Exodus’ Gary Holt Talks ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ Album, Reuniting With Kirk Hammett + More
Exodus guitarist Gary Holt was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. The musician, who also handles guitar duties for Slayer, spoke with Jackie about the upcoming Exodus album 'Blood In, Blood Out,' reuniting with Kirk Hammett for a guest spot on the album and the group's upcoming dates with Slayer. Check out the chat below
Gary Holt from Exodus on the show with us. How you doin', man?
I'm doing good. How are you?
New Exodus album, 'Blood In Blood Out,' coming out Oct. 14. Of course Exodus on tour with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies in November. Recently in the news, a Kentucky man was arrested for posting Exodus lyrics about the Virginia Tech massacre on Facebook. What's your take on the matter?
It goes to show you that we live in a very paranoid society and in a lot of ways, rightly so because of so many tragedies, non-stop shootings and such. My problem with James Evans being arrested primarily lies in the fact that it would've taken 20 minutes of research to realize that this guy was not a threat. He wasn't a depressed 17-year-old posting diatribe after diatribe on Facebook about how bad he hates his school and hates his classmates and then posted lyrics, then I'd see it. He's a 30-year-old man. I bet if you searched his Facebook page, you'd find nothing but other metal references and typical Facebook stuff. It does show you the written word can be frightening to some.
It's something of a homecoming for Bay Area thrash. Kirk Hammett and Chuck Billy both guest on the album. What makes the camaraderie of Testament, Metallica and Exodus still so strong after so many years?
I just think we are all well into middle age, at the half century mark myself, and probably all of us, just about, you start remembering what a wonderful time it was back when we all started. Back in the days, there was a lot of competition, friendly competition, but competition nonetheless. Now we look back. We really were part of something special. Kirk, he wanted to do this solo more than anybody cause for him it's really like coming home, going full circle, finally playing on an Exodus album with the guys he started playing with at 16-years-old. Chuck just happened to show up in the studio and I made him get in front of the mic. Like, 'Chuck, Chuck I got a spot for you here. Go, get in there.' He goes out and just roars, blows walls down. It's awesome.
It wasn't planned?
He showed up and I kind of already had a little thought in my head about how it'd be great if Chuck just doubled the screams section at the end. He's got this voice. It sounds amplified when it's coming out of his chest. It sounds like he's already singing to a PA. It's really mind boggling how much power he's got. It was just perfect spot with getting Chuck out there.
As mentioned, Kirk Hammett was an original member of Exodus and the new album, 'Blood in Blood Out' is actually Kirk Hammett's first appearance on an officially released Exodus album. Gary, what made now the right time for him to come home, so to speak?
I think the seed was planted. I have spent a lot of time with Kirk over the last four years. We really reconnected. We spent a lot of time just making people pee their pants, listening to Kirk and I speak of all these criminal stories of us as kids. It's really ridiculous. You're referring to the lead guitar player for the world's biggest rock-metal band of all time. Just the kind of things that we did as kids. It's ridiculous. So it went from there and it grew and grew to like, 'Dude, you should do a solo.' He was so stoked to do it. He wanted to do it worse than anybody. It was awesome.
Ten years later, what prompted Steve “Zetro” Souza returning to the band?
We went into recording the album with no intention, no idea there was going to be a lineup change. But sometimes issues arise that haven't been able to be resolved and just don't get resolved. It just doesn't work anymore. That's kind of how we felt with Rob. It had nothing to do with vocal talent. I still think Rob is one of the baddest singers going, period. Guy went from being my guitar tech, this guy with a pink Mohawk to being a true force in thrash metal. When we decided we had to make a change, there was options. It wasn't handed to Steve by any stretch of the imagination. Some of us thought we might want to audition. Definitely Steve's name was in the conversation. We called him up and found out where he was mentally and he was totally ready to go. Then we let him audition to sing one new song. He had the files for like seven hours, had the lyrics in his hands for two and he sang it like he'd been performing it for ten years. It was just a totally incredible performance.
You've been with Slayer since 2011. Exodus will be on the road with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies in November. What's foremost in your mind about playing double duty both bands every night?
Make sure I get enough sleep. [Laughs] That's the main thing. Playing twice a night isn't as difficult as you think. Your fingers might get a little sore. Your neck, you actually get in really great shape. Me personally I've got some ailments that make it difficult to do it, which your average person doesn't have, arthritic hip, and that stuff. So I just have to stay off my feet when I'm not playing. The things that everybody takes for granted, like walking around, watch the show on your feet, go up on the side of the stage, watch Suicidal. I can't do that stuff. I have to make sure I get my rest and I stay on my feet when I play and I get off when I'm not. Then the rest is all easy and it's fine from there.
Gary, thank you so much.
My pleasure. Anytime.
Thanks to Exodus and Slayer's Gary Holt for the interview. The Exodus 'Blood In, Blood Out' album arrives Oct. 14 and can be ordered at Amazon and iTunes. Their dates with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies can be seen here. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.
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