Former EXODUS singer Rob Dukes has admitted to Psychology Today that he was disappointed when guitarist and songwriter Gary Holt began playing with fellow thrash legends SLAYER eight years ago. While Holt did not officially leave EXODUS, Dukes felt that Holt's first priority was SLAYER, thus limiting the amount of touring that EXODUS could do.
"Gary was the center of EXODUS. And when SLAYER came calling, he abandoned EXODUS to join SLAYER — gave up his whole career, his job, a job he built from the ground up — and he left it in the hands of other people to join SLAYER," Dukes said. "To be in that band, that amazing band… I'm not judging the guy for that. But at the same time, you abandoned five friends who stood by you and toured with you for ten years."
Dukes also talked about his 2014 dismissal from EXODUS and the return of his predecessor, Steve "Zetro" Souza. Rob, who fronted EXODUS for nine years, believed that the move was a business decision that enabled the band to play shows for more money with a "classic" lineup.
"I think towards the end, it became about business," Dukes said. "And the business aspect got in the way of friendship… I took it personal. I didn't really give a fuck about the business aspect… I don't care about the money. I just wanted to play. I missed the camaraderie. I missed the nights on the bus driving from Spain to Italy. And me and Lee [Altus, guitar] and some of the boys just hanging out late and bullshitting and talking and listening to BLACK SABBATH and arguing about who was the best hockey players."
Making things worse was the fact that Dukes had just gotten married and had to figure out a new way to support his family.
"I had spent most of my savings relocating across the country and I had no job," he said. "Now I'm fucking 47 years old and I'm starting over. I was pissed. I wasn't walking around the house in a fucking rage… at home with my wife, I would put a smile on my face and tell her everything's going to be fine. But inside I was not only terrified — I was seething. If I didn't have a wife, there would have been no terror. I could fend for myself. But now I have obligations to another human being who I love and care about immensely — and just the week before I said I was going to spend my life with you. I'm going to take care of you in sickness and in health and all of that. Not being a good provider — that's the terrifying part. You have to remember this was only in my head — I wasn't talking to her about it. I should have. But I didn't because I didn't want her to live in fear. I wanted her to feel that things are going to be okay and that we're going to be fine. For about a year I was living in panic trying to make ends meet."
Before long, Dukes found work as a mechanic specializing in car restoration. He also took ownership over his role in the deterioration of his relationship with EXODUS and overcame his resentment.
Three years after he was fired from EXODUS, Dukes performed with the band during its July 8, 2017 concert in San Francisco, California. He sang several songs with the group on the second of EXODUS's two-night stint at The Chapel in what marked the band's first headlining Bay Area club shows since late 2013.
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).
Souza previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.