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Gary Holt – Guitar for Exodus

Date: 12/02/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino



1. Tell us about Exodus’ growth from “Tempo of the Damned” to “Shovel Headed Kill Machine” to the new one “The Atrocity Exhibition Part A” ?

GARY: Well with each record I don’t try to do anything specific just write the best I can for Exodus. Between this album and “Shovel Headed” is the two years being able to work with our singer Rob (Dukes) and develop a chemistry with him and then one of the Exodus founding members and one of my best friends Tom Hunting came back to the band so that was a nice kick in the ass for the chemistry.

2. So you didn’t do anything deliberately different with “The Atrocity Exhibition” to make it any different from past albums?

GARY: Naah man I’ll tell ya it was a very organic process like always starting off with a riff and a dusty old four track ya know. Rob did do some clean vocals for the song “Children of a Worthless God” but even with that people have been real positive about. And that’s not the first time Exodus has used cleaner vocals before. Its an aspect of Rob’s ability I wasn’t really aware of but I am real happy with it. I didn’t intend to write long songs this time either, I just start with a guitar riff as always.

3. And how about contributions from your second guitarist Lee Altus who wrote “Children of a Worthless God”. What does he bring to an Exodus song that you don’t?

GARY: Well he has been around Exodus’ music for most of his adult life so he knows how to write a song for Exodus you know just as well as he writes one for Heathen. It just makes my job a lot easier really. We already have a bunch of stuff he wrote ready for the next album. Just right now that one was the one song that was chosen for “Exhibit A”. When I write I sometimes produce at a frenetic pace but Lee is a bit more analytical. One big influence he brings to the band is Lee is such a great rhythm guitar player and maybe some things I write now that I didn’t do in the past would sound better live now, like harmony stuff like that. I think some rhythm playing got a bit swampy in the past few years.

4. What is the “Atrocity Exhibit”?

GARY: Just organized religion on a whole.

5. Can you tell us about “Part B” and when that may come out?

GARY: We hope to have it out at the end of 2008. Right now we have a really good problem in that we have too many good songs, ones we wouldn’t want use as bonus throw away shit. We initially were going to release both albums as a double set but you can only fit so much on a disc. So we opted to release the albums separately and saved more great ones for part two. We have four recorded and completed just not mixed. Starting next year we are going to start touring for “Exhibit A” with breaks in between. So during that time we will continue recording “Exhibit B” . No artwork or anything like that has been done yet. The riffs are pretty dark for “Exhibit B”, maybe more dynamic on parts with more melody. I can’t even comment on the new songs yet. They may all turn out to be two three minute barn burners for all I know.

6. Do you have any interest in getting Steven Souza (former singer) back in the band?

GARY: No hell no. Look we are on good terms again but I wouldn’t want to be in a band with him again. He just didn’t want to be on the road touring and it was just a drag in that relationship.

7. What is your thought on the remastering/reissuing of albums?

GARY: I have no problem with it. I don’t know how much a straight remaster does but you can take an old album and make the levels hotter because some albums are not just that LOUD, bringing up some of the instruments in the mix. As far as re recording them we are doing our own. “Bonded By Blood” will be re recorded in January as a Paul Baloff tribute. We are going to re record the entire album as one version which will be entirely done by Exodus, and then another one with a different guest vocalist on each song. Its something different that hasn’t been done yet so we are excited and a lot of people have made their dibs already on what songs they want to sing on. I think Baloff’s work with Exodus really hasn’t been celebrated the right way yet.

8. Now have any Exodus albums been properly remastered and re released?

GARY: A few have been re released but not remastered. If it does happen I don’t necessarily would have to be there during the process. I would just it over to Andy Sneap to get it done the right way, you know.

9. Does Exodus have any left over songs from past albums that could re surface on a remaster or Best of type compilation?

GARY: You no we have never been a band to do that. Every song we write during an album recording has been used. But there is one left over from the “Bonded By Blood” sessions called “Death Row” but we never did the vocals for it. Other than that everything that was tracked for an album was released.

10. If you could pick the songs for an Exodus “Best Of” which ones would you fell have to be included?

GARY: Man..that’s a tough one. Its like picking a setlist its gets harder every year. I mean just picking songs from “Bonded By Blood” is an argument in itself Hahaha. You have the title track, “Strike of the Beast”, “And Then There Were None”, “Deliver Us From Evil”. Then you have “Pleasure of the Flesh”, “Parasite”, “Fabulous Disaster”, “Chemi Kill”, “Brain Dead”, “Toxic Waltz”. Man that’s just hard (laughs). I would just let the fans vote on it and take the responsibility out of my hands and then when there is a lack of a song I have a scapegoat (laughs).

11. The Exodus setlist relies heavily of the earlier albums and the more recent. What about “Impact Is Imminent” and “Force of Habit”. Do you ever include songs from those albums in your set?

GARY: Well we haven’t really played any songs from those albums because those two records have been out of print for some time and Capitol isn’t doing anything about it. We tried to get the rights back and Capitol is just so difficult to deal with. You know the label isn’t doing anything with them they are just sitting there. It’s pretty stupid too because they are not making a dime off those two records. But you know how it is some people at labels are just idiots. They do so little with those records we could just bootleg it and Capitol wouldn’t even know it. They probably don’t even know we as a band still exist Hahaha. But we want to own those the right way. I know some of the kids have those albums but when you have a new singer and guitar player you have to concentrate of getting all the new songs tight as well as the classics. I would like to pull a few rabbits out of our hats but those songs just aren’t ready yet to be played live. We’ve done “Only Death Decides” off “Impact” when we were touring for “Tempo of the Damned” and Lee now wants to do “Changing of the Guard” from “Impact” really bad. Maybe we will do “Feeding Time at the Zoo” from “Force of Habit” as well. Recently we just played the “Toxic Waltz” in South America again, we haven’t done that in a few years and they went nuts for it.

12. With the current lineup have you had the chance to record any shows for DVD?

GARY: We have done some recording but just what Rob shot from the stage but no plans have been made yet.

13. How about a documentary?

GARY: You know that’s something else we would like to do but it takes time. I hope at some point we get to it.

14. Any plans to release concert footage with either or both Paul and Steve singing?

GARY: We do have something called double live Dynamo on our website which contains a 1985 Dynamo club gig and 1987 festival shows with Paul Baloff singing. Its really cool and I think the fans would like them.

15. Plans to record any promo video for “Atrocity Exhibit A”?

GARY: Not sure yet. You know recording videos these days you kind of do em just to play on Youtube, you know. MTV and shit like that are all about reality shows and music we don’t play.

16. Does Headbangers Ball have it?

GARY: Yeah they do it will be debuting this weekend.

17. Do you get a chance to do any side projects?

GARY: No because Exodus is this all consuming beast really. I would like to do something with some friends but just don’t have the time right now.

Official website: www.exodusattack.com

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