Interview with EXODUS's Gary Holt
Skriven av Peter Jandreus   
Skapad 2007-10-30 16:35

EXODUS anno 2007
You all know what it's about, METALLICA made it big by doing boring rock songs while EXODUS has kept on going aswell, but still doing the sharpedged aggression that we like: thrash metal!

EXODUS has a new album out and a forthcoming world tour. Mr Riffmeister of thrash metal; Gary Holt answers some questions. Here we go:

You have a new album out soon on Nuclear blast. Tell me a little bit about it.
It's called "The atrocity exhibition" and it is the band´s proudest work, I mean we're really excited about this one!

I'm curious about one of the titles.  "Children of a worthless god"; what´s it about?
The wrath of islam.

Yes that's what I thought. Is there something that unites it with the other songs?
Well no, I mean there's songs about the energy of a revolution but "Children of a worthless god" is about radical extremists of islam and the whole mess that my government has done for us in Iraq and the atrocity exhibition and the iconoclasm and the ugliness of this mess of Christianity and... what else is on the album.... I haven't listen to it for two months.... But it´s thrash athems, I try to spill some blood (*chuckles*)

Who wrote the lyrics?
Rob wrote the lyrics to "Children of a worthless god" and I wrote the rest of them

Tom Hunting is back behind the drums on the new album, what happened to Paul (Bostaph)?
Well you know, nothing happened to Paul. All that happened is that it was understood between everybody that if Tom wanted to come back there would be a seat waiting for him. He is one of the founding members and one of my best friends since I was 17 years old and Tom needed some time away from the band and to concentrate on his own self cause this band can be quite controlling on everybody's life and so he came back and Paul was absolutely fine with it and Paul wanted some time to him self anyway and I'm pleased that my buddy Paul is back in TESTAMENT so it´s a win win situation for everybody.

I was listening to your previous album the other day and perhaps you´ve gotten this question many times before but I was wondering about the song "Deathamphetamine". It it a way for you of dealing with a darker past?
Yeah sure, it was kinda my way of exercise some of the demons I used to carry around. In a way it describes the nightmare of a amphetamine abuse. I'm not the one to preach to people but if anybody out there putting the poison in´em might learn something and not get as fucked up on the shit that I once was.

So is music a sort of therapy for you in that sense?
Yeah for sure and in this band the music gets angry and angrier and I'm happy because of it. I don't walk around with a mean look on my face, I´m the happiest guy you ever meat, you know it helps to express the anger through a song.

Your currant lineup really kicks ass but some might think that you are sort of touring with a company name and that you should change the name of the band?
Well they don't know what the fuck they´re talking about for starters. I would understand and agree with them if, lets say if for instance EXODUS was broken up and then five to ten years later Gary Holt comes out with four new guys and calls it EXODUS. That would not be right but when we went into the studio to do "Shovel headed kill machine", Rick (Hunolt), who was still a member of the band, quit the day we moved the equipment in and he wasn´t committed anymore, he also never went to rehearsal. Zetro (Steve Souza) was just an asshole. He was impossible to deal with even in 1993 so there was no choice but to let him go. He wasn't the original singer anyway. All these things happened within weaks and just before the recording of the album and I'm not going to stop what I've been focusing on for the last six months. EXODUS has been my baby since I was 14 years young and I´m not gonna let it die. Most people today have thanked me for not letting it fade away.

So you found Rob. He was a roadie of yours wasn´t he?
Yeah he was an unfortunate accident because when we went out of tour with MEGADETH my guitartech did a terrible job and needed to be replaced and a good friend recommended Rob so if the first guy had turned out to be good I would never have met Rob ever.

Robs vocals are a lot hardcore punk, is that where he comes from?
Yeah, Rob's an old punk rock guy for sure and I think he captures the best of (Paul) Baloff and Zetro and his own style all wrapped into one. To me it sounds a lot like Baloff but with a sense of timing and more power. I think he totally captures it and I think there´s times where he even sounds like Cronos!

Yeah. So how about you, were you influenced by hardcore punk when you started out?
Exodus from the very beginning were influenced by hardcore punk. Our early influences were hard rock; AC/DC, Ted Nugent when we were young and then came JUDAS PRIEST and SABBATH offcause and IRON MAIDEN and then the whole new wave of british heavy metal and especially for me it was about VENOM, ANGELWITCH and MERCYFUL FATE and then you take the part that we all just love MOTÖRHEAD and then you add to that, that we all love DISCHARGE and shit like that and Exodus was kinda formed out of that.

So was it easy to find like DISCHARGE records at the time in America?
Yeah in the Bay area you got some really really great record stores. I mean we were doing IRON MAIDEN songs at, like parties, playing for beers and people thought we played original songs.

How about today, do you listen to any punk?
Nah, every once in a while I listen to some of the old stuff. But Rob does. A lot of the stuff he listens to is a little more modern and I´ve never been a fan of that. I like the early 80s punk rock. You know like EXPLOITED, ANTI NOWHERE LEAGUE, SHAM 69. Shit like that.

What other stuff do you listen to?
I listen to everything from Tori Amos to DIMMU BORGIR but actually what I listen to most of the time are the classics. I listen to RAINBOW´s Rising before I listen to anything else. That's my desert island album, you know if I´d take one album with me it´s that one and if you just gave me one song it would be "Stargazer".

What do you think of the new wave of retro old school thrash metal that is going on at the moment? Any favourites?
The new EVILE record is fuckin awesome! And I think it's awesome. I'm the biggest supporter of it and I'm a huge fan. They're far more old school than I am, they even dress like I did, yeah....and I don't know where they buy the clothes. These tennishoes, they look like the same ones I worn. It's awesome conciddering some of those kids weren't born when we were doing that shit at first.

People who are into thrash often listens only to the old school stuff or the more modern sound and almost never both.
Yeah but I´m not that guy who like´s to listen to music all day long. I tend to not have music playing all the time. Mabye it's because I play all the time and I wanna give my ears a break you know.But there´s kids out there into vintage thrash who thinks we suck and I've heard them say we haven´t been a thrashband since "Bonded by blood" and that every other album isn´t even a thrash album. If "Pleasures of the flesh" isn't a thrash album then what the fuck is it?

How would you label the EXODUS sound of 2007?
It's absolutely thrash and I´m not gonna let somebody convince me it´s not cause then I'll be running away from something we helped to create. You know I don't approach things any differently than I did then. I mean it starts with a riff and anybody who is a musician can see how I arrange songs. I have my own style and still go by it. But at the same time I'm not interested in sounding like I did in 1985. Other people are but I did that first so why would I wanna do it now.

Here in Sweden stagediving is more or less forbidden at most larger venues and people is often thrown out because of that. Is it similar when you visit other counties? How do feel about it?
We just resonantly heard that we are the reason that stagediving and moshing is banned at the Whiskey in Hollywood. I'm quite proud of that. I don't know how they plan to enforcing those rules but I remember a couple years ago in Gothenburg this one kid dove of the stage and the whole crowd moved out of the way and he landed really bad and we could hear it from the stage and we thought that kid was gonna die. The ambulance came and everything but we saw him at the next show and he was ok. But I mean he hit hard, that shit was scary.

Have you experienced more of that over the years?
Well, yeah, we were sued by this guy´s parents when the crowd ran over this kid and they claimed that he had permanent emotional and physical scars but I say come to see Exodus already has the emotional!

So what came out of that?
It cost us a ton of money because the lawyers fee's cost more than giving the people some money. I think it cost us about 20 000 dollars.

So sort of similar to that JUDAS PRIEST thing?
Yeah you know it was ridiculous. He was drunk and he fell asleap on a fuckin set of stairs. I wasn't my fault, he wasn't even old enough to drink, he was underage and should have went to jail.

What part of the world you think has the wildest crowd?
You know there was a time I wouldn't say this about Hollywood but our shows there has gotten more and more insane and the audience is 17 year old kids and I´ve seen them in fron of a venue doing sort of soundchecks to start up a pit on the sidewalk and it´s like 20 kids at three o´clock in the afternoon just slammin' into each other in the street. People trying to walk by and they´re terrified...

So when can we see you guys back in Sweden?
Plans for Europe the first week of March.

Check updates for forthcoming European tour dates.

 

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