Interview by: Buna Bernarda Juretić
Photo: Elena Crnković
Thrashfest Classics really devastated Boogaloo last Monday. We had a chance to talk with Exodus’ shredding master, Gary Holt. Check out what he told us about the last album, touring, favourite younger thrash bands and new plans.
VENIA: Exodus is in Zagreb for the first time. How does it feel to be here? When did you come? Did you have enough time to see the city?
GARY: (laughing) On this whole tour I+ve seen nothing, because we’re doing 24 shows in 24 days. No days off. So pretty much just getting in the bus and drive. So, I woke up and was here, you know.
VENIA: Thrashfest began on November 25th…
GARY: Yeah, I think so, I don’t even remember anymore.
VENIA: So, what are your impressions so far?
GARY: It’s been a lot of fun, we’re out with a lot of good friends, we’re having a really good time. We always put couple surprises for the crowd live, you know between us and Sepultura, and all the bands have been really great. It’s been a lot of fun, we’re just kinda tired now, you know.
VENIA: It must be a great feeling, to be with four great thrash metal bands. Who was the best and funniest so far?
GARY: There’s nobody funnier than Exodus (laughing). Except Sepultura, they’re pretty funny too.
VENIA: Let’s talk a little bit about music. Tell me something about production and recording process of your last album „Exhibit B: The Human Condition“.
GARY: We did the drums in a proper studio and then we rented a big vacation house and built the studio. We just kinda camped out and recorded the album there. It was like a summer camp of thrash metal , you know, a lot of fun.
VENIA: How was it to work with the producer Andy Sneap again?
GARY: We’ve worked wih him on every album since 1997. He’s one of our best friends. It’s really almost not work, it’s more like joking around the whole time, getting work done too. It’s a lot of fun.
VENIA: On this last album you worked also with Peter Tägtgren from Hypocrisy and Pain.
GARY: Yeah, he sang background.
VENIA: How did it come to that collaboration?
GARY: I did a solo on Hypocrisy album, I think on two albums ago, on „Scrutinized“. And he asked me „Gary you do the solo.“ these days and I asked him to do some death metal vocals too. We sent him a track and he sent it back the very next day.
VENIA: I can notice that many of your songs are politically oriented and I think many of them are about U. S. politics. What inspires you most about that lyrical content?
GARY: Just, things that make you angry and anger is always a great way to start with a thrash metal song.
VENIA: I want to ask you something about your re-recorded release of „Bonded By Blood“ that came out in 2008. How did you come up with idea to re-record it?
GARY: We just wanted to pay tribute to the original songs, the guys who played on it. How meaningful these songs are to this day.
VENIA: I know that you work as a producer. So what’s the best part of working as a producer?
GARY: I don’t have to play the guitar (laughing). I just sit and work with people and make music it’s fun part.
VENIA: I also know that you worked with young thrash metal band Warbringer on their second album, you produced it.
GARY: Yeah, yeah.
VENIA: How was it to work with them? I ask you that because they’ve been recently in Zagreb.
GARY: They’re just really good friend of mine, so they asked me to do it. We did the whole album in 11 days. It wasn’t a lot of time, but I think it came out great.
VENIA: What do you think about young thrash metal bands in general? Who’s the most original in your opinion?
GARY: I think Warbringer keep getting better and better, the new album is one of the best albums of the year.
VENIA: What would you advice to young bands? How should they act in the beginnings of their career and what should they do to succeed?
GARY: Practice really hard, and just keep working on their craft.
VENIA: What about finding a record label? Is it harder nowadays?
GARY: I suppose, maybe. I don’t know, it’s hard for me to answer that because we’re an established band. So maybe for kids, they can just put out something good and original and hope that someone likes it.
VENIA: In time when you began, your idols were bands of the 70’s, NWOBHM, punk rock etc. Was it easier to succeed back then or is it harder to succeed now when we have so many genres?
GARY: Yeah, there’re so many genres, but when we started it was so underground. You couldn’t buy the records except for like metal stores, either than like a hard rock stuff. It was hard then but there was less competition.
VENIA: I would like to ask you something about the gear that you use on stage. Tell us a little bit about that.
GARY: Schecter guitars, Dunlop, Homebrew electronics, Engl amps, Line 6 wireless and tones of different shit (laughing).
VENIA: Awesome! I think it’s really amazing that many Bay Area thrash bands are so successful after 30 years at scene. What wolud you say, what kept Exodus so long at scene?
GARY: We don’t know how to do anything else(laughing), than play thrash. It’s about the only thing we know how to do.
VENIA: You just jam, jam, jam…
GARY: Yeah! (Laughing)
VENIA: Tell me something more personal. What do you like to do on tour, what relaxes you the most?
GARY: I don’t know…beer (laughing). Speaking to my family when I get a chance, things like that.
VENIA: What are the new Exodus’ plans for the future?
GARY: We’re gonna go home from this touring and after the holidays we start getting real seriously about working on the next album.
VENIA: And when should you start working on the next album?
GARY: You know, that depends I got to get in touch with Andy Sneap, see the schedules, we’re hoping to be in the studio around March.
VENIA: What can Croatian fans expect from tonight’s show?
GARY: Mayhem… we hope they’l have fun.
VENIA: You play stuff from your three albums….
GARY: Yeah, first three albums, „Bonded By Blood“, „Pleasures Of The Flesh“ and. „Fabulous Disaster“.
VENIA: At last, your message for Venia-mag readers?
GARY: It’s great to be here and we hope we’ll deliver the show that doesn’t disappoint.
VENIA: Thank you very much for the interview,it was a great honor.
GARY: Oh, thank you very much!