick’s Instagram for further updates.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a staff writer for Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar,, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.