In episode 35 of “One On One With Mitch Lafon”, rock journalist Mitch Lafon talks to EXODUS singer Steve “Zetro” Souza. You can now listen to the chat using the Spreaker widget below. A few excerpts from the interview follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On how he got the call in early June to rejoin EXODUS:
Zetro: “Basically, I didn’t know really much. I just got a call and was asked to sing a couple of songs. ‘Hey, we want you to sing a couple of new EXODUS songs.’ And I kind of didn’t ask why, although a million thoughts were running through my head. Speculation… Maybe they want me to do a song. Maybe they want me to go on tour. Who knows what to think? So I actually went in and sang a song, and they were saying, ‘Hey, we’re considering having you rejoin the band again.’ And I was, like, ‘Wow!’ And we kind of talked it through, and it kind of worked out that way. And here we are.”
On his last departure from EXODUS in 2004:
Zetro: “There was a lot of mudslinging that goes on between brothers and sisters and family members when you have a problem. And it’s the way it is; you’re just like a family. You love each other, you hate each other. You do something wrong, you piss one off. ‘I’m not talking to you now, because you did something… Although I love you to death, and if it came down to it, I would die for you, I’d step in front of a bullet for you,’ because that’s how it’s looked at. And I think that happens in bands as well.
“And I’m the first admit I was the one that threw the first stone — that’s for damn sure — by the way I left, and I take full responsibility for that. And I think as you get older, and you become a more mature person and a more mature musician… and that goes with working with people and being able to say, ‘OK, you’re right,’ or, ‘No,’ or ‘OK, I can give in on that.’ And that’s what it is. It’s really like a relationship; it’s give-and-take. And I think we’ve all… especially this time… I’m very excited this time, I’m very thankful to get the opportunity to come back and do it again and sing EXO-style again. And I think a lot of the fans are very pleased ’cause a lot of fans identify my voice with the band. And I’m the same way, you know what I mean?! Hey, I love that guy in JOURNEY; I think he does a great job.
“But how f*cking great would it be if Steve Perry came back. You know what I mean?! It’s just the way I kind of look at anything. And not to say that [the most recent EXODUS singer] Rob [Dukes] didn’t do a great job on the last three albums, ’cause he really did. I mean, I’m listening to them now, and I didn’t much when I was not in the band. But since I’m learning more songs from his era to play live, I really appreciate it a lot and I think he did a really good job. I’m very fortunate to be back with my brothers and I think this time will be the best.”
On whether he had any apprehension about singing songs from the Rob Dukes era of EXODUS:
Zetro: “No. I feel that, in my eyes, because I wasn’t there didn’t mean that era for EXODUS did not exist, and that it was a very crucial era for EXODUS, and they actually really built themselves well upon that era. So why am I gonna come back and all of sudden go, ‘You know what?! I’m Zetro. I’m the man. Let’s just do ‘Fabulous Disaster’ and ‘Pleasures Of The Flesh’ and ‘Tempo Of The Damned’ and the new album and everybody will think it will be hunky-dory.’ I welcome singing ‘Children Of A Worthless God’. I welcome singing ‘Iconoclasm’. I really do. I like doing that. Everybody asked me in the past, ‘What songs would you like to play favorite of EXODUS?’ And I would go, ‘Honestly? Everything on ‘Bonded By Blood’. ‘Cause I didn’t sing on it. Those are the funnest ones.’ I guess maybe that’s my mentality, but I welcome those songs. As I welcome Rob. When we’re in New York, and he wants to come on stage and sing with EXODUS, he’s damn welcome anytime.”
On EXODUS‘ new album, Blood In, Blood Out:
Zetro: “[Former EXODUS and current METALLICA guitarist] Kirk [Hammett] played lead on a song called ‘Salt In The Wound’. And it’s great, ’cause him and Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist] really complement each other one there; it’s really cool. And it’s great that… Kirk was such a big part of this band [in the early ’80s] and then abruptly joined METALLICA when they [parted ways] with Dave [Mustaine], so he never really got to record with EXODUS. That’s why it’s kind of cool that he gets to record with the band this year. We’re coming up on 30 years. Next year will be 30 years since ‘Bonded By Blood’ [was released] — 1985. And I’m gonna tell you right now, Blood In, Blood Out is the best EXODUS record by far. And I’m not saying that ’cause I just rejoined. Honestly, the musicianship of everyone in it, the writing, the lyrics, the lyrical content… everything all the way through. 11 killers, no fillers. I swear to God, and I mean it. I put out another record earlier this year with my other band, HATRIOT, and I thought that was the greatest thrash record of the year, and I just have to say that that’s probably the second greatest thrash record of the year. Blood In, Blood Out, by far, is amazing. It’s awesome from top to bottom. [It’s the] fastest EXODUS album you’ll ever have. Most of the songs are very thrash-oriented songs; well-written stuff.”
On how much of Blood In, Blood Out was written before he rejoined EXODUS:
Zetro: “All of it. I went in and did the vocals. Actually, I wasn’t privy to what [Rob] had done. I heard scratch tracks from what Gary had kind of wanted in his idea, and I just went in there and was Zet. I just wanted to be Zetro. I’ve been Zetro now for 30 years; I’ve got Zetro down pretty good. [Gary] was on tour with SLAYER, and we would send him e-mail mixes of what I sounded like and what I was doing. Actually, Jack Gibson, our bass player, was the engineer, and Jack did an amazing job. What a great time working with Jack. He was so comfortable, and in the studio it was so easy and laid back and I felt no pressure. And I felt pressure from other producers. I just went in there [this time] and was myself and he was great with me being myself. He would come in, and honestly, within, I think, two weeks, I had everything finished. And I [rejoined] the band on June 6 and I started recording the album on June 9. So I had three days to cram the record.”