Testament will be without one of their most recognizable members when they hit the road for their upcoming European dates, as guitarist Alex Skolnick has revealed that he'll be bowing out of the upcoming run while tending to his ailing mother. But, the band has moved quickly to keep up the tour with Vio-Lence guitarist Phil Demmel stepping in.

In a note to fans, Skolnick writes, "A few days ago, I sent a late night 'family emergency' email to the band. The hour was 3AM. I was at my mother’s hospital bedside, in a tiny chair, still in stage clothes, a soft guitar case crammed in the corner (I’d come straight from my gig downtown). Thankfully, things have improved somewhat, knock on wood, and my mom’s out of the Emergency Room, in more comfortable surroundings at the hospital, with release in the (hopefully) not too distant future. It’s a good thing I happened to be home during such a turbulent week. At the same time, it’s become very clear how many urgent matters need hands-on attention by yours truly, in light of all this. All of which is to say that, unfortunately, there is no way to avoid Testament’s upcoming European tour being affected."

The guitarist revealed that the band has a protocol for these types of situations as there have been family issues in the past that affected certain members ability to tour.

"Having assessed this situation, it seems to make the most sense - assuming things continue in a present positive direction - for me to sit out part of this current tour and rejoin approximately mid-way," says the guitarist. "While I hate to miss/cancel shows (and never have, as far as I can remember), family first, as they say."

Skolnick credits the band, crew and management for their understanding and empathy during this period and that he's grateful they've given him the time needed.

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"I’m also grateful to my sub for these dates, Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head). If bands are families, he is our 'Cousin Phil,'" says Skolnick. "We have shared stages at NAMM and the with Metal Allegiance and he and Chuck 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). Eric Peterson will also be stepping in for some of my sections as well. Having played with both, I just know these guys will sound fantastic together, like a thrash Maiden. Will it sound like me? No and it shouldn’t."

He continues, "One of my biggest honors was being a fill-in (one of four) for the late, great Allan Holdsworth, with his own band shortly after his passing, at a show he‘d been slated to play. All of us agreed - don’t try to be him (no one can!), just be YOU. And that’s how this is going to be. 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 Enjoy this temporary version of the band (which will be great) and don’t worry - you’ll have me to put up with again soon enough. Thanks for understanding, and see you all shortly."

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