EXODUS’ GARY HOLT: ‘We’re Still Putting Out High-Energy, Quality Records’


Brian Aberback of Patch.com recently conducted an interview with guitarist Gary Holt of San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans EXODUS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Patch.com: Can you tell us about the writing and recording process for [the new EXODUS album] “Blood In Blood Out”?

Gary: We never really think about what an album will sound like ahead of time. It’s a super-organic process. I just start up writing, and if a song ends up ten minutes long or four minutes, so be it. We were super excited about making this album. It had been a long time. The time presented itself and we just worked our [butts] off. It was very old-school in how we went about it. Usually we set up shop in a large rehearsal complex. For this one, we did it basically in [drummer] Tom Hunting‘s laundry room where he lives out on this goat ranch, which is where we tracked everything but the drums. I think we made a really remarkable record. We’re a band that loves doing this and I think it shows in the energy in the record. We just go for it. We love playing thrash metal.

Patch.com: During the recording process you brought [singer] Steve Souza back into the band. What prompted Steve‘s return and what does he bring to the album?

Gary: We were already underway with the vocal process when we came to the decision that things weren’t clicking [with former singer Rob Dukes] and we had to make the change. The first thing we did was have a conversation with Steve to see where his head was at. He was 1,000 percent into giving this thing a shot. From there, we gave him a new song and let him sing it. It sounded so natural. He just grabbed the reins and ran with it. It was a perfect fit.

Patch.com: What does the album title, “Blood In Blood Out”, mean to you?

Gary: It’s just the fact that we have been bleeding this since the beginning. We are one of the world’s oldest-standing thrash bands and we’re still shedding blood for this. We’re still standing and we’re still vibrant and putting out high-energy, quality records.

Patch.com: Can you tell us about the guest spots on the album from Kirk Hammett, Chuck Billy and Dan the Automator?

Gary: With Kirk (guitar solo on “Salt the Wound”), we’ve spent so much time together over the past few years with me performing with Slayer on the Big 4 shows, and we’ve reconnected on the level of when we were 17-year-olds. I said, ‘you should do a solo’ and it took him about two seconds to say yes. It’s a homecoming for him; he’s a founding member of the band. He taught me my first licks and chords. Chuck Billy (background vocals on “BTK”) came in one day just to check out the recording process and I put him in front of the mic to double some of the vocals. I knew he would blow the doors down. His voice is so epically powerful. Dan the Automator is an old friend of mine for the last 20 years. We’ve tried to do collaborations before but one of us would be on tour or not available and this time it worked out perfectly.

Read the entire interview at Patch.com.