EXODUS's GARY HOLT: We Still 'Make Crushing, Killer Albums That Stand Up Against Any Of The Classic Stuff'

February 6, 2023

During an appearance on Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt was asked why it's still important for him and his bandmates to make new music, even after the economics of the music industry have completely changed the business of releasing albums. He responded: "There's only so much you can do playing the same stuff over and over again. I guess the simplest way to put it is I need to make new music; it's what keeps me motivated and keeps me interested. If I'm just gonna do tours and tell myself, 'I've got enough albums. We'll just make sure we vary the setlist a lot and we don't need to make new music anymore,' I would become incredibly bored incredibly fast and I probably wouldn't wanna do it anymore. I mean, we make crushing, killer albums that stand up against any of the classic stuff. So we're not out there force-feeding the audience a bunch of new songs they don't wanna hear. People wanna hear the stuff. And I wanna play it. And it makes me happy. It makes all of us happy."

Regarding EXODUS's plans to write the follow-up to 2021's "Persona Non Grata" album, Holt said: "I've always got a million riffs. I have probably a thousand that I didn't use on the last album. Sometimes it's just 'cause I get OCD, and I get caught up in the latest riff, and I won't go back and bother to listen to the other stuff. And sometimes I'll pull up really great stuff that is decades old — like, 'Wow. How did I not use that?' Writing riffs is easy. After this [North American] tour [with ANTHRAX and BLACK LABEL SOCIETY], I've got three months off, and I'm gonna start working on the new record."

When host Full Metal Jackie noted that we have heard stories of how artists have had all these riffs stored on their phones or their computers and then the phones got lost or the computers crashed, Gary said: "Here's the thing. Here's the difference between me and a lot of other guys: I'll just write new ones. I'll write a riff right now without a guitar in my hand. Easy. Writing riffs is like breathing; it's not difficult, if you love it. I've got my voice recorder on my phone, and they are backed up. I've got so many riffs. And some of the best stuff might not ever get used 'cause I'll come up with something else and I won't feel like it's necessary to dig into the vaults for stuff. Sometimes [EXODUS drummer] Tom Huntingmakes me do that, and then we'll find some real gems. Some of my favorite stuff on the record will be like that. But if I lost them all, I'd just write new ones."

"Persona Non Grata" came out in November 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP 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. For the third time in the band's history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.

"Persona Non Grata" is 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.

In July 2021, EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting underwent a successful total gastrectomy in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach. He rejoined his bandmates on stage in October 2021 at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California.

EXODUS tapped John Tempesta to play drums for the band at Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada in August 2021 and at Full Terror Assault in Cave In Rock, Illinois in September 2021 while Hunting was recovering from surgery. Tempesta was a member of EXODUS from 1989 until 1993 and played on the band's albums "Impact Is Imminent" (1990) and "Force Of Habit" (1992).

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