Guitarist Gary Holt Discusses Upcoming Tour, Adapting to Slayer + Exodus Album Plans
Slayer and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. He spoke with Jackie about the mind-blowing dates he’s about to do, performing with Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. And he also gave an update on the progress of the next Exodus record. If you missed the chat, here’s Jackie’s full interview with Gary Holt.
It’s Full Metal Jackie bringing you two full hours of metal, each and every week. The one and only, Gary Holt of Exodus on the show with us this week, what’s up man?
How ya doing?
I haven’t talked to you in a really long time and you’ve obviously been a busy man.
Yeah, a little bit. Sometimes I am a little bit too busy, but you know, there’s worse problems a person can have, you know what I mean?
Too much metal, you know? I can’t complain, it’s awesome!
You’ve been out there playing with Slayer. I have to ask, what surprised you most about the Slayer catalog now that you’re playing the songs maybe that you never realized before when you listened to the albums?
The real surprise, I guess, I’d have to say is, I’ve been doing the Slayer thing long enough that I was able to start thinking musically the way they think when they play the song. You know, to like, when I would learn some of the stuff early on, I would learn little parts wrong, because I would learn them the way that I would write them. You know, like note selection and stuff like that. So I’ve kind of learned how like, you know, Kerry [King] and Jeff [Hanneman] wrap their heads around riffs, so now I’m able to much more easily pick up those little idiosyncrasies of theirs, you know, just the little weird ways of writing riffs that make Slayer Slayer, you know?
You’re going to be putting in some overtime with Slayer and Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies doing dates together in May. Mentally and physically, what sort of training regimen is in order to prepare for so much on stage carnage?
The actually playing twice a night, and I’ve done it already with Slayer and Exodus, when we did the Slayer, Rob Zombie, Exodus dates year before last. You might have to deal with finger tip soreness and things that. You know the main thing is, like after the first set it’s not Miller Time yet, so to speak, you know? It’s not time to relax and down a couple of shots and a drink; you’ve still got another show to do and other than that the old age gets in the way. You know, my joints aren’t so good anymore, you know, you’re like, you got a bad hip. So, being on your feet that much longer can be a little painful, but you just gotta pace yourself, you know?
Gary, you’ve been working on the next Exodus during a bit of down time from Slayer. What’s the best thing, and the worst about having such a tight window to write and record an album?
You know, I always work really well under pressure. I don’t like it. You know, one of these years, one of these decades, it would be nice to feel like I had this leisurely time to write, but I think that works against what makes Exodus Exodus, you know? For one, I get bored with my own music if I’m working on something too long, I question it and I want to write something else. It’s just better if I just kind of go with my gut feeling on things, you know? The songs so far, everything is just coming out completely crushing, it’s like new level heavy s—, it’s awesome. I’m super excited! But yeah, I don’t like to spend a million years writing and in the studio. I want to get in; get it done.
Because you’ve been so busy doing all the touring, does having a very specific time frame make songwriting and recording more methodical? Like clocking in from 9 to 5?
Yeah, I pretty much start my day, as far as writing goes, I start it very early in the day. My wife gets up, and she’s a student, leaves for school at 7:30 and I start writing at 7:30. I treat it like a day job, I get up, well you know the good thing is I’m able to put it to bed by the end of the day and I tend to get really OCD about songs I’m writing and I don’t really shut it off well, but I’m actually getting better at that now. It’s family time and I don’t have to sit there with the wheels constantly spinning and writing riffs in my head all night you know?
Again, Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies doing a run of dates together in May. I’ve got to tell you, when that was announced it was like, head exploded. Really excited about that, and to hear more about the upcoming Exodus record. Appreciate you being on the show again, Gary. Thanks so much for taking the time.
My pleasure, my pleasure!
Anything else we have to look forward to this year?
Well, as you just mentioned, the Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Exodus dates, you know? It’s only like six shows and everyone’s… my phone was blown up immediately by calls from friends as far away as Australia, pleading that this has to make it their way. But you know, I’m totally excited! I get to play with my band for most of my life, the guys who have become as much my family as everybody, and Slayer, and I get to hang out with Mr. Muir and Clark, you know? Two old guys that I have toured with before, back in ‘91-’92 and that’s going to be just totally awesome, I can’t wait!
Fantastic, looking forward!
My pleasure, thank you.
This coming weekend, Full Metal Jackie will welcome Motorhead‘s main man, Lemmy Kilmister, on her show. 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.