EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt has defended the way the band fired its lead singer of the past nine years, Rob Dukes, saying that "much time" was spent mulling the decision before the final move was made.
EXODUS on June 8 announced the departure of Dukes and the return of his predecessor, Steve "Zetro" Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
In a recent interview with Australia's "Blood, Sweat And Metal" podcast, Dukes said that he had not talked to any of his former bandmates in EXODUS about his departure from the band. "I haven't spoken with anyone but [drummer] Tom [Hunting]," Rob explained. "Tom called me… He called me and said, 'We're gonna go on with a different singer. We're gonna be going with Zet.' And that was it. It was about a 20-second phone call. And that was really all I got. That's it."
Holt — who has been pulling double duty with SLAYER for the past four and a half years — denied that EXODUS handled the dismissal of Dukes in an insensitive manner, saying "There were the calls to Rob preceding this, [so] how long should the final call be?
"20 seconds was not all this involved.
"[While I was] in Europe [with SLAYER, I] pretty much got the rundown on everything as we went through this."
He added: "Much time was spent on this."
Holt also shot down Internet speculation that the split with Dukes was motivated by financial reasons or that it was masterminded by EXODUS' new so-manager, TESTAMENT vocalist Chuck Billy, who co-founded the management company Breaking Bands LLC. "It isn't for the money [and] Chuck did not orchestrate this," Holt said. "There were issues behind the scenes and we came to a conclusion." The guitarist, however, refused to go into the details of EXODUS' decision to part ways with Dukes, explaining: "All will remain internal. I see no need to air the laundry for anyone."
Holt, who previously said that the decision to fire Rob and re-hire Zetro "was the most difficult decision of our lives, one the entire band made," was once again full of praise for EXODUS' former frontman, saying: "I wish nothing but the best for Rob, [and I] have nothing but love for the man. He will be a force for a long time and I am proud of him and how he went from a dude with a pink mohawk to a vicious thrash vocalist. He is a killer singer and we have total respect for him and love the music we made together."
Dukes joined EXODUS in January 2005 and appeared on four of the band's studio albums — "Shovel Headed Kill Machine" (2005), "The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A" (2007), "Let There Be Blood" (2008, a re-recording of EXODUS' classic 1985 LP, "Bonded By Blood") and "Exhibit B: The Human Condition" (2010).
Dukes has released two studio albums with his GENERATION KILL project, 2011's "Red White And Blood" and 2013's "We're All Gonna Die".