Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF 101.1 FM radio station recently conducted an interview with SLAYER and EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt. You can listen to the entire using the audio player below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether any musicians from the Detroit area influenced his guitar playing:
Gary: “Certainly Ted Nugent is one of my guitar heroes. One of the guys who made me want to pick up a guitar. I’ve seen him so many times live and he just was bigger than life. He’s still one of my favorite guitarists even if I don’t always agree with what comes out of his fucking mouth, but I love what comes out of his hands. I have no problem separating the two, like a lot of people, are like ‘I don’t agree with someone’s politics, I’m not listening to their music anymore.’ You want to take my ‘Double Live Gonzo!’, you have to pry it from my cold dead hands. [Laughs]”
On the theatrical element of SLAYER‘s current tour:
Gary: “It’s like a fucking nuclear war. Certainly a large… a lot of cannon fire, if not atomic bombs. Some howitzers, for sure… It’s fucking hot up there. There’s a lot of fire going on, and I like it. As a kid, when you’re first playing guitar and first writing a song, every song had pyro in your head. You envision stuff blowing up and fire and flash pots and all that stuff. As a grown man, I’m almost in my mid-’50s, I still feel like a kid when the fire goes off.”
On what he’s learned from being in SLAYER:
Gary: “I wouldn’t say I’ve learned anything I didn’t already know. We’ve been friends since we were kids. I’ve been in this business so long — there’s not much I didn’t already know. I could definitely fill many pages of books with the stuff that I’ve see and learned over the years, entire chapters on what not to do. It’s been fun. We’re just riding it until the final end date. It’s been a blast. The show is going to be sick. People are going to be blown away.”
On serving as the long-term replacement for deceased SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman:
Gary: “It was only supposed to be a short-term thing. I was taking a little break from the road when Kerry [King, guitar] called with what I thought would be a couple of months turned into about eight years, almost. Something like that. It’s been a crazy ride. I’m looking forward to doing another EXODUS album. When this is over, I’m going to get back into the studio.”
On the status of the next EXODUS studio album:
Gary: “I’ve been writing off and on for the last year, myself and Tom Hunting [drums]. The new material is epic. It’s whole next-level stuff. I’m looking forward to committing it to some recorded tracks.”
On whether he would ever write a book:
Gary: “I’ve had offers to write one. It’s like everyone is busy writing one; I think I could write a better one, but I’d probably have to piss a lot of people off to make it worth reading and I don’t want to do that. I’m not a burn-my-bridges kind of guy, but I know everything. I know everything about every band in my genre because people trust me and tell me shit. If I wrote a book and spilled it all, nobody would ever tell me anything, so I’ll just leave it like that.”
On his favorite SLAYER song to play live:
Gary: “It varies. Most people would automatically think ‘Angel Of Death’ or something like that, but I don’t know. I like some of the first album [‘Show No Mercy’] stuff: ‘Black Magic’, ‘Die By The Sword’, ‘Antichrist’.”
On the keys to his longevity and success:
Gary: “Write good music and treat people well. If you are a total jerk to people for a long time, you don’t survive the down periods and EXODUS went through down periods and we had to build it up back up and we succeeded. Treat people with respect as you would like to be treated and make killer music and do it because you love it and you’ll survive. That, and we came before the whole download era, so it’s a lot harder for bands now.”
This past January, SLAYER announced that it would do one last concert tour around the globe to thank their fans for all of their support over the years, for making the last three and a half decades so packed with good times and unforgettable experiences, and then move on.
The North American leg of SLAYER‘s “farewell” tour kicked off on May 10 in San Diego. Joining them on the trek is LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX, BEHEMOTH and TESTAMENT.
SLAYER has U.S. dates booked through August 26 at San Jose, California’s SAP Center. The band will embark on the European leg of its “farewell” tour in the fall. Support on the trek will come from LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX and OBITUARY.