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Hail To The Chief: An Exlusive Interview With The Chief Vaper, CHUCK BILLY Of TESTAMENT

By Brian Davis, Contributor
Thursday, October 4, 2018 @ 7:14 AM

"I canít smoke that much before but after the show weíll sit down and enjoy one, but yea Iím pretty much a functioning stoner."

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Live Photo By Mike Lewis Photography

Metalheads get a bad rap. What with the long hair, tattoos, pounding drums, screaming guitars and oft-abrasive vocals thereís plenty to us that feeds the fire of judgmental stereotyping; and one need only observe us closely to realize thereís a hell of a lot more good to us than weíve been given credit for. The same goes a hundredfold when it comes to sweet, mistreated marijuana, rejected by society for so long, overlooked and dismissed without being given a proper chance to prove her worth. Times are changing though; cannabis is completely legal in 9 states and medically administered in over 30 states now and its healing worth is now too strong to be ignored. Still, once a rebel always a rebel, and rarely have two rebels gotten along so well as Mary Jane and Metal; now their union is formalized with the advent of the most Metal smoking tools the world has ever seen: The Chief, a high quality vaping line made specifically to help you hit the hardest thrashing highs and ride the slowest rolling grooves. Brought to us by The Chief of Thrash, legendary TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy, offers some of the finest modern smoking technology around, easy to use and perfect for any occasion; but donít take my word for it, take it from Chief Cottonmouth himself:

KNAC.COM: What made you decide to step into business and release a vape pen, what brought you to it?

BILLY: Well originally I was approached by Lord Vaper U.S.A. to do a signature series vaporizer and I was down for it; Lord Vaper is like a Bay Area friend, musician, and metal head so I said, ďYea lets go for it.Ē We only released a weed vaporizer and then Lord Vaper ran the company down a little bit and he ended up selling the company. When he sold it last year, the new owner pretty much approached me and asked if I was still interested in the G signature series and I was like, "Yea! Letís do it.Ē First they wanted to address the issue with the first series with the mouth pieces, the way they came off: They had a tendency to break over time. Also the battery life was not the greatest and that was like the early stages of vaporizers or early generation, where the battery life wasnít the greatest. As of now I just did the new improved Chief which we now call the War Drum, we designed a new mouth piece, itís a glass mouth piece that comes off with a magnetic cap, which is a lot nicer. It also comes with interchangeable batteries so you can actually have spare batteries and bring them with you if youíre out somewhere with no power. Those are the two improvements plus itís a lot smaller, it fits right in the palm of your hand; it works a lot nicer and this is a much better design, new and improved.

All of the people who are designing vapes now are taking it to a new level and weíre there with this product. And we didnít want to stop there with this product, we wanted to expand the line, so one of the other things I like is the oil cartridges. Lord Vaper came up with a product that looks like a zippo lighter, itís what we call the Dream Catcher and itís for CBDís and THC oil cartridges. And the beauty of this is it looks like a zippo lighter, you can close the lid and it protects the cartridges; itís just really convenient, you can put it in your pocket and go. And again the battery life is much improved, they can pretty much go close to ten days without needing a charge. I have it with me now, itís my favorite on the tour. And the third product is called the Tomahawk which is basically a pipe, itís a cone-shaped pipe that comes with like five little pods, you put about a half gram in each pod. It has a built in lighter In the end of it and you can just refill the butane whenever it runs out. Itís also very inconspicuous, it also fits in one hand; you just click the lighter and it torches the weed all in one go.

KNAC.COM: Right on, I bet.

BILLY: So yeah itís pretty cool. Lord Vaper also decided he liked the artwork so much that he wanted to do some shirts and other merchandise, so he came up with a Chief of Thrash merch line. They have anything from shirts to mouse pads to cups to whatever, thereís a lot of stuff available now and there will be new artwork coming in as well as we continue selling. The product is very new, only about 7 weeks old, so right now weíre just kinda starting but I think things will pick up when people start hearing about it and the press catches on. The one thing I have to say is itís not a novelty, these are quality products that really do work well. Most people think itís just a novelty gimmick just to sell something but it really isnít; so Iím looking forward to the reviews because it is really quality stuff.

KNAC.COM: Right on.

BILLY: You know itís great, the vaporizer is awesome. I know the vaporizing thing isnít for everybody; for me I still like to roll a joint and smoke a joint but there are times where I canít do that, like the movie theater or the basketball game. Itís for places for where you canít light up like normal. The vaporizer is the best alternative. Thatís just for your basic stoner but the advantages for medicinal useÖI lost my sister-in-law a year and a half ago to cancer. Not smoking weed, she never tried it, always against the law, she just wanted to stay away from it. When she got cancer her doctor recommended it to her because she wasnít eating so my brother called me up and told me to bring the Chief over, so I did. She started using it and it worked, it helped with her appetite. The first thing I thought was if I didnít have a vaporizer and my brother had asked me to bring a joint over for someone who had never smoked weed before, they would cough their lungs up. They would just be miserable and it wouldnít be a good experience. I wouldnít want that. So the vaporizer is definitely perfect for a novice, especially someone who is using it for medicinal purposes. Plus with the medicinal use you get more out of it because youíre just getting the THC, where with a joint youíre burning the weed and the paper. For me, I experienced that first hand.

KNAC.COM: Thatís similar with my wifeís mother who was really sick a few years ago. It was before all of this rolled along, but we had a tincture that helped keep her comfortable. And my mother, she had pancreatic cancer and they put her on Marinol. She was completely against smoking for the same reason your sister-in-law was. She would take the pills which were basically a CBD, but going to the snack aisle at the grocery store was the best thing. She was like a stoner with the munchies and that was really the only time we saw her with an appetite.

BILLY: Yeah, I mean it works. Itís a shame this country isnít catching on faster; some states are but you know, Iíve seen programs where there are children who have seizures and the CBD oil has been beneficial, yet the families canít get it to their houses because they would be breaking the law and obviously they donít want to break the law taking it across state lines, so families have gone as far as moving states just for their children, which is kind of shitty. You would think for some sort of medical reason they would make a law or something in that state to make it legal for that reason. Weíre almost there but weíre not quite there yet.

KNAC.COM: I agree, there should be some accommodation. I can speak first hand, my daughter had adolescent epilepsy and they had put her on this medicine called Keppra, which made her so sick. She would have horrible side effects and horrible anxiety. The more we looked into CBD, the more it made sense. Now fortunately the tests show that she no longer has epilepsy, but that just goes to show it definitely helps. There are infants out there who canít even function because theyíre in a permanent seizure state. There should be something for these poor kids.

BILLY: These parents will go through anything for their children, theyíll break the law if they have to.

KNAC.COM: So are you considering offering these products on the road, maybe on a headline tour?

BILLY: Headline tour? Iíll definitely carry all products. You can go to lordvaperusa.com right now and you can get a 10% discount on all the products you buy.

KNAC.COM: I just recently started to get into vape products, Iím old school. I like the joint like you, but Iím quickly becoming a believer for all the reasons you mentioned.

BILLY: Yeah I was the same way I just liked my joints and regular weed and what not but now Iím really getting into cartridges and Iím trying to figure out how theyíre made. There are some I buy in the store that are too sweet for me, some taste synthetic, so I like to get the ones that are just the purest of the THC. So with me, Iím really into that. You can vape and youíre done. With a joint you have to light it and if you donít finish it you have to find somewhere to stash it cause we have a smoke free bus and that stuff stinks it up.

KNAC.COM: Yeah this makes it pretty convenient for all kinds of purposes. So, I have a little breakdown that I received regarding the War Drum on your revised version here - is this one that just burns weed or does it also burn oil?

BILLY: The War Drum burns weed and wax. My first edition didnít do that, it was only for weed. So thatís an improvement on it. What they do now is they give you these little metal sleeves that go down inside the chamber. Usually you put it straight into the chamber but with this you have a pod and you can fill it up, when itís empty just fill a pod and smoke up. It makes it a lot more convenient and easier and cleaner.

KNAC.COM: Yeah no doubt. Also the temperature, again Iím kind of new to this so...

BILLY: Yeah, it has 5 temperatures and the highest it goes is 428 degrees. When youíre burning a joint, youíre probably burning it at 1200 to 1300 degrees. Youíre getting all the fumes from the paper and the stems and everything. You only burn the THC when you vape so you can burn it at much lower temperatures. The weed doesnít actually burn so when youíre done vaping you dump out the weed and it looks brown. Itís not green anymore, it turns brown and the THC is gone.

KNAC.COM: So are you coming to a point where vaping is becoming the primary way you get your stone on?

BILLY: Um both. Like I said I still like the old fashion roll up a joint. And to me that is always the social thing, ya know? When youíre passing it around with your friends; there are a lot of bands and crews, people out on the road, of course the joint is always the one you start off the night, but when youíre by yourself, no one is around, you donít have to walk off the bus, just pull out your little dream catcher and take a couple of puffs and youíre done.

KNAC.COM: So what kind of roll does it play for you? It seems like itís a part of your lifestyle but is it something you function well on when youíre writing or performing? Or is it more of a situational hobby?

BILLY: I have my ups and downs when I perform and go on tour; like on a big headline tour I donít smoke anything at all just because I know when I have to perform an hour and a half show I need my lung capacity and everything on point. The tour Iím on now the show is 35 minutes so it goes by really quick. I canít smoke that much before but after the show weíll sit down and enjoy one but yea Iím pretty much a functioning stoner.

KNAC.COM: Right on, thatís cool. Does it strike you as strange that you now have your own vape line and weed is completely legal in some states after decades and decades of it being illegal and you can just walk into a store like youíre buying milk. Did you ever expect to see that in your lifetime?

BILLY: Well I didnít but I hoped that in time that other states would catch on and legalization would spread. As you can see from one state to the next people have seen how much income and tax revenue it has brought in to the other states and those people are starting to wake up and I think everyone has kind of prepared and gotten geared up for it. I mean think about it: You probably canít even drive through your own town now without seeing 4-5 pot shops.

KNAC.COM: Yeah itís really weird. Thereís one up on the corner and now itís become as common place as a gas station or a liquor store. So is there anything else youíd like to add about the Chief product line?

BILLY: There are some pretty bulky pens out there but mine is a quality product and Iím pretty proud of it. Weíre working right now to get some distribution to head shops across the country. Give it a shot I really think you guys will love it.


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