Interview with Jack Gibson (bass)
24th June 2015 @ The Underworld, London
Interviewed by Oliver M.
British Exodus fans couldn’t be more happy this year! Their idols offered them two consecutive crazy shows in London on the 23rd and 24th of March. It was the right time for us to discuss with bassist Jack Gibson about their last critically acclaimed assault “Blood In Blood Out”, the return of charismatic vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza and other topics. I would like to thank Jack Gibson for his time and kindness.
Hello Jack! First of all, how was your first gig at The Underworld yesterday?
Jack Gibson: Hello! Oh, it was really good, man! It was hot and sweaty. Two hundred stage divers and one bloody guy in the pit! Yeah, it was really good.
Tom Hunting: It was insane. We almost didn’t make it because we were stuck in the ferry system. We went to Calais, waited for a boat for hours and couldn’t get a boat. Then, we went to Dunkerque, got a boat and arrived just in time to set up and play metal!
OK, let’s talk about your last album “Blood In Blood Out” released last year. What was the global reception for this opus from the international press?
Jack Gibson: Oh, I think most of people liked it. I mean, there are always a few haters, especially in the metal world. You know, there are some kinds of “total let keep it true” guys…
Yeah, this type of guys and you’ll never make them happy unless you remake “Bonded by Blood” with a crappy recording style. But for the most part, it has been great. People liked it, the fans liked it, the label liked it… And we like it!
Regarding your label Nuclear Blast, you’ve been part of them for a long time now. Are you satisfied of your relations with them so far? What is your current status regarding your contract with them?
Oh, I don’t think we have any plan on leaving them anytime soon. I mean, they treat us well, they’re one of the last real metal labels that survived, and talking to the people there, they have no intention of selling out to any another bigger company or anything. They know this type of music, the people who work there are fans of this type of music and so, they know what to do with it. Sometimes, if you move to bigger companies, they don’t really know how to market you correctly and you end up being the little band in a big roster. So, we haven’t had any problems at all with Nuclear Blast, they treat us good.
Most of the songs on “Blood In Blood Out” are very fast and in the old-school thrash metal way. In the future, are you planning to follow this same musical direction or are you thinking about changing your style a little bit?
I mean, I think we’ve changed a little bit our style on every album, with more influences coming to our ears and minds. We try to stay modern and at the same time, not lose the old thrash metal style that Exodus is famous for. You know, you can’t change Exodus too much because part of the appeal of the band is that “stick to it” style that we’ve always had… That undying push to be heavier, heavier and heavier and I think the only change would be if the album will be heavier and faster. Without seem to be rounding the corner and looking to make a wimpier album. Exodus is Exodus and we just keep in that, you know.
“Blood In Blood Out” marks the great return of vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza. How was your reunion with him? How did you welcome him back?
Ah, it was good, man! It kind of came out of a situation that wasn’t great for us but it just kind of clicked and just fit together. And it just seemed to work.
The fact that he was a longtime former member also helped the band to make the songs more easily, did it?
No, it just kind of matched together. I mean, we had to ice over a few personal things from before the breaking up and stuff like that. But that was easy. We’re all old men now, we’re not young kids. You know what I’m saying. So, like that, everything was easy and then, it just kind of musically fit together easily.
Exodus is a cult thrash metal band. When you look back at your whole discography, do you have a favourite album?
Actually, I do! I really like “Exhibit A”… Of the albums that I’ve been part of. I mean, I love them all but I really like “Exhibit A”. It’s kind of my style of album that I like. It’s dark, it has got long epic songs. You know, that was like a huge album song-wise to me and I still think that’s my favourite. “Exhibit B”… It was great too but we kind of turned back to the old-school, to shorter songs with faster, quicker tunes. But to me, the “Exhibit A” was like prime metal, and I still like that one a lot.
When you look back at the band’s career, do you feel some nostalgia about your early years? Do you feel better as a musician now comparing to what you were feeling in the past?
Well, I didn’t join the band until 1997. So, I wasn’t really in the band during those glory days, you know what I mean! So, that’s kind of a hard one for me to answer. But speaking for the other guys, I think that there is for sure some nostalgia for that time but I don’t think anyone in the band would want to go back to that time. You know, I think everybody is really happy with what we do now, the process, the way we get along and just the way it all works together. So it’s good.
In some interviews I’ve read, many old thrash metal bands said that they preferred the 80s compared to now since their fans were more loyal, enthusiastic and extreme at that time. Do you share that opinion?
Yeah sure, it was probably a better time for metal back then but as I’ve just said, I don’t think anybody would really want to go back and to relive all that again. I mean, the scene now is almost like starting over because if you look at our crowds today, it’s a bunch of young kids, like 13, 14, 15, 16 year old kids. And they know every word, every song and so you know, it’s like a second life. It’s like a second time around.
Which good young thrash metal bands would you recommend?
Sure, there’s a whole group of young bands that came out from L.A. like Warbringer, Holy Grail, Bonded by Blood and we have our buddies in Havok. They’re from Colorado and they’re awesome. There’s like a whole new generation of young thrash bands that pay reverence to our time and our era. So yeah, those guys… I like a lot of them.
Regarding your setlists for yesterday and tonight, how did you manage to choose your songs? Are you going to perform both old classics and new songs?
Hum, it’s going to be very close to the same. We don’t have too many songs more than that set right now. We have to learn these songs. It’s not like learning the catalogue so we can randomly play stuff. So, we’re playing pretty much everything that we know and that we have as a band right now. There’s a couple of other ones. So, there will be a couple of different songs but mostly, it’s going to be the same because this is everything that we’re firing with right now.
What are your projects after this UK tour?
Go home and sleep for a week. We all have been out on tour since February and I haven’t been home for more than a week at that time since February. So, it’s just time to go home and relax. We have some stuff that we’re going to do at the end of the year but you know, we all have our little things that we do. I have a side-project, it’s a country band. I write music, go play in cowboy bars and just have fun, you know what I mean. It’s just kind of time to go home, relax a little bit and just live.
Do you have anything special to add?
Man, we’re very glad to be here and we’ll be back soon! Can’t wait to go home and rest for a little while. And we’ll be back and we’ll be back again!
Special thanks to Steve “Zetro” Souza for his great kindness, his time and for the present he offered me after the show, before leaving London. You rule, guys!