San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans EXODUS on Sunday (June 8) announced the departure of their singer of the past nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of his predecessor, Steve "Zetro" Souza.
Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004, told MetalRecusants.com about his return to the band: "A lot went into my decision. They [EXODUS] have got great management now with Chuck Billy [TESTAMENT], they really got it together. A lot of it was enticing to me and it makes great sense to [my other band] HATRIOT. Those guys [HATRIOT] are nearly as excited as me. They know we might have to sit for a minute but we're still working on songs [for the third HATRIOT album] and stuff."
Souza also confirmed that he will pull "double duty" for the foreseeable future, splitting his time between EXODUS and HATRIOT, which also features his sons Nick Souza (drums) and Cody Souza (bass). He said: "[EXODUS guitarist and main songwriter Gary Holt is] in SLAYER. What am I gonna do when he's [on the road with those guys]? They told me not to quit [HATRIOT], and I was, like, I'm not. I'm not gonna shelve everything we [HATRIOT] have worked for. I'm not. I'm like Corey Taylor now [who is splitting his time between SLIPKNOT and STONE SOUR]. You know, we're writing the new HATRIOT album right now and it will be out next year guaranteed."
Asked about the possibility of a tour featuring SLAYER, EXODUS and HATRIOT, Zetro said: "I don't know about something like that. We need to take this in baby steps. I'm not gonna force anybody to piggyback. I believe the management understands how I feel about that band [SLAYER], my band [HATRIOT] and being in EXODUS. They've seen I've kept to the program with Gary being in SLAYER. You can work double duties, so we'll see what happens. But you know me, I can do it."
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).
Holt stated about the decision to re-hire Zetro: "The lines of communication with the band and Steve are the strongest they've ever been. All things have been discussed — the past, present and future going forward.
"Steve will start [recording] vocals [for the new EXODUS CD] on Wednesday and the small sampling I have of him on the new songs is fucking amazing. His best shit ever is coming. Be prepared, it's going to kill."
EXODUS' next live appearance is scheduled for July 11 at the Bang Your Head!!! festival in Balingen, Germany.
Souza left EXODUS ten years ago on the eve of the band's South American headlining tour in September 2004 over what was described as long-standing business and personal differences. Holt subsequently issued a statement calling Souza "human crap" for pulling out the trek "only about twenty-four hours before were ready to leave." He added, "Yes, he did a killer job on the [then-latest] album [2004's 'Tempo Of The Damned'], but mainly because we did not allow him to fuck everything up with his stupid Bon Scott impersonations anymore. We made him sing more like [previous vocalist Paul] Baloff. I tried to make it work. More than you can imagine. But he was (is) the most miserable pile of crap to be around."
After Souza made it clear in several interviews in 2011 that he wanted his old EXODUS job back, Holt — who has been pulling double duty with SLAYER for the past four and a half years — said: "I have nothing against Zetro; really, I don't. I consider him a friend, but the lobbying through the press for people to convince me to give him his job back just got under my skin, because Rob is NOT a placecard holder in EXODUS, he's our singer.
"Zetro's place in EXODUS history is solid, he made some great records with us, and had a good run with the band. But this is now, not then, and we do not plan on throwing away what we have to go back in time."