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Hi Zetro, welcome to TrueMetal.it!
It’s good to be here.
You've been touring for about two weeks now, how is the tour going?
Tour’s great, Europe is always good to us, everywhere is, now, we’ve been in the business long enough that we know how big we are, we know who we bring, so it’s been great!
Festival are starting this week for us, Copenhell, Graspop, Hellfest are all this week, so…
In 2014 you rejoined the band and not long after you released "Blood in, Blood out"; first of all, did the fans and critics' reception matched your expectations?
They’re still thanking me for coming back every night, I was thinking it would be like that, the reception has been really great all over the place, very much so.
How was it to be working with the band again after 10 years? Was it just the same as before, or did it take some time for you to fit back in?
It didn’t really take time for me to readjust, I mean, I’ve been doing Exodus since I was 22, and you know how to do Exodus once you’ve done Exodus, so…
When you rejoined Gary Holt was already with Slayer so you played very few shows together with him…
We’ve played a lot of shows, just not over here; we’ve done two over here since I returned: when I first returned in the band in July 2014, we played a metal festival in Antwerp, and we played the Bang Your Head festival that year.
That’s the only thing I did with Gary in Europe, everything else has been with Kragen.
…and how does it feel to be playing without him?
I’m used to it now, because it’s been a while, it’s been four years, he’s come in and come out…but obviously he’ll be coming back full time real soon, so I’m sure once that happen we will have a new album come out.
Have you talked with him about this final Slayer tour? That tour is of course a big deal, and many wonder if it will be the actual end or if Slayer will continue somehow…
I have to say, from my conversations, not with Gary, with other members of the band, they’ve decided that this is it, so…expect Gary Holt to be back to Exodus full time whenever this tour is over with.
But they’re in it now, so I’d say, and this is just a prediction, I could be wrong, I would say by next year this time it’s gonna wind down and you’re gonna know when the last actual Slayer show is.
Let's talk about the future, after 4 years many are hoping for a new album soon…
I would love for a new album too [laughs].
…have you done some songwriting already?
Obviously Gary is the main songwriter, he always has been, so we’re pretty much…I mean, he has songs right now, our tour has run simultaneously with Slayer’s tour a lot since “Blood In, Blood Out” came out, then “Repentless” came out the very next year, so it seems like it’s run very much the same.
We don’t necessarily miss him, but his attack is different guitar-wise, he’s Gary Holt, you know? It’s the reason why he’s Gary Holt.
In the last album you had a couple of great guests, Chuck Billy from Testament and Kirk Hammett from Metallica, do you think you’ll have some guest in the next album too?
The Metallica guys and Exodus have always been close, especially Tom and Gary, they keep in touch with Kirk and Lars and James, when we see them it’s always like, our friends from when we were nothing, you know what I mean, so many stories about that, so it’s cool.
But I couldn’t tell ya about any guests in the future, you never know, you never know what’s gonna happen.
You recently played the "Mr. Pickles Thrashtacular" tour with Municipal Waste…
That was a great tour!
…did you know Mr. Pickles before the tour?
Yes, I’m a Cartoon Network guy, [points at his Rick and Morty t-shirt] obviously I love Rick and Morty, and I love a lot of the Adult Swim cartoons, I’m a cartoon guy in general so I knew about Mr. Pickles and I was the most excited one when we were told that we were going out for that.
Something I often read on the internet is people saying, "Hey, it should be the Big 5 of Thrash together with Exodus", how do you feel about that?
Like I was explaining in the last interview, that Big 4 thing means nothing to me, if you were to really look at it it’s the Big 1 and the other three, because Metallica can put 90.000 people in a stadium and if you put Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth together they can put maybe 15 or 20 together!
So it really doesn’t make any s…I was there in the beginning, I know who invented Thrash Metal, I’ll show you something I’ve just showed the other guy…this is from 1984 [pulls out his phone and shows an old concert flyer], this is a flyer from a concert at Ruthie’s Inn…where was the Big 4 there?
Exactly, so that Big 4 shit doesn’t fly with me at all; I lived it, I know who invented Thrash Metal, I was in Legacy which turned into Testament and I watched it, it was Exodus.
That’s what made me wanna join the band, the heaviest band in the world wanted me to sing for them.
Talking about those times, what are your memories of that period?
Man, it was the greatest…I think about those things all the time, somebody asked me the other day, “Hey Zetro, do you remember what the layout was for Ruthie’s Inn? I wanna do it in Lego, make it out of Legos”, and I remembered the plot and how they set the stage and how everything was set out.
It brought back so many memories I had there…magical times brother, we didn’t even know it was magical!
Of course, nowadays a lot of band talk about you guys as an important influence on their music, do you remember a particular time when you realised the extent of the influence your music had on others, when you realised you were become a legendary band of sorts?
This is how I explain it, in the ‘80s we were rock stars, in the ‘90s we became has-beens, now we are legends.
It’s the kind of the full circle, you have to go down, you have to have a death in the band before you can get back up.
Back to the present time, we were talking about times when most of the technology we have today was unimaginable…
Oh, it makes it easier to sing your vocals on an album, definitely.
Technology is great, technology is awesome now, it can make so many things…
…what I wanted to ask you, I was thinking more about smartphones: of course, today everybody has one, and to some to some people this is becoming a problem.
I'm talking about people filming gigs, and the reaction of some bands like A Perfect Circle who banned phones at their gigs; what is your take on the matter?
Who cares, who cares, if the whole fucking crowd holds up phone I don’t really care.
It’s part of today.
This was my last question, thank you for your time.
Thank you, enjoy the show!