The venerable San Francisco-based trash metal actExodus
has been around for nearly 30 years at this point. And they haven't all been easy: Over this time, guitarist and founding member Gary Holt has seen the deaths of two former members and, twice, he's put the band on extended hiatus.
Even though the band maintains a loyal fan base and has released a dozen efforts of classic speed metal, Exodus may always be remembered as the band that Kirk Hammett left on his way to joining Metallica.
Of course, Exodus deserves better. And, while on a recent tour stop in New England, Holt spoke with us over the phone, more than happy to expound on his band's virtues. Check our Q&A with Holt after the jump, then catch the band play The Door tonight.
How has the writing and recording process changed over the nearly three decades that you have been involved with Exodus?
The writing process is still the same for me. Now, the recording process, that's obviously changed a lot. Everything's on Pro Tools now. On this last record [Exhibit B: The Human Condition], we actually recorded the drums in a proper studio and then we rented this great big vacation house and set up all the gear in the house and lived and recorded there. It was the most relaxing environment. I can't think of doing it any other way now. It was just too much fun.
When you first formed the band back in 1982, could you even fathom sticking with it as long as you have?
Fuck, I didn't think I would be alive for this long, much less still playing extreme thrash metal. I am happy to be still doing what I love.
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Is it true that Exodus has nearly 30 former members? And if that's the case, do you ever pass someone on the street, slightly recognize him and wonder if they were once in the band?
No. Wikipedia and some of those sources are just bullshit. They are counting guys that I've played with at backyard parties. Sure, some folks I've allowed to get up and play with us, but they were never formal members of Exodus. We have had a fair share of members, but it's not as drastic of a carousel as Wikipedia would have you believe.
Exodus was always known to play at super-fast tempos. Why did you decide to slow it down for 1992's Force of Habit?
I don't know why everyone thinks Force of Habit is a slow record. It has tons of fast songs on it. It wasn't a matter of intentionally slowing things down. We just went for a deeper, heavier sound.
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How difficult was the decision to continue the band after original vocalist Paul Baloff died in 2002?
I just did what Paul would have wanted me to do. I mean, I thought about many things after his death, but I couldn't just hang it up. Paul would have never wanted that.
In 2008, you decided to rerecord Exodus' debut album Bonded by Blood under a new title, Let There Be Blood. Why re-record the album? And what has the fan reaction been?
Ways to record an album have advanced so much since when we recorded the debut. We wanted to give the album an updated sonic quality--something the songs deserved. The fan reaction was mixed. Some people liked the music, but just didn't like the idea of messing with the original album. Some bands re-do their albums and totally omit solos and shit like that. We wouldn't do that.
The last couple of Exodus albums were The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A and Exhibit B: The Human Condition. Will there be an Exhibit C?
No, no, we're moving on to something else. What that something else is, I have no idea.