EXODUS's GARY HOLT Says He Will Still Be 'An A**hole' Onstage, Even After Giving Up Alcohol
November 2, 2021
EXODUS and SLAYER guitarist Gary Holt has once again opened up about his decision to quit drinking alcohol. The 57-year-old musician, who resides in Northern California, discussed his newfound sobriety in a new interview with "The Jasta Show", hosted by HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta. Holt said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've found that there's really amazing alcohol-free beer out there now — like, really, really good. And I go to BevMo and try different ones all the time. 'Cause that's the only thing I think I'd miss… I don't miss getting drunk anymore; I think I'd miss the taste, 'cause I was a beer snob. I was the guy who'd go out and buy triple IPA 13% alcohol bottle like that, and then I'd drink six of 'em and just get shitfaced. So, now, it's kind of like a placebo effect, I think.
"When we had a fundraiser for Tom [Hunting, EXODUS drummer, who is recovering from cancer surgery] in Sacramento, it was my first time ever to a club without drinking," Holt revealed. "Even though usually when I go out, I don't drink very much, but, you know, [I'd have] a couple of beers — sometimes a couple before I show up, 'cause I know I'm gonna get descended on, especially at a benefit or Tom. And I did. And I got there, and I got a little bit overwhelmed. And then I went in the dressing room and had an alcohol-free Heineken. And it mellowed me out, evened me out. Then I went out and signed and took photos with everybody who wanted one. It was kind of cool. And then, when it was done, I just watched the show. It was awesome."
Gary also discussed how different it will be for him to perform without being under the influence. "I'd go out onstage, and I don't get hammered onstage, but I used to — one hour before showtime, I'd open a beer, and then during the show I'd drink two or three or four," he explained to Jamey. "Part of you asked am I still gonna be able to go out there and be an animal without being a little bit under the influence. But, yeah, I can still do it — I'm still gonna be an asshole onstage. Asshole animal and make a fool of myself. I didn't wanna become this reclusive shadow of my former self. You worry about those things when you quit drinking."
Holt's announcement that he had given up alcohol came seven months after his wife Lisarevealed that she had quit drinking in 2012 after using alcohol since she was 13 years old. She also thanked her husband and credited him for making her "want to be a better person. I definitely wouldn't have him or anything kick-ass in my life today if I hadn't made this choice [to quit drinking] 8 years ago," she wrote.
In Wiederhorn's book "Raising Hell (Backstage Tales From The Lives Of Metal Legends)", Holt reminisced about the lengths he and his onetime EXODUS bandmate Kirk Hammett (now in METALLICA) would go to nearly 40 years ago in order to get free alcohol.
"Near where we lived, we had a local liquor store called the Wagon Wheel that burned down," Holt recalled. "We had nothing to do with that, but we waded through the burnt rubble of this condemned building, risking life and limb to get to the alcohol. The bottles with plastic caps were all melted. Kirk had this old Buick Skylark. We called it the Skymobile. And we filled his trunk with gallons of whiskey bottles with these black melted caps on them. We were scavengers. It's part of what made EXODUS great, that hunger and ambition."
EXODUS's new album, "Persona Non Grata", will be released on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. It will be the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release since the departure of the group's lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Steve "Zetro" Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
"Persona Non Grata" was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap.
In July, Hunting underwent a successful total gastrectomy in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.