He's the singer who has accompanied "Testament" on all their albums since its inception, he has a powerful voice and you would not want to meet him in a dark alley. Here are some interesting facts about Chuck Billy who is celebrating his birthday today:
(Photo: Liz Ramanand)
1. He was born on June 23, 1962 in Oakland California as Charles Billy.
2. Billy was born to an Indian father and a Mexican mother. He is part of the "Pomo" tribe from Northern California, and is proud of its Native American heritage.
3. The songs "Trail of Tears", "Alegiance" and "Native Blood", were written as a tribute to his legacy.
4. Billy is a cousin of Stephen Carpenter, the founder and lead guitarist of the metal band "Deftones".
5. Already in high school he was part of bands he formed together with his classmates.
6. His first appearance on stage was at "The Stage Club" in California, with the band "Rampage", in 1982.
7. He began his musical career as the lead singer of a local metal band called "Guilt", which also included Danny Gill who would become the guitarist for "Hericane Alice" and "Medicine Wheel". They recorded one demo in 1984 and contributed the song "Down to the City" to the "U.S. Metal Vol. IV" collection.
8. In 1986 Billy joined "Legacy" as a replacement for his childhood friend, lead singer Steve "Zetro" Souza, who recommended him to the band and would later join "Exodus".
(Photo: Nuclear Blast)
9. The band changed its name to "Testament" and released their debut album "The Legacy" in 1987. Billy contributed one song to the album called "Do or Die".
10. Since then, Billy has released twelve more studio albums with "Testament" including "The New Order", "Demonic", "Practice What You Preach", "The Gathering", "The Ritual", "Titans Of Creation" and more.
11. Billy and guitarist Eric Peterson are the only ones to appear on any of "Testament's" albums.
12. His singing style has changed over the years considerably, from a clear and high thrash style towards the low and deep death. Since the album "Low" Billy combines the two styles, sometimes within the same song.
13. In 1997 "Testament's" contract with its record company ended and the band thought of breaking up. This sent Billy to audition as Max Cavalera's replacement in "Sepultura", but he lost that role to Derrick Green.
14. In 2001 Billy was diagnosed with a rare strain of testicular cancer. He managed to overcome the disease with the help of an Indian healing method and by 2003 he had returned to the stages with the band.
15. Remember Steve "Zetro" Souza who recommended Billy to "Testament" members? So Billy replaced him as the singer of "Exodus" in a performance held on October 28, 2004, where the band served as a warm-up show for "Megadeth".
16. Ten years later, in 2014, Billy will participate in in the song "BTK", from Exodus' "Blood In, Blood Out" album. Kirk Hammett was also featured on the album.
17. In 2015 Billy was part of the supergroup "Metal Allegiance" which also included his friend Alex Skolnick.
18. In 2019, Billy appeared as a guest on the song "The Crownless King" by "Killswitch Engage",taken from their album "Atonement".
19. In 2020, Billy appeared in the song "Routes" by "Lamb of God", taken from their album "Lamb of God".
20. "Marvel" lovers will be interested to know that Billy contributed his voice to the "What If ...?" Series, that you can watch on "Disney +"