GARY HOLT: 'EXODUS Never Used A KIRK HAMMETT Riff, Ever,' On An Album Until 'Tempo Of The Damned'
January 22, 2022
During an appearance on "Put Up Your Dukes", the new podcast hosted by ex-EXODUS singer Rob Dukes, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt was asked if original EXODUS guitarist Kirk Hammett, who has been a member of METALLICA for the past 39 years, was involved in the songwriting for any of the material that ended up on EXODUS's classic debut album, 1985's "Bonded By Blood". "There were riffs that I had written while Kirk was still in the band, and he tried to adapt them, tried to change 'em a little bit — the old, 'I changed it a little bit. I'm a co-writer on this riff,'" Holt recalled (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). "And that was, like, two riffs, I think. And the rest of 'em were written after he left. We never used a Kirk Hammett riff, ever, until [2004's] 'Tempo Of The Damned' [album] when we recorded [the early EXODUS song] 'Impaler'."
Explaining that "the first two [EXODUS] songs finished post-Kirk Hammett were 'Strike Of The Beast' and 'No Love'," Holt continued: "The biggest talent I have, if you wanna call it a talent, is my fucking memory. I can remember fucking everything. I remember showing him… I can picture it as a film, showing Kirk the riff to 'Strike Of The Beast', and I can picture it as if I'm watching it on a film — in the jam room, me in my spot where I played him [the riff] and him wanting to change the higher note to a lower note; I remember it all as if I'm watching a movie of it. I remember all of it — every last minute of it. I remember details from fucking most meaningless shit."
The original lineup of EXODUS consisted of guitarists Hammett and Tim Agnello, drummer Tom Hunting and vocalist Keith Stewart. Holt joined the band in 1981, while Kirk left two years before "Bonded By Blood" saw the light of day.
Although EXODUS rarely gets mentioned alongside the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX — "Bonded By Blood" inspired the likes of TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, VIO-LENCE and many others to launch their careers and is considered one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time.
Back in 2018, Kirk spoke about the fact that riffs from songs by EXODUS, "Die By His Hand" and "Impaler", found their way into "Creeping Death" and "Trapped Under Ice", from METALLICA's "Ride The Lightning" album. "What I think happened was when Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] and James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] were thinking about getting rid of Dave [Mustaine], our sound guy, Mark Whitaker — who was EXODUS' manager — gave them EXODUS' demos," Kirk said. "I think 'Die By His Hand' might have caught their ears. So when they were writing 'Creeping Death', they went, 'Great. 'Die By His Hand'. Put it right there.' It was definitely not me going, 'I have a riff here in this EXODUS song, and it needs to be here in this METALLICA song.' By the way, I wrote that 'Die By His Hand' riff when I was, like, 16 years old."