Slayer + Exodus’ Gary Holt: It ‘Pisses Me Off’ That Rap Is the Most Popular Music in America
Gary Holt was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio program. The guitarist discussed what life will be like after Slayer's farewell tour comes to a close and what the new Exodus album is shaping up to sound like. He also touched on bands that can fill the void left by Slayer and laments that rap now dominates music in America. Check out the chat below.
Slayer are going on the road for the last time on a final World Tour. Tom Araya had hinted about retirement a couple of years ago, but people are still surprised. Was it always the plan to end in 2018?
You know. I can't really comment on anything other than what the press release put out there. There will be more info to follow. The band's going to go out swinging and we're going to go out hard. And it's gonna be epic and from there we'll see where the roads take me.
Seeing Slayer has always been a metal "rite of passage." Who do you think will be the must-see band for kids getting into metal after Slayer ends?
￼You know that's a really hard question to answer. I mean, there are so many just, amazing bands now, but it's also so much harder to like build a three-decade-long career in the music industry. Bands like Slayer and Exodus and Megadeth and all of us, we are fortunate to be old. [laughs] We started before downloading. Back then it was called tape trading. We're able to build a fan base and now it's much harder.
￼There are so many killer bands like Municipal Waste, who you can hardly call a new band and they're veterans now, they've been around forever. There's Power Trip and so many more. But as far as filling the big venues, it's gonna be hard for another one to come up, an extreme metal band to get to that level just because the business model has changed so much, but I hope so. Rap is the number one music form in America first time ever. It's not rock 'n' roll, and that pisses me off, it angers me to know.
Exodus has long been regarded as a pioneering band right alongside Metallica Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer. Do you feel any greater sense of responsibility to continue that thrash lineage with Exodus once there's an absence of Slayer?
That's my life. That's like my childhood friends and playing music with them and they've been super supportive in my absence as and nobody more so than the Exodus fans themselves, but I've been writing for the last several months. Tom and I are both the like-minded in wanting to take as long as it takes to make the next record. We want to make the most badass thing anybody ever heard. The new material is simply just devastating. So crushing.
The only responsibility I feel is the band and our fans, our legacy. I don’t ever want to hit the stage and appear to be way past my prime, you know? I feel like I'm in my prime now. I'll be 54 in May and I feel as confident in my abilities as a player and onstage as I ever have. I have to take better care of myself to do it, when I was young I didn't take care of myself at all. But we're just gonna keep waving the flag of thrash metal. I've always been proud to be a standard bearer and I always will. It's the music we helped invent and I love it. It's done very well for me in my life and I'll never take it for granted.
You've been playing in Slayer for seven years. What is going to be the biggest adjustment for you when it's done?
There won't be. I'm fortunate in that. I won't have to - someone else in a similar circumstance like, start over. I'm sure there are a lot of fans - I see some of the funny memes out there on Instagram. There's a lot of fans who come back, and well you know I have two musical families. Yeah, seven years, that's crazy. Something that I thought was going to be a few months long and unfortunately tragedy struck and [I'm] still here - not like, taking that for granted either. I wish Jeff [Hanneman] was here. I'm just gonna enjoy it while I can and move on to the other chapters; Exodus and other projects that I wanted to do and haven't had time. Time is something in short supply sometimes. I'm just - stay busy.
People will speculate what Tom Araya will do next, what Kerry King will do next? What will you do after Slayer with Exodus and otherwise?
I'll probably be on the road a few weeks later. [laughs] I'm just gonna keep writing music, writing riffs and playing guitar. That's what I love to do and as far as what anybody else is going to do, that's the question only they can answer. But for myself, I'm doing what I've been doing - headbang. [laughs] I figure if I stop, I'll never be able to start up again.
Exodus were expected to be already started to record a new album but you've been taking more time with the songwriting. What will be different about the next Exodus album?
That's always a hard question to define for me. I mean, sometimes what's different to me isn't different to other people. Am I trying to retread the same thing? I never do. I think all of our last dive albums are different in their own ways yet 100 percent Exodus. Maybe in some ways some of the riffs are a little more dissonant and bone-crushingly brutal? Yet some of the stuff I'm writing is really melodic.
Everything seems to be jumping out with really big badass choruses. It's heavy, it's fast, crushing - no one is going to be disappointed. No one's going to say we watered anything down. They're gonna say they turned it up fucking 10 notches. I just challenge myself and see where I can take this thing called thrash metal and this band Exodus. See where we as five guys, how far we can push the boundaries.
The last big 4 show, Metallica, Megadeth Anthrax and Slayer was almost seven years ago. Do you think Slayer announcing its farewell might motivate one more Big Four show?
I have no idea. [laughs] I know Dave Mustaine would like to do it, he said so much publicly - I can't comment on any of that stuff. All I can comment on is we've got some dates coming up, touring the summer. It's gonna be epic.
Thanks to Gary Holt for the interview. Check out all of Slayer's farewell tour dates here and don't forget to follow Slayer and Exodus on Facebook to stay up to date with what each band is up to. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.
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