Exodus guitarist Gary Holt was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show this past week. Jackie caught up with Holt between Exodus studio albums but as the band are preparing for shows with Fit for an Autopsy, Darkest Hour and Undeath.

Within the chat, Gary gave some insight on the preparation for a new album, and he spoke about which band's music he often uses as a "go to" when trying to find the guitar tone he likes.

Holt has also been working on his memoir and we took the opportunity to ask about his most rewarding album and tour cycle from his stories career. That also opened up the opportunity to speak about his time with Slayer and he shared his thoughts and hopes for the upcoming Kerry King album in 2024. Holt also touched upon his time playing with the all-star metal covers outfit Metal Allegiance, who are celebrating their 10th anniversary.

Check out more of the chat below.

On the show with us this week we welcome guitarist supreme, Exodus’ very own Gary Holt. Great to have you back on the show and I think the last time that we spoke you were just about to start writing a new studio album. So, I will ask, what has been inspiring you musically as you've started getting things in order for Exodus album number 13?

Oh, number 13. I hadn't really thought of it like that. What has really inspired me, hard to say everything and anything and nothing. I love playing guitar and it inspires me just picking the thing up, the crushing guitar tone that's always super inspiring for riffs, you know? I mean, when you're trying to write something really heavy, it helps that you're hearing it really heavy. So I tend to spend a lot of time rocking out at our rehearsal room at like full volume, because that's the way it's meant to be, right? I mean, if you want to hear it in all its power and glory, sitting there with a 10-watt practice amp isn't always the best way to do it.

Gary, I was doing a little web surfing and came across your video for your guitar tone and tone hub expansion and you mentioned that in trying to find the right guitar tone, you always ask, “Can I play AC/DC on it?” Is AC/DC always the starting point for you, or do you have any other go-tos when it comes to trying to find a sound?

I mean, sure I could mess around with some Van Halen or stuff like that, but I'm a Marshall guy, even in years when I'd like moved over to some other wonderful amps that I was using, it was our longtime producer and sixth member of the band Andy Sneap who said all you've ever done with these other amps is you're chasing the sound of your modified Marshalls and he was right. I'm a Marshal guy.

AC/DC is as Marshall as it gets, and a really good guitar tone to me, you should be able to play big open AC/DC chords as well as super crushing crunchy single note riffs. A lot of times you hear a guitar tone and it sounds heavy and fuzzy and suddenly muddy, and you can't imagine big ringing chords ever been played on it, you know? So, I mean, if I can play “If You Want Blood," I can play anything on it. Some of the best guitar tones ever recorded were by them. Just a big Marshall sound. That's what I'm looking for, just a little more aggressive.

AC/DC, "If You Want Blood"

Gary, Exodus are playing shows with Fit for an Autopsy, Darkest Hour and Undeath. Recently, Steve Zetro Souza commented that you might road test some material this time. In today's cellphone world, what are the reasons you might want or not want to road test material? And is there a reason why this hasn't been a typical practice for the band over the years?

I don't know. Usually, I mean, we won't be road testing any new material on this, though we are pulling out some deep cuts, a couple, and one in particular, we haven't played in 32 years. But you know, as far as the new songs by the time was album's out, then we are playing it and we usually aren't working on new songs while currently actively touring for the last album.

I don't write a lot on tour. Usually, it's enough just to try to catch up on my rest and this tour is gonna be good one. We're pulling out a couple of deep ones and some hits and Fit for an Autopsy are good friends of mine and one of my favorite bands and kind of like a meeting of like two worlds - the younger meets the older and wiser. I don't want to say old  [laughs] because we're still killing it. But it's awesome. It's gonna be great. Well, a little bit different of a tour for us.

Matt Stasi, Loudwire
Matt Stasi, Loudwire

I know you've also been writing your memoir which I'm sure has taken you down memory lane a bit. So, it seems a good time to ask this from Exodus through Slayer and all of your musical exploits, which has been the most rewarding album and tour cycle of your career, personally, and why did it stand out for you?

Most rewarding tour cycle? God, that's a hard question. I mean, like, Bonded by Blood, you know, it's the album, one of the albums that starred in it all you knows and going out on tour with Venom twice, you know, my heroes.  That can't be replaced. That was epic.

The new album the tour cycle has been phenomenal. The response has been amazing. We charted highest we ever have in our career and we're pushing 60 years old.

And all the time with Slayer was remarkable. The farewell tour was really incredible. I really tried not to think about the finality of it all until it got to that last show.  On the anniversary of the final show, I always post the same picture and it's the last band photo we ever did and we look like we're on our way to our own funeral. We'd like for the first time ever Slayer looked visibly nervous and it shows in the photo we look scared to death, but you know, it's all been one big journey.

The book's gonna cover it all. My life had some pretty high highs and some of the lowest lows you could ever imagine. It's like a walking talking VH1 Behind the Music episode without the platinum records. Thats the only thing that's missing. I mean, we had death and drugs and near homelessness and Madison Square Garden. It's pretty remarkable career arc. I've had. Very lucky.

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Gary, another one of your fun outside Exodus ventures has been taking part in The Metal Allegiance shows. With the 10th anniversary concert coming up, can you speak to how fun it is to cover metal classics with icons of the genre and is there one particular metal riff that's not one of your own that you wish you would have written that perhaps you'd love to play with Metal Allegiance?

It's 10 years and it's always been fun although I have to be the first to admit, I've always been kind of the cranky old man when it comes down to the song selection because I’m up there with these guys and I want to play ripping thrash but other people's songs, it's sometimes other people want to do more rock and roll stuff, which is cool too and so I'm usually like it's not heavy enough, not heavy enough. I'm, you know, get off my lawn and in complaining. But I have the best time when we do it. As far as riffs that I wished I wrote and I want to play, "Battery" is a pretty sick one from Metallica which is always one of my favorites. I’ll have to lobby for that one.

You've had the pleasure of working with Kerry King in Slayer for most of the 2010s. With Kerry recently releasing a teaser that he's got stuff coming in 2024, what are your thoughts on how he'll do in his post Slayer career? And have you heard any of his new music?

First, I'll say I've heard none of it. Not a note. I've heard it's really, really good. So again, I can't wait to hear it.

The time I spent playing with him was remarkable and then he's just one of the world's most crushing rhythm guitar players. People don't realize how punishing he is, with his right-hand picking technique and just playing with him. It was just a joy. It was awesome. So I can't wait to see it.

I saw that they've announced shows and then it becomes like, well, I'm busy. He's busy. I hope I'm around some time when he's playing where I can catch it. I haven't seen a single Slayer member since the last show. It's kind of crazy. We all like scattered and haven't seen anybody. We text but probably haven’t laid eyes since the bro hugs and I'm out, you know?

Looking forward to all of this upcoming touring and I think 2024 is going to be a big year for Exodus.

I hope so, I mean, we're hoping to continue where the last album left off, which got such a huge reception and we all are super proud of how the record came out so good that I start to get a little bit neurotic, you know? How am I going to top this thing, you know? But when we did the last album we never thought about it, I just wrote riffs, and no matter how nutty it might seem, or how over the top, we just went with it and then Tom [Hunting] and I got together in a room just with a drum set and a half stack like we did when we were 18, you know, no concept, no Pro-Tools, demos and editing, we just worked as two guys and then brought the rest of the band in and we'll just approach it the same way, organic and natural.

The stuff I have right now is crushing. But I get really OCD about riffs. Like forget that one. I got something new and better and then we realized that my favorite song on the album is something that almost was left off, because it's something I wrote first, you know? I mean, I got about 1000 riffs. I have no shortage of that. But I'm always staring at the shiniest newest object and sometimes I have to be forced to go back and listen to the catalog of riffs that I've recorded.

Yeah, you know, I think I just came up with the best idea ever. I think you need to make a Spotify playlist, Gary Holt's Riff. We can all just listen to a nonstop playlist of your 1000 riffs.

They're all recorded on my phone. They're not recorded on Pro Tools, there's a million mistakes and you'll hear a TV in the background, but I just do that so I don't forget them, because sometimes if you don't record, the riffs ends up on the record, and it's never as good as when you first wrote it because you forgot some little detail that you never could get back. I tried to kind of always capture the moment. But yeah, you'd hear a lot of stupid things in the background, football games or whatever.

I would love to hear all of that. Well, Gary, thank you so much for the time and I looking forward to seeing you soon.

Thanks to Exodus' Gary Holt for the interview. You can keep up with the band's touring and other exploits through their website, Facebook, X, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify accounts. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.

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