Exodus interview with Zetro

Exodus certainly doesn’t need an introduction. For more than 30 years they have not only influenced but created the thrash metal genre. Last year has seen the band releasing another strong album. This time around with the help of band mate Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza who re-joined the band after a 10-year break. Here is what Steve had to say about being back in the band, the new album and the upcoming Soundwave Festival shows in Australia.

Marc: Last year has been quite exciting for you. After a 10-year break you are back with Exodus. How does it feel to be back with the boys again and record a new album and be on tour again?

Zetro: Like it was in the beginning but better this time. There’s no girls, there’ no drugs, there’s no booze, just straight rock’n’roll now, man. We’re on stage every night kicking ass. It’s great to be back with the guys. I’m very excited. I was excited to record the new record. On the few adventures we’ve been on – it’s seven months now – we’ve been in the US with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies and we played in South America in the whole month of October. After we’ve been recording the new record we’ve been kicking ass right along.

Marc: The new album ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ is out now for a few months. You’ve been playing it on the road a fair bit already. How does the new material work for you on stage?

“They better be ready because we’re gonna make those pits work hard.”

Zetro: It works great. I love the songs. They are awesome. I’m so proud of that album. Coming back to the old songs it’s great too. The fan response to the new songs is awesome. We’re all very, very excited. All of us. When we go on stage everybody is having a great time. It’s really fun, really, really cool. It’s the best time for all of us.

Marc: One of the big changes is that Gary is very busy with his work with Slayer. Has that changed anything for you in Exodus? Is it a problem for you when he has to do two sets a night?

Zetro: It’s hard for him a little bit. Yeah, it is a problem. We’re all getting a bit older. He did a six-song set with us, that was about 30 minutes. Then Suicidal Tendencies did a 45-minute set and a 15 minute break.  He had about an hour before he had to go back on and do another hour and a half with Slayer. That’s been ok. Later when Slayer put out a new record we may have to put on a new player to do some shows with us so that we can do more touring because he is going to be very busy with Slayer. We are going to discuss that very much in behind us. We haven’t crossed that bridge so that’s why we’re not quite sure yet.

Marc: How did the recording and song writing work for you when you came back? You are around for more than three decades, you are very experienced, a very mature band.

“We are Exodus. We’ve got a lot to do.”

Zetro: I only wrote ‘Body Harvest’. I mean I came in late in the process. The rest of the record was already written. As you said we are older, we are doing this forever. We know what to do. We’re not new people to the business. We are very in tune with what we do. I did six records with Exodus but I did two with Dublin Death Patrol, one with Tenet, two with Hatriot. You know I do so much stuff. I’ve been on records that you don’t even know. I do so much work that going to the studio is a piece of cake.

Marc: Now you are well and truly into your touring cycle. In a few weeks’ time you are going to be in Australia for the Soundwave festivals. What can your Australian fans expect from the Soundwave shows?

Zetro: Pure straight fucking mayhem. They better be ready because we’re gonna make those pits work hard. We are looking forward to this. We’ve already been given great information about Soundwave. Gary did shows with Slayer there and our manager Chuck Billy played there with Testament. They said the Australian fans kick ass. You have to play hard. It’s a great festival. I can’t wait. I’m really excited.

Marc: The exciting things go about Soundwave this year is that it is a two-day festival. That means you’re gonna have the chance to play in front of even more fans.

Zetro: That sounds awesome. It think that will work perfectly.

Marc: What are your touring plans for the rest of 2015?

Zetro: We go to Japan. We come back from Japan and three days later we play the US for five weeks. Then after having off four days we start Europe for five weeks.

Marc: Have you booked any of the summer festivals?

Zetro: Oh yeah, we are at Grasspop, Hellfest, Sweden Rock and there’s more to come. There are also a couple of smaller ones we’re gonna do. So, yeah we’re playing quite a few festivals over there.

Marc: Where does your nickname Zetro come from?

Zetro: When I was 14 I took an LSD trip, acid you know. I was walking down the street for like five hours and I didn’t think anything. Then I started thinking Z. Then I was Z for like five years and then some guy started calling me Zetro, sort of like calling me Jethro but it was Zetro. So that’s where that came from. That was probably 1980. That was a long time ago. Amazing, huh?

Marc:  When you release one of your albums do you have a routine on that actual day?

Zetro: It’s business as usual but I go buy it. I physically buy it in a store. I actually go to a record store and buy it. That’s what I do every time. It’s not nerve-wrecking for me. I am very happy to take the business as it is. I understand how it works and how fortunate I am to be doing it for how long I have. It has ups and downs like everything has.

Marc: Obviously you’re gonna be very busy touring for the rest of the year. Have you already started thinking about the next album?

Zetro: We’re just three and a half months into touring for the new record. We haven’t even talked about a new album yet. I’m sure we’re gonna – and I hate to use the word – milk the album for a couple of years. It think the album has a lot of longevity. It is a great record. It’s in tune with a lot of the older songs that we can play. I think it’s gonna be great. We are very proud of it. There are so many great elements to it from Kirk Hammett to Chuck Billy singing on it. The songs are very solid. So I think we’re gonna have good longevity with it. It’s got a lot of attention. We are Exodus. We’ve got a lot to do.

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