Mike Portnoy, Alex Skolnick Have Message for Face Mask Protestors

Rockers such as Mike Portnoy (Sons of Apollo, formerly Dream Theater) and Alex Skolnick (Testament) are using social media to urge others to wear face coverings during the coronavirus pandemic.

The drummer and guitarist, respectively, each took to their internet outlet of choice over the weekend to make their pleas for public safety. The musicians’ combined message is clear: Wearing a face mask in public isn’t a political act. It merely helps protect those around you who may be more vulnerable.

For Portnoy, that meant highlighting a video of a customer refusing to wear a mask inside of a store. Such disruptions are growing more common as some claim that retailers requiring masks infringes on their liberty. However, on Sunday (June 28), the percussionist explained how such a stance is uncaring.

“What the hell is wrong with some people?” Portnoy asks. “All because she’s supposed to wear a mask in a store to protect other people. How much more childish, irresponsible and selfish can people be? Are they throwing fits because they have to wear a seatbelt in the car too?”

The drummer continues, “This isn’t about you, it’s about others! How can people like you be so selfish? It is so you don’t spread your potentially infected germs onto other people who may be vulnerable and at-risk! How isn’t that soooo blatantly obvious? And this isn’t about ‘sides’ or politics!”

Skolnick shared a similar statement. The previous day (June 27), the Testament headbanger and frequent jazz guitarist posted a selfie-style video on his Instagram account. In it, he mocks those who maintain that required facial coverings in public encroach on their rights.

“‘Our freedom! You can’t tell me to wear a mask!'” Skolnick derides. “I’m sorry, I have to vent. This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. You’re gonna make it political, wearing a mask? Going indoors to restaurants and breathing on everybody, making that political? It’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard since freedom fries.”

The musicians’ exhortations fall in line with CDC recommendations as many municipalities move to make public mask-wearing officially compulsory. As it spells out on the CDC’s webpage concerning facial coverings, “Your cloth face covering may protect them. Their cloth face covering may protect you.”

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Charlie Benante Recruits Crobot Singer to Cover Rush’s ‘Freewill’

Another day, another killer installment in Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante‘s “Yo! Watch the Beat” video covers series. Benante has chosen a variety of covers, but keeps coming back to Rush, this time pulling in Crobot vocalist Brandon Yeagley to lend a vocal to his quarantined cover of “Freewill.”

Benante has frequently turned to Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick and Suicidal Tendencies bassist Ra Diaz to help him pull off his covers, but Yeagley’s addition provides a fresh vocal to his covers process.

The drummer states, “‘Freewill’ is about thinking for yourself, accepting difficult truths and avoiding superstition, magical thinking and herd mentality (most pertinent during these times). We now have a @rush trilogy. When we ‘made a choice’ (as the song says) to take on this tune, we had a new challenge on our hands: Our previous two (‘YYZ’ and ‘La Villa Strangiato’) are both instrumental and doing this one would require a vocalist who is up to the task (sadly that excludes the three of us). Fortunately, we know just the guy. On vocals, we proudly present Brandon Yeagley @brandoncrobot of @crobotband.”

Benante continues, “In addition to Neil Peart (the great Rush drummer and composer of these lyrics, whom we lost in January), this song is dedicated to John Horton Conway, genius mathematician who recently left us due to Covid-19, whose influence extended beyond mathematical circles, including artists (such as musician/producer Brian Eno), software developers, game makers etc and whose achievements include a personal favorite entitled ‘Free Will Theorem.'”

To keep up with Benante’s covers, be sure to check out his YouTube channel here.

Charlie Benante, Alex Skolnick, Ra Diaz + Brandon Yeagley Cover Rush’s “Freewill”

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