As BLABBERMOUTH.NET exclusively reported on June 13, long-running San Francisco Bay Area thrashers EXODUS have now officially confirmed the departure of guitarist Rick Hunolt. Guitarist Gary Holt's statement on the matter — as posted on the group's official forum — reads as follows:
"First, let me apologize for my absence here at the board. But one must forgive me for having to make an album, spend the summer with my kids, packing up all my shit and moving, and not wanting to jump into answering questions that I know I'll be asked a thousand times over in the coming months. Simply put, I needed space.
"First, on the subject of deleting Rick's posts, I have taken down one, and only one , post of his. This was told to him in a phone conversation, due to the fact that we did not want the label to hear it first on Blabbermouth. They deserve to hear it from us. I told Rick I had saved it and would re-post it when I was ready to make a statement. When his departure had become public knowledge I had messaged our [moderator] and told him to allow any talk about it. It was out in the open so let it ride. It seems Rick thinks I am still deleting his posts but in fact I have not been on the board for weeks. So maybe some kind of signals have gotten crossed, but Rick is always welcome to post here. So here is Rick's post for you:
[Rick Hunolt's statement regarding his departure from EXODUS:]
"22 years… Wow, that's longer than a lot of you have been alive.
"I'm sitting here writing this post and the last 22 years are racing through my head like you wouldn't believe. From the drive to Gary's house the first time I ever played with EXODUS in Gary's moms garage, my very first gig at Wolfgang's with LOUDNESS, all the gigs at Ruthies, The Mab, The Stone, The Kabuki, etc., etc., etc., they just go on and on and on. I feel so fortunate to be a part of something that started out as some guys playing their guitars as fast as we could, to say, playing in front of 80,000 people at Dynamo and touring all over the world doing what we loved to do.
"Words cant describe the emotions I am feeling right now. One minute I am laughing the next I am sobing like a little baby. This is by far the most difficult decision I have ever had to make, bar none. But I look over to my right and see my two little boys — Odin, 3, and John, 16 months — sleeping and I know it is the right one. I just can't see myself being away from them anymore, I just can't. EXODUS deserves 110 percent from me and I just can't give them that anymore. My boys need me.
"Like I said, this is the hardest decision I have ever had to make, and it is breaking my heart. I am crying so hard right now I can barely see what I am typing.
"I don't know in words how to show my appreciation to every one that has supported me in the last 22 years. God, if I had to list them, it would reach from S.F. to N.Y.
"To all of the people that have helped us over the past two decades (you know who you are), we seriously couldn't have survived without you. And to the fans that I have cherished with all of my heart, thank you for 22 years of incredible memories, and as I always said, you were EXODUS — we were just five guys playing the music that we loved. And to the band, you were my heart and soul for a long time we had some great times and played some great shows. I know you will find a shredder to replace me and I wish him the best of luck.
"And finally, I would like to say to my brother, Gary Holt — my partner in crime, my best friend who I love and respect with all of my heart — you've put up with my sometimes flakey ways and everything else, you have always been there for me Gary, and you deserve more than I can give right now. We have jumped every hurdle that they could throw at us and we still kept going. We were the H Team and no one can take that away from us. We made our mark in history, [and] that I am very proud of. The new material is killer and I hope the new album does well, but it is time to hang up my axe for now my boys need me."
"Much love and respect, Rick Hunolt" [End of Rick Hunolt's statement]
"[Gary Holt's message continues:] I have nothing but the utmost love for Rick Hunolt and fully understand why he left. His boys need him. He could not give the band what we needed out of him, time- and commitment-wise, and he knew it. Meanwhile, I still have a job to do. And while Rick will be missed by all of us, this album is an achievment in heaviness. My own silence on the subject was due to the fact that I had decided to let the music do the talking. Everyone pays lip service to how heavy their next record is, and they rarely live up to the hype. All I can say is listen and you will believe. I have played this record for some very devastated fans and they left 100 percent convinced. It is a motherfucker like no other. And we will be making our official announcement about our new guitarist soon.
"So, I am off to finish packing and moving but I promise that I will return shortly to answer your questions and shit, just like I always have. Unless that is you've forgotten which band member (and I include all of them) was the one who was always here in the first place.
"Hope to see you all on our upcoming tours."
As previously reported, EXODUS have set "Shovel Headed Kill Machine" as the title of their upcoming album, due on October 5 via Nuclear Blast Records. Recorded at Trident studios in Pacheco, California and mixed by Andy Sneap (MACHINE HEAD, ARCH ENEMY), the follow-up to 2004's "Tempo of the Damned" is the band's first to feature ex-SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph and new singer Rob Dukes.