Guitarist of EXODUS - GARY HOLT
Interview and pictures by
Arto Lehtinen and
– The Bay Area thrash metal pioneers stroke back with one hell
of a bone-crushing comeback album titled TEMPO OF THE DAMNED and
proved to be the most vital and energetic thrash combo on both the
album and above all on the stage. These thrash metal legends
literally caused a real ballistic reaction in the audience
raging in a huge put through the whole gig at
this year’s Swedenrock festival. Before the excellent gig the two
Metal-Rules.com journalists had a great opportunity of meeting
the band’s guitarist Gary Holt and have a loooong chat about
various things. Here is the brief interview for all of you…
note, this interview was done at Sweden Rock therefore there is a
little bit outdated info on the vocalist issue. We all know now
about Zetro's departure from the mighty Exodus.
Recently Dave Mustaine had a very funny
statement. You read
Gary Holt : Ah, yeah
He wants to tour with Exodus...
… And Death Angel and Testament
He told that there's some kind of fight
or dispute between Exodus and Testament.
funny thing is there's no fight or dispute between us and
Testament, and we're fuckin best friends.
Well, and none of us, no one in the band has even spoken
to Dave, our manager spoke to him for like 5 minutes.
And the only thing he ever said was we wouldn't open the
show. Ya know, cuz
I mean I'm 40 years old, I do this cuz I love it. I'm not gonna
go out, open a show, play 30 minutes when there's people
still comin in the door and there's no one there.
What's the purpose in that?
And then it got all blown out, ya know, I mean I love
Dave. I'm still not
sold whether I'd do the tour even if I was in it.
I mean ya know it's like I'd have to see whether this
thing will happen or whether, ya know,
it could fall apart.
could it be possible to get out with Testament
and tour around the States and what not.
It's a possibility.
I'd love to do it.
do you think is, honestly, what's the situation with Dave.
Cuz on the other hand he says , "I'm
doing the heaviest possible stuff and on the other
hand he's making some religious stuff and based onto more
religion, I think.
Yeah, I don't know, um...
I haven't spoken to Dave in years and
years. So I don't
know where his head is. I know he's gone through his share of
problems with drugs and stuff.
And I have, too, but I came out of it completely sober
and fine, I dunno if he is.
I hope. He's
a genius, ya know.
he is, yesterday I spoke with Jimmy Degrasso I met him on
backstage and he said, "Uh yeah, I haven't spoke with Dave
in 3 years, and no one knows what he's going to do, but uh, he's
going to tour and he doesn't have any band, he
tried to get Nick Menza back in the band, and he never came.
And you know it's bad, the situation's
bad, when you're this platinum metal band, and you can't get
your former members to do it, and I'm talkin former members
who're doing nothing now.
Nick Menza doing now?
You'd think he'd be like, "Yeah, I'm in!".
Back plan the big hauls and shit.
know there's gotta be some internal problems to turn that down
Ellefson has some side project band and played...
He played on Soulfly's new album
video and album, that's all as
And he's workin at Peavey. Peavey amps, as an artist rep.
to Dave Mustaine and his talk of a like Thrash of the Titans
type tour, but in general is it possible to do an all Bay Area
band tour ?
Possibly, it's something everybody wants to see so ya
know maybe we will.
here in Europe, but also the states.
Yeah, if I did it I'd like do it everywhere.
there any favorite bands you'd like to have included ?
Other than the ones already mentioned?
who would you like to bring on tour ?
Oh well I'd love to have, other than
Testament and Anthrax and ya know old friends like that, Death
Angel and I'd love to do a tour with Hypocrisy
Overkill, that'd be cool
WAR IS MY
read in some interview that you had a drug problem, and during
that time you didn't write any stuff.
After getting rid of the drug problem you got more
inspiration to start writing more stuff.
Yeah, I mean well some of the stuff was
already written, obviously "Impaler" which is 20 years
With A Fist" and "Throwing Down" were songs from
the band, Tom, Jack and I had called War Dance, and "War is
My Shepard" I had pretty much had it done when I was still
doing drugs, but once I got clean I was writing like fuckin song
after song after song.
fucking 3 songs of lyrics in a fuckin day.
happened to the song called Angary ?!
That's "Sealed With A Fist"
the same track ?
Yeah I just thought it was kinda silly
havin a song about me.
remember you played it at Wacken a few years ago and remembered
anyway, why did you decide to pick up this "Impaler"
and not "Deathrow" ?
Well, ya know, we originally recorded it
as a bonus track, but as part of our agreement, our settlement
with Century Media Records, we took a song off the record which
is called "Crime of the Century".
And so we had to have something to fill its place, so
that was the one. And the old school fans always wanted to have a studio
version of it anyway
was written by Kirk Hammett...
never asked for any royalties?
Nah, I mean we'll pay him, not that he
needs the money. (laughter)
you never shared any money with Kirk since he left the band and
took some riffs from you ?
Well, those were his riffs. Ya know.
never shared anything else ?
Well, they took a few of the words of
mine, the "Die by His Hand" thing, ya know, that was
originally "Dying By My Hand" which was an old Exodus
song. I've had to
watch 60,000 people chant that line over and over, (laughter)
but whatever I don't give a fuck.
I bet if I got 1 penny off every album they'd owe me a
lot of money. (laughter)
you should ask for some.
Nah, they can have it.
are you going to do "Deathrow" for the next album?
Um we did all the rhythm tracks for it but didn't do
any of the lead guitar stuff or the vocals, but we'll probably
finish it when we do the next album and just use it as a b-side
or something for a single.
about the Century Media track, "Crime of the Century"?
It'll see the light of day.
It's super heavy, I fuckin love the song.
I guess Nuclear Blast wasn't that pleased ?!
No Century Media wasn't, Nuclear Blast
couldn't give a shit.
but "War Is My Shepard", it has been written on the
internet quite a lot that this is a message against the war or
something like that ?
Eh, it's not an anti-war song.
It's kinda the way I see our United States government
which is very pro-god and pro-war which ya know, the two don't
usually go hand in hand.
George Bush sits there and like fuckin preaches on and on about
god and this, and god bless america and god this, god that, fuck
god fuck fuck fuck....god fuck (laughter).
At the same time he's orderin up more missiles and shit
all in the name of god and the good ol' USA.
They're super pro-religion, pro-evangelist, pro-fuckin
Down" is from War Dance…
many tracks did you record with War Dance?
We'd written quite a few, we wrote a 4 song demo.
I get it?
Heh, I don't even know where my copy of
it is. It's on a
DAT tape somewhere. But
I'm sure you can find it somewhere.
"Throwing Down", but are you going to record more War
Dance stuff ?
There's a couple of riffs that were
floatin around that I might still use but ya know a lot of the
stuff that's good but it's not Exodus type stuff.
Like recycling maybe
Well some parts, parts of songs, stuff
that were never finished War Dance songs, but nah I got tons of
new riffs. Next
album's gonna be fast as fuck.
recorded a live album and but also recorded a live video from
the comeback show.
you never got that video finished.
We're gonna use a bunch of that on our
DVD when we get that finished.
tell me about your upcoming DVD.
Well it's hopefully gonna be out at the
end of the year. Basically just a history walk with the band
with footage as old as we can find all the way up to the present.
The hard part is gonna be lookin through all the footage
we've got cuz we've got stacks and stacks of tapes from dozens
and dozens of shows.
you going to use the studio live session recorded at Studio 54
in 1985 !?
We're trying to get our hands on the
entire filming of it.
they only used 3 songs, we'd like to put the other ones on there
have them on my computer though, 4 songs.
Yeah, I'd like to get the other ones
that aren't on it.
many songs all in all ?
We probably played at least 8 songs, I
they were not on the real video release…
you going to film all the shows for the upcoming DVD ?!
Yeah, get some footage.
you going to use the old videos like "Toxic Waltz" and
"Good Day to Die"?
Yeah possibly, mostly like live shit.
We've got a lot of comedy act shit, too.
Especially during the recording of this album, Tempo of
the Damned, that's some funny shit.
there any plans to record a live album with the current line-up
Nah, I'm done with live albums for a
it's done. But speaking of the "Toxic Waltz" video
there were a lot of familiar faces from the local scene on this
Oh well everyone was there that day.
Give me a couple of names…
Demmel, Anthrax, Billy Milano, Heathen.
Everyone was there for that one.
Yeah or watching the mayhem or
us...Billy was fucking people up, though.
about your new videos. The German music channel Viva shows your
"Throwing Down" there
it's on there every week.
looks very simple, I guess it must have been shot at your
rehearsal place ?
Yeah in our garbage dump, rehearsal
simple, and you didn't want to make a live thing like you did
with Toxic Waltz ?!
No, no, no, we just got together in our studio
and just started jammin for about fuckin 9 hours. (laughter)
is my Shepard" is another one, that was completely shot on
Yeah, yeah, the U.S.S. Hornet.
A retired aircraft carrier.
And it cost a lot more?
Fuck no. One of my best friend's fathers
is the director of events for the U.S.S. Hornet.
It's a floating museum, and you can actually rent it out
for parties. So we
rented a battleship fo a full day for $750.
There are cars you can't rent for $750 a day. Go try
rentin a Ferrari for $750. We rented about a million tons of
aircraft carrier for that.
you get any airplay for it in the States ?
Because in Europe you can see the way people respond, but
in the states how do people respond.
I don't know, you got Headbanger's Ball
on MTV2 and fuck that.
fuckers just won't play it.
But do you think that, that the internet
is the reason why retail sales go down but on the other hand you
can find the videos on the internet.
Do you think you can some kind of benefit from it ?
Well yeah, maybe, I mean people can view.
People have been watching them a long time on the Nuclear
Blast site and stuff.
as far as downloading records, there's nothing you can do about
it. It's a fact of
life, it's never gonna go away.
No matter how hard they try to find some copy protection.
There'll always be someone who figures out, who's one
step behind figuring out how to overcome it.
odds are you can always record the stuff and burn it...
Yeah, yeah, burn it off the audio output
instead of digitally.
I gotta confess, I downloaded your album from internet. BUT
I went and bought it later.
Well, ya know, a lot of people said when
it's out we'll go out and buy it. And if the album totally sucks,
the downloading would've killed it.
Because, ya know, before the album's released, if
everyone who's already downloaded it says it's awful, who's
gonna buy it?
it's very interesting that when I gave the mp3s of the new
Exodus stuff to other people who have never heard Exodus before
and they are metalheads and they go, "Whoa, this is great
great stuff, who's this new band?"
Well that's good, cuz at our shows I'm
seein more and more kids who definitely couldn't have been
around during our last studio album, let alone Bonded By Blood.
You got a guy who's like 14 years old, well ya know Force
of Habit came out in what, like 93?
So ya know, they weren't even old enough
to listen to that one.
I'll throw, if you compare record sales to 80's sales they will
never be the same.
no not even. It
took a lot of time but we've finally learned how to make money
in this business. I'm
not gettin rich, but ya know for one, ya know, on Force of habit
we spent a quarter of a million dollars recording it. We recorded Tempo of the Damned, including Andy Sneap's fee
for about like $40,000.
compared to $250,000, and it's the best sounding album we've
ever done, and you gotta give that to like the ProTools digital
don't need a fuckin $1000 a day studio.
of Habit was the last album of the Exodus era in the first place.
When I listen to that it seems like soft stuff compared
at that time when death metal came in.
Yeah, Well it's a metal album and I
still think it's a great album, there's some great guitar
playing on it. Great riffs.
were willing to get more aggressive stuff and more aggressive
like Deicide, Morbid Angel, Death, and all that, and thrash
metal was going away at that point.
It was, it was.
when Force of Habit came out the whole metal scene was going
down cuz there were new things coming.
Yeah and the whole grunge thing coming
FOR A NEW SINGER …
after the tour with Impaled Nazarene, Steve left the band, why ?
He left because, ya know, the band was
very unstable at the time with the drug use and all that.
you were seeking a new singer and did you try any other guys ?
Looked at a couple, but it wasn't what I
you try the WarDance singer, damn I don't remember his name now...
Yeah, John Miller.
Yeah John Miller's the most unstable
person of all. I
love the guy and he's a super killer singer but he's awfully
made some testing tapes because I came across an address where
people can send tapes and...
And there were some real doozies, too.
was the weirdest tape you got ?
Some guy from Turkey.
Who sent this tape and he was just singing by himself and
he was just saying (doing his best impression) "She tried
to kill me, she tried to kill kill kill, she tried to kill me.
Sounded like a lounge singer.
"She tried to kill, kill, kill she tried to kill
me". I was
laughin so fuckin hard never heard anything so funny in my
like Idol, this Tv show thing..
Yeah, haha funny.
there was no one from Finland? Or Anyone from Scandinavia ?
No, no, no. I dunno I didn't listen to
many of them
BALOFF WITH HIS OWN EXODUS
back to Exodus. Someone
posted a message to the Tales From The Pit or the Exodus forum
that Paul Baloff would have done an Exodus gig on his own
without other real members ?
No Paul, uh Paul, before we got back
together he tried to do an Exodus show on his own with a bunch
of fuckin people jammin.
I told him it was the stupidest thing I
ever heard. Nobody
he do anyway ?
Yeah I think he did one, or somethin...
I didn't go
the late 70's that singer from Deep Purple did shows under the
Deep Purple name.
kind of situation.
toured with the Finnish band like Impaled Nazarene.
You definitely dig them?
Yeah definitely, it’s a fuckin riot.
read an interview in a Finnish magazine that, "Gary Holt
came into our (Imapled Nazarene's) room and he had a lighter
which had an Impaled Nazarene sticker.
Yeah, I still have it.
And you came to say that, "You
fucking rule". And
all of them in Impaled Nazarene said, "Oh shit, we were
supposed to say that, not him"
Nah, those guys are fucking awesome.
I haven't heard their new album yet,though.
typical Impaled Nazarene stuff.
Yeah I gotta hear it.
what about other Finnish bands,
do you know any other Finnish bands?
Children of Bodom
Oh yeah, they're a really talented band.
Yes, they just signed to Nuclear Blast
you like that kind of Opera Metal stuff?
I like some of it, yeah. I love Therion. Therion's
like one of my favorite bands.
you heard the new Nightwish one song.
No I haven't.
you listen to more extreme stuff or...
I listen to more extreme shit.
I love Hypocrisy, I love Peter.
Peter's one of my favorite people.
I love shit like that: Marduk, Dimmu Borgir, Borknagar.
for Finnish band do you know any others?
I dunno, Finntroll's from Finland aren't
They're fuckin, yeah I've heard a little
bit of them, they're killer.
It's like polka black metal.
They're one of my girlfriend's favorite bands.
She loves em.
No not that I know of. There's probably some that I don't know they're from Finland.
Yeah, of course I know them.
Yeah I've heard of them, too.
I just didn't know they were Finnish bands.
And Stratovarius? Well You have to know Stratovarius.
They're crazy guys.
Timo, fuckin nuts. (laughter)
… Guy's off his rocker. I read some post he's goin off on the
Cabalah and shit. This Guy fuckin needs help, I'm sorry.
Yeah, and someone tried to kill him in
Spain. To tell you the truth we played the Metal Mania festival
in Spain last summer and they played and we had to share a bus
ride to drop them off at the airport and he was so drunk
everyone in our band was on the verge of fuckin cuttin his
(all laughing). He was just rippin the
curtain's down, spittin and this is for like four hours.
Just sittin there (doing his best Timo Impression) "AAAUUGH
YOU WANT TO MARRY ME!" and shit..
And we were on the verge of just fuckin beatin the fuck
out of that dude. I'm
sorry, and I don't care if he reads this.
We were on the verge of killin him.
I mean I'm sure he mightbe a nice guy when he ain't got
so much liquor in him. But I saw a picture of him from the last
Metal Mania show of his keyboardist pissin on his leg. Which
shows you what his own band thinks of the guy.
he was sent to a mental hospital for a while.
He was locked up…
If that ride would've been one hour
longer it wouldn't have been a mental hospital he would've had
to have gone to. We would've fuckin killed him. We would've been
kickin him up under his ribs
Just wastin that dude.
even kicked out all of his band and hired a woman vocalist. Yeah
she's the new singer, and they've done nothing but a couple of
then the keyboard player sent in the mail, "Yeah I just
came to Helsinki, yeah and we're making new songs.
There is no animosity there.
I'm making the keyboards, um maybe Jorg Michael is coming
in. He has been kicked out of the band but we're making new
songs. What's going
to happen, who knows.
see over a drink”. Laughter
the guy needs help.
going to Finland?
Yes we're playing at the Provinssi Rock
in the next week
should be good, we've never been there.
really in the middle of nothing.
400 km to the north from Helsinki.
Definitely in the middle of forests
That should be cool.
you have David Bowie with you...
Yeah but I love David Bowie. If I can just meet him and shake his hand I'll be happy.
a mainstream rock festival
Yeah, Linkin Park's playing
no, not this year, they used to be here, one or two years ago.
I heard they were playin this year, no?
Slayer played a couple of years ago
there with Dream Theater and Rammstein.
This year it's David Bowie...who else..
Hypocrisy of course..
Yeah they're playin right before us
Nothin wrong with that.
when Slayer played there was huge pits and the Misfits played 5
or 6 years ago and
played there. You
will see a lot of drunk people, you will remember it for the
rest of your life.
Heh, good, good, good.
take a bus drive for about 5 or 6 hours to the middle of no
where to a huge arena with drunk Finnish people lying all over.
I remember one year when the light man
for Slayer came over and said, "I have never seen so many
people passed out on the ground before. It's a Finnish
Haha, good good I can't wait to see it.
DEATH DO US PART”
right I don't want to ask anything about the death of Paul
Baloff, but did you hear about the death of Swedish Black metal
Yes I did.
Yeah, I'm dedicating tonight's show to him.
Yes, absolutely. It's quite a shock. 39
years old and heart failure.
has been a very hard time during these last three years Chuck
Schuldiner, and your singer, Quorthon and the guitarist of
Finntroll and Impaled Nazarene.
Yeah, yeah indeed
have been a lot of accidents in a short period
Yeah, it's a drag, and the world never
got to see Bathory play live.
guy from Finntroll, did you hear how he died?
was walking on a bridge and fell down the ice, 6 meters.
No way, he's the one, see, cuz how did
the guitar player for Impaled Nazarene die?
was playing in both bands.
Oh ok, I was gonna say I heard he was
the one who fell off the bridge
Yep, that's him.
It has been said it was an accident but in the latest
Metal Maniacs magazine the Impaled Nazarene vocalist told that
it would have been suicide. He fell down 6 meters (?) down the
ice, and his neck went (makes crunch noise).
one would you choose, Kerry or Bush?
Oh Kerry, I mean they're all dirty
crooks, all politicians.
at least he wasn't a coward.
He fought in Vietnam whereas George W. Bush Jr. was a
it bother you that GWB is using Ronald Reagan as some kind of
way to get more support from people ?
Nah, I've been away from home.
I just found out the other day that Ronald died.
And so I haven't seen any news or anything.
and newspapers are just now writing that Bush is using Reagan as
a new way...
A campaign play or something
you can even find his own picture from Bush’s website
fuckin dirty, that's dirty.
Using a fuckin dead man's fuckin name to further your own
know a dude called Tharsh from TalesFromThePit forum ?!
We call him Tharsh cuz the first time he
posted on the forum he misspelled thrash.
He was like talkin about tharsh metal.
Never met the guy but I love him, never seen Exodus and
knows more about the band than anybody.
a very funny guy actually.
He once emailed me some years ago and asked about Exodus
demo tapes which I have some in my collection …
he's got it all that guy.
think that's enough and we may have asked more than enough, so
thank you very much.