EXODUS Guitarist GARY HOLT: 'I'm Relieved That RICK HUNOLT Is Gone'

Germany's Terrorverlag recently conducted an interview with EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Terrorverlag: It was [reported] in the media that [former EXODUS drummer] Tom Hunting was ill, but nothing was said about whether he would return to the band again. I mean, is that an option for you to drop Paul Bostaph and get Tom Hunting back into the band when he has recovered?

Gary Holt: "No. And I say that not to be harsh to Tom, but it's not fair to the guy to have put in all the work and, you know, done everything that he could possibly be asked, and then to have the spectre of their, like, imminent replacement hanging over their head... It's like: these are the guys that are here, these are the guys that put in the work, these are the guys that deserve to be in this band. And Tom... you know, as I said: it sounds harsh, but Tom will never do this again. He is in a whole different place. He still even hasn't gotten to the point where he is really opening up about the issues that are bothering him. He had told everybody who would listen except for myself, that he didn't want to do this anymore, and didn't feel he could do it anymore. And not to mention, you know, that his mother told me that he had been starting to have moral issues with the music, and that he had been speaking to a pastor, you know, a preacher which... You know, I love Tom, but it's like: everybody knows my views on Christianity. And I have no morals. So if you have moral issues being in this band, then it's the wrong place for you."

Terrorverlag: In Rick's [Hunolt, former EXODUS guitarist] post [announcing his decision to leave the band] it was said that the reason for his departure was that he wanted to be more with his family and his kids...

Gary Holt: "Well, that's what he had told us. And those are two very good reasons for him. Because his children need him — but not because, 'Oh, I just miss my kids!' because the other half of the parental unit in that household is very unstable. And Rick may be a drug addict, and he may be a flake, but he loves those kids to death. And I can't say the same for the other parent. And so, when we're on tour Rick is a mess sometimes, because he doesn't know whether they're being taking care of. So he does need to stay home. I told him before, if I was in his position with my children being left in that kind of a situation that I would do a number of things. I would quit the band, I'd get clean off drugs, I'd get a good job and I would get custody of my children. Well, he chose, in Rick's world, just quitting the band is enough. Now I don't want Rick to be the sixth close friend of mine in the last fifteen years to bury. All due to drugs. I mean, many people I know, don't know one person that died of drugs, and I know five. And they were all like some of my greatest friends. And I don't want him to be number six. But, you know, being a recovered user myself — this may sound harsh as well — but I'm relieved that Rick's gone. Only because when you quit doing drugs you have to get all of that lifestyle out of your life. I have friends I've known my whole life since grade school that I have not seen since I became clean, because they're not. Yet I was forced to do this business, this band, to be like in constant contact with like one person that was high all the time. And it makes me very uncomfortable. Not that I think I relapse, but, you know, no former drug user wants to look at one of their closest friends in the eye and just know they're just loaded out of their minds."

Terrorverlag: Those are very open words, Gary.

Gary Holt: "It's like, I don't hide anything. I mean, I've always told everybody that, you know, 'Look, I'm honest about all my drug use!' The only dishonesty that ever came out of my mouth the last two years was covering up for Rick. You know, it's like, people ask, 'Now that the band is drug-free…' and all that — and like, 'Yeah, it's great!' But all the while, the night before Rick had, you know, the tour started and he was totally dopesick because he didn't have any drugs, you know. And I love him to death, but I'm just not gonna lie for anybody anymore. I don't lie about myself, you know."

Terrorverlag: Have you ever tried to talk him out of that, to convince him to get away from drugs? Reading his statement on the official web site almost brought tears to my eyes, because it obviously must have been hard for him to make that decision to leave EXODUS.

Gary Holt: "I know it was hard for him. And I wish him nothing but the best, but the on thing that Rick would have to admit to anybody who asked him is that I've done nothing for two and a half years, but try to help him. I mean, I've given the gentle, soft speeches, and you know, one day he told me, 'Man, you're good at this. You should do this for a living!' You know, drug counsellor. And I told him, 'I'm not that good at it, because it's not working. If I was that good at it, you'd listen!' But, you know, some people just don't want to be helped. And I would still be there for Rick anytime, even not being a member of this band. If he really chose that he wanted to quit and needed some guidance and a sober support group — I'm there for him anytime! That's my biggest concern, because in Rick's life and his world we were the only non-drug users there to try to stir him to the straight and narrow, you know. And now that he's not in the band, he's surrounded by nothing but users. And where is that gonna get you? When you don't even have anybody to hide it from. And that's what he did is he tried to hide his use from us. But it's like, I tell him, 'You know, you're kidding! I did this shit for fuckin' years. I can look you right in the eye and know your high, because you won't look me in the eye!' That's like being an ex-alcoholic and someone is trying to hide the fact that they're drunk. It's kind of hard. You know, I wish him nothing but the best, I love him, he is like one of my best friends. But things have gotten to the point in the band where the tender, gentle lectures were starting to become a little more harsh. And drug users don't like being faced with confrontation. And I think that has something to do with his deciding to quit — because he didn't like the fact that we were starting to get into his face about it."

Terrorverlag: So, that's it for my favorite guitar tag-team...

Gary Holt: "You know, I never ever envisioned it to be anything BUT. But, you know, if the alternative is like the end of this band, I'm not gonna let it happen, because I work way too hard on this."

Read the entire interview at www.musik.terrorverlag.de.

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