Former EXODUS Frontman ROB DUKES On His Battle With COVID-19: 'This Was The Sickest I've Ever Been In My Life'

April 13, 2020

Former EXODUS singer Rob Dukes says that he is recovering after testing positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Dukes, who fronted EXODUS for nine years, believes that he contracted the disease after attending an OVERKILL concert in Phoenix on March 1.

"I pretty much ended up in the hospital, but only for 12 hours," he told the "Talking Metal" podcast in a new interview. "And then I got quarantined for two weeks at home and was on steroids and a bunch of different other drugs to try to keep me from getting pneumonia. So that's what I did. I stayed home for a couple of weeks. I had really bad bronchitis. I was coughing so much that it hurt my chest and my throat was all tore up — I was coughing blood. I couldn't sleep — achy, feverish for the first week. And then I just kept drinking a ton of fucking water — that's kind of what I did; I was drinking a ton of water. And it was really hard to eat. But then, as soon as I got better, I fucking went on a fucking tear. I probably put on 10 pounds since then. [Laughs]"

According to Dukes, his lungs became so inflamed that it made it tough for him to breathe.

"At one point, I was in the shower, and I had to go lay down," he said. "I was, like, 'All right. I'm done.' I took a cold shower to try to cool my body off, and then I just went and lay in bed. And then another time, I was laying on a couch… I had my wireless headset thing in the car. And I was, like, 'Oh, let me go grab that.' And I just walked to my car, which is probably 50 feet. And by the time I got to my car and got back, I had to go lay down for an hour, 'cause I was just so exhausted. It was brutal, man.

"What this COVID-19 does is it gets in your lungs, and it basically suffocates people to death," he added. "It must be a miserable way to die. 'Cause not being able to take a full breath and being out of breath just walking 20 feet, or 30 feet, was fucking brutal.

"I've been sick a bunch of times, man. This was the sickest I've ever been in my life," he said. "It was completely debilitating."

Asked if he knows exactly where he got infected with the virus, Dukes said: "I went to see OVERKILL on Sunday, March [1st], and by March 5th, I was a fucking mess. I saw OVERKILL; I went to see Bobby ['Blitz' Ellsworth, OVERKILL singer] and hung out with Bobby. I hung out, watched the crowd. At that time, there was nothing — it was this vague thing on the news; no one was really talking about it at all — enough to make me even contemplate, 'Maybe I shouldn't go to a concert.' I didn't even think of it twice. So I went. And Bobby actually had a cold. We just hung out for a while, and I went and saw the show… And then, by Wednesday, I didn't feel good. And Thursday at work, I was just fucked. And by Thursday afternoon, I was, like, 'I've gotta go home.' I went home, and on Saturday, I went to see my doctor. And he said, 'Yeah, you've got bronchitis. You've got an upper respiratory infection. And you should take this.' And he gave me a drug to take. And he said, 'If you're not better by Tuesday, give me a call back.' And when I called him back, he said, 'Go to the hospital.' So I ended up in the hospital that night. And I was there for 12 hours.'

Dukes said that he is still "not a hundred percent" recovered from COVID-19. "I'm probably ninety percent," he revealed. "I still have headaches every day — I get a headache if I strain myself."

Dukes joined EXODUS in January 2005 and appeared on four of the band's studio albums — "Shovel Headed Kill Machine" (2005),"The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A" (2007),"Let There Be Blood" (2008, a re-recording of EXODUS's classic 1985 LP, "Bonded By Blood") and "Exhibit B: The Human Condition" (2010). He was dismissed in 2014 and replaced by a returning Steve "Zetro" Souza.

Three years after he was fired from EXODUS, Dukes performed with the band during its July 2017 concert in San Francisco, California. He sang several songs with the group on the second of EXODUS's two-night stint at The Chapel in what marked the band's first headlining Bay Area club shows since late 2013.

Dukes currently resides in Arizona, where he works as a mechanic specializing in car restoration.

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