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Gary Holt (Exodus)

Interview with Gary Holt from Exodus
by Yiannis Dafopoulos at 19 May 2010, 5:05 PM

What can be better than an evening beer desecrating gathering with metallic friends and a phone interview with one of the best (if not the best) Thrash guitarists out there, Gary Holt? Even though we had some slight technical problems at first, they were soon solved and I enjoyed a small chat with Mr. Holt regarding EXODUS's new album and various other stuff…

Hello Gary! It is really an honor to talk with a legend like you. I noticed you have already been out there playing. Didn't you think about taking some time to rest for what is going to follow after the release of your new album?
Yeah, we're with MEGADETH and TESTAMENT right now out on the States. You'd think there will be time to rest but after this tour ends we'll be rehearsing in April and May and we'll be back on tour around when the album is released in the US on May 18th so we'll have some time to rest after this one.

No rest for the wicked, huh?
Yeah, exactly! Hahaha!

Since the album hasn't been released yet, tell us a few things about it. First of all, where was it recorded and who handled the mixing and mastering of the album?
Well we worked with Andy Sneap again. We did the drums at a studio in Oakland, California called Sharkbite Studio and then we moved up to a rental house up in the woods around an hour and a half from San Francisco and there we built our own studio and recorded there for three weeks.

Are there any differences in the sound or is it the classic aggressive EXODUS stuff?
It's super aggressive but I think this album sounds a little more organic and a bit more natural sounding than the last one. The songs are super aggressive. It's maybe a bit more old school sounding without being a retro type album.

I'm asking this because from "Tempo Of The Damned" you began taking a more aggressive direction as time went by.
Yeah this album is super aggressive, that's for sure! Hahaha!

I saw the artwork somewhere and I wanted to ask you… Who designed it and what is its connection to the album's title?
Well, the album's artwork and the entire layout was done by a gentleman from England named Collin March. We just wanted to take the Da Vinci sketch and just alter it to fit the album. You know, the human condition. Violence, arrogance, ignorance, cruelty. All the thing humanity has proven to be capable of. Primarily what this album deals with. The skeleton on the cover represents man and he's fully armed to the teeth including a bible…

It covers almost every negative aspect of the human nature…
Sure, I mean there's not enough guns on the guy to cover all of it! Hahaha!

Are the lyrics somehow connected to the ones in "The Atrocity Exhibition"? I say this since this is actually the second part of the atrocity exhibition as its title implies.
This one deals more with the human condition. In "The Atrocity Exhibition" we dealt more with the atrocities of mankind and this just deals more with human nature.

Will there be a third part of this concept or not?
No this will be the final chapter.

Earlier this year you also released a DVD with various goodies in it. Tell us a few things about that…
We had no intention of releasing that 'Wacken' performance until we saw the footage and it was just amazing. It was a totally insane and we just had to release it. And from there we would start it as a bonus disc with all the footage that Rob had filmed the last few years, that became the documentary. Of course it doesn't cover the whole history of the band although we do talk about some of the old stuff. It is more about what is going on with the band the last few years. And that came up so amazing. The documentary is super funny and entertaining!

Talking about 'Wacken'. The European crowd is really hot during a Metal show. Which crowd is your favorite? The European or the US one?
Depends on where we're playing. Europe is amazing… You know some of the hottest crowds is when we're playing in South America. They're completely nuts! Europe is great; the States are great, too. We appreciate the response we get everywhere.

Last year you visited Greece for a live show along with SABBAT and ENTOMBED. Even though it has only been a while, will we see you here again soon after you release the album?
I surely hope so. We always love returning to Greece. It's such an amazing country with so much history and it's always awesome!

By the way… Is there any chance we may see a similar move with "Let There Be Blood"? Are we going to see any other EXODUS classics being re-recorded and re-released?
No, we did it once and we have no regrets about doing it. Some people thought we shouldn't mess with the original. This one doesn't make the original disappear, nor should it. "Bonded By Blood" will always be THE classic EXODUS album. We don't have plans of re-recording anything again. It came out really great but we are going to be far too busy to be re-recording anything else.

2010 marks your 30th anniversary! That's definitely a long time! How do you feel being still alive and one of the oldest members of the band along with Tom Hunting?
You know it feels good to know that I have had a career that lasted this long and I'm out there doing what I love doing. It keeps you young. It is like a fountain of youth. It allows you to act like a fool and stage and do things you did as a kid. It keeps you from feeling old but obviously it gets a little harder. We have to make sure we don't drink too much. When we were younger we used to drink a lot of vodka! Hahaha! You now have to pay attention to what your body's telling you. If it needs some rest, it probably needs some rest…

You have been a part of Nuclear Blast Records for several years now; have you ever thought about moving to another label or are you fully satisfied with their work?
We are very satisfied. It's been our home now since 2003. The people at the label are not just businessmen, they are fans of our music and we are very happy there.

What is your opinion about this new wave of young kids forming Thrash Metal bands based on the old school sound? They somehow flooded the scene out of the blue!
I think it's great you know having all these kids playing Thrash Metal! They even wear the "official uniform"! Hahahaha! Hi top tennis shoes etc. I am a very big supporter of them all and I am trying to help them when I can! So many of these bands are so young. As they grow they'll start using some of their own elements and they'll become even better bands! Like EVILE and WARBRINGER. Compare their first and their second albums! They made giant steps!

What has mostly amazed me is that many old bands like you, TESTAMENT etc have changed your sound to something more let's say "modern" and aggressive, while these young kids play old school stuff. It's just kind of weird, hahaha!
We've all been doing it some much longer! It would be impossible for me to write for instance "Bonded By Blood" part 2 because that's what I was writing when I was 20! It is a natural evolution of a musician.

What surprises do EXODUS hide for us in the future? Are you going to be releasing albums and playing music for a long time or have you thought about quitting?
We're gonna keep going until this roller coaster crushes! Hahaha! This is the only thing I know how to do!

Thank you for this interview. Anything last you would like to add?
Thank YOU! I hope to see everybody in Greece very soon!


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