In a recent Interview with Full Metal Jackie, EXODUS and SLAYER guitarist Gary Holt discussed the upcoming Slayer farewell tour, upcoming Exodus album and more.
When asked about feeling any greater sense of responsibility to continue that thrash lineage with EXODUS once there’s an absence of SLAYER, he said (Transcribed by Blabbermouth.net):
Gary: “Well, EXODUS, that’s my life — it’s like my childhood friends I’m playing music with there. And they’ve been super supportive in my absence, and nobody more so than the EXODUS fans themselves. But I’ve been writing for the last several months. Tom Hunting[drums] 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 has ever heard. And the new material is simply just devastating — it’s just so crushing. The only responsibility I feel is to the band’s fans and our own legacy. I don’t ever wanna hit the stage and appear to be way past my prime. I feel 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 form 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.”
Full Metal Jackie: You’ve been playing in SLAYER for seven years. What is going to be the biggest adjustment for you when it’s done?
Gary: “There won’t be. I’m fortunate in that I won’t have to, like someone else in a similar circumstance, start over. I’m sure there are a lot of fans who… I see some of the funny memes out there on Instagram. There are a lot of fans who are, like, ‘Come back.’ But I have two musical families. Yeah, seven years — that’s crazy. It’s something that I thought was gonna be a few months long, and, unfortunately, tragedy struck, and I’m still here. I’m not taking that for granted either, but I wish Jeff [Hanneman] was here. I’m just gonna enjoy it while I can and move on to other chapters — EXODUS and other projects I’ve wanted to do and haven’t had time. Time is something in short supply sometimes. I’m just [gonna] stay busy.”
Full Metal Jackie: 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?
Gary: “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 gonna do, that’s a question only they can answer. But for myself, I’ll do what I’ve been doing — headbang. [Laughs] I fear if I stop, I’ll never be able to start up again.”
Full Metal Jackie: 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?
Gary: “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 five albums are different in their own way 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’s gonna be disappointed, that’s for sure — no one’s gonna say we watered anything down. They’re gonna say they turned it up fucking 10 notches. I just challenge myself to 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.”
Full Metal Jackie: The last “Big Four” show — [featuring] METALLICA, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX and SLAYER — was almost seven years ago. Do you think SLAYER announcing its farewell might motivate one more “Big Four” show?
Gary: “I have no idea. [Laughs] I know Dave Mustaine [MEGADETH] would like to see 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, and it’s the tour of the summer. It’s gonna be epic.”