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EXODUS STEVE ZETRO SOUZA INTERVIEW 2014

HARD ROCK INTERVIEWS 2014 - EXODUS VOCALIST - STEVE 'ZETRO'

With the return of Steve "Zetro" Souza on vocals and the release of one of the year's best metal albums, it was only inevitable that Bay Area thrashers and outright legends Exodus would be the band to watch in 2014 and 2015. They are set to return to Australia in 2015 joining the Soundwave Festival and so we caught up with the man himself, Zetro to discuss the tour and the killer new album "Blood In, Blood Out".


Andrew: So first of all how does it feel to be back in Exodus?

 

Steve: Excited! It's like coming home to the mothership so yeah very excited, I love the new record that I was able to play on. It was a lot of fun and so yeah we're excited! We're excited to come to Australia and kick everybody in Australia in the ass!

 

Andrew: Yeah I just saw the announcement a few days ago. It's unbelievable that you guys are on the Soundwave Festival bill. What can we expect on this tour from you guys?

 

Steve: Complete and sheer utter violence! That's all I can say.

 

Andrew: Haha!

 

Steve: Expect a thrash metal pit, expect it all. I mean it, we're coming hard! We are gonna kick everybody in Australia in the goddam face.

 

Andrew: It's going to be unbelievable, I think you guys are going to kick maximum ass. The festival is great and it's good to see you guys on there so is there any chance that you guys will be doing any sideshows inbetween the festival dates?

 

Steve: I heard there's 2 but I'm not quite sure where there at. I was told because there's 4 festival dates and 6 shows total so I know we're doing 2 sidewaves and I don't know where we're doing those at.

Andrew: As far as preferences go, do you prefer the festival type gigs or do you prefer the club shows?

 

Steve: I do like the festivals, I think you reach more people with the festival but then again I like to hit the clubs as well because the clubs, they are right in your face. We finished a tour on Sunday night and we were just on tour with Slayer and Suicidal (Tendencies) and there was a couple of gigs that we did on our own and Sunday night they were on stage doing stage diving, going crazy. So that was quite fun that night.

 

Andrew: With Suicidal Tendencies who are an amazing band, the kind of shows you can expect with them must be amazing!

 

Steve: Yeah Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus on one show so it was definitely the show of the year as far as the American tour. Definitely the heaviest tour so it was pretty cool.

 

Andrew: So when was the last time you had personally come to Australia?

 

Steve: I've never been to Australia and Exodus first time to Australia was in 2010 and that was when they had Rob (Dukes) singing for them so I've never been. I'm an Australia virgin, I'll be coming out of nowhere, it's going to be great!

 

Andrew: Ah so first time!

 

Steve: And tell all the fucking Australia rules football guys and the rugby guys they're gonna get their fucking comebacks, bringing them in the pits on the Toxic Waltz! I wanna do that shit!

Andrew: Haha! OK so aside from Aussie rules football what else do you know about Australia?

 

Steve: You guys were once the biggest country of criminals ever in the world. Criminals uaually equal the heavy metal fans so that knda helps out. Na it's great come on! Olivia Newton John, AC/DC, what are you talking about? Everyone knows Australia! The biggest rock band in the world came out of there so we know about Australia. We're excited to come and finally get over there and hang out. It's great because you guys speak the same language as we do so we don't have to translate it or nothing so it's really cool, we love that. I'm excited to come over for a barbecue and hang out and see the country, it's gonna be a blast! I'm looking forward to it.

 

Andrew: I remember on the "Tempo Of The Damned" album you covered the "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" song. I'm guessing you guys will play that when you come down here?

 

Steve: Maybe, we're going to talk about that because it is AC/DC and Australia we may do that. But also on "Fabulous Disaster" we did "Overdose".

 

Andrew: Oh yeah that's right so you got other stuff to choose from then.

 

Steve: There's a couple of songs we might be able to pull up. We're excited, we're looking forward to it for sure. So yeah because of the Australian roots of AC/DC and that we do play AC/DC songs, I'm sure that's going to be an option.

 

Andrew: As far as setlists, what songs have you been playing? Have you been playing more older stuff or a lot of the newer stuff?

 

Steve: We've played some of the "Blood In, Blood Out", we've actually played songs off the last 3 records as well and then all the classics. There's a good string of songs that we do play for the set over from Exodus history.

Andrew: The fans reaction seeing you on stage must be tremendous!

 

Steve: Yeah it's kinda cool, it's like one of those things 'seeing as you have returned a 3rd time!', it's kinda cool to see that ironic and unique situation. But I'm not going anywhere, I'm here for the duration and here for the long haul so I'll be here for a while.

 

Andrew: That's good to hear! So let's chat a little bit about the new album "Blood In, Blood Out", we did a review of that album before it came out and it's an unbelievable album, really great! And your voice is just perfect for that album. I know you came in a little after most of the songs had already been written but was there any kind of input that you personally had in the songs at all like lyrics or song arrangements or was it all done and done when you came in?

 

Steve: Everything was done and done, all I did was write the words to "Body Harvest". Actually I wrote it along with Jack (Gibson, bass) and Lee (Altus, guitars). There was 1 song that needed lyrics and that was the only one I contributed to. Pretty much all the vocal lines was all written, I just had to cut it, go in and perform it.

 

Andrew: So how did you go into it when you first started singing on the album. Did you try and remember how you used to sing or did you try something different? How did you go about doing it?

 

Steve: I just went in there and just became Zetro, just go in there and do Zetro. That's all I do on every record that I do. I don't try and think about it, I just go in and I try to put my voice to how I hear the music. If the music is ferocious I try to take a higher pitch, if it's more low and grindy then I might take a more evil demon pitch. I'm trying to listen to it and put my voice to where I think it's going to work best.

 

Andrew: And that's always worked for you in all the albums you have been on?

 

Steve: That's how I do it, it's more or less a forumla I take. When you're working with Gary Holt it's kinda the same way, I don't have to think about it much. We both know what we want and he does what he wants with me so that's why it works out really well.

 

Andrew: How was it working with Gary again after all these years?

 

Steve: It's great, I love it! Are you kidding me? He brings the best out of me, he knows what he's doing, that's why I trust him. He wouldn't be in Slayer if he didn't know what he was doing.

Andrew: Yeah that's right. Is his time with Slayer taking a bit of time away from Exodus or are you guys focusing on Exodus right now?

 

Steve: No he's working double time double hard, he wants both bands to be... he's very concerned about the other 4 of us and making sure we are taken care of as well. Then he's going to Slayer and also Exodus and making money and surviving and taking care of business and going out and playing and stuff. You gotta give him hats off and respect for looking out after us, I think that's cool. So he's definitely into both bands.

 

Andrew: That's awesome to hear. Gary is an amazing guitarist and to see him do 2 legendary bands like that, it's unbelievable.

 

Steve: Exactly, that's the way I look at it. It's not just 2 bands but 2 legends. I mean how are you gonna talk about that, the man deserves to be in both because he's the real deal. Anybody will tell you that, Kirk Hammett, Scott Ian, Dave Mustaine, they will all tell you Gary Holt is the real deal.

 

Andrew: Speaking of Kirk Hammett, he appears on one of the songs on the album "Salt The Wound", did you get to work with him at all?

 

Steve: No I wasn't here that day. He came in and I guess from what I understand because it was recorded on the goat ranch, we recorded it at Tom's (Hunting, drums) - he lives out on a goat ranch - and we recorded it there and from what I understand Kirk just came in one day and they all had a barbecue, hotdogs and chicken and hamburgers and he came in and riffed out a real quick one. It was kinda cool that everybody said the vibe was really killer, the lead came out great.

 

Andrew: So as far as the new album is concerned, how many songs off it have you been playing on tour so far?

 

Steve: Actually we're only playing a couple because we don't get too much time with Slayer and Suicidal so we played 2 of them but we plan on pretty much playing 4 when we come over there, probably 4 off "Blood In Blood Out".

 

Andrew: OK cool and the fans are reacting to it pretty good?

 

Steve: Yeah they love it, it's great! The way we deliver it it's really violent, it's really heavy, it totally rocks from top to bottom. We're really excited with it, we're excited that the fans love it too.

 

Andrew: It's one of the best albums Exodus has put out I think.

 

Steve: It's my favorite.

 

Andrew: I can't wait to see you guys perform some of those songs when you come over to Australia next year. Hearing songs on an album is always different to hearing songs live but do you guys play it exactly as you recorded it or do you change things here and there?

 

Steve: I think when I'm singing them you can't tell the difference. I try to make it sound like the record, I've always loved the bands that bring it live but they make it sound just like the album. I like that.

 

Andrew: So just before we wrap things up there's a couple of questions that we try to ask everyone. The first one which may have something to do with your influences, if you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album in history, what would it be?

 

Steve: Led Zeppelin - IV

 

Andrew: Why that album?

 

Steve: That was the album when I was 8 years old that got me into hard rock and heavy metal. That was the first tme I heard that type of music. The only music I was exposed to when I was 8 years old at the time was obviously top 40 music in the 70's, stuff like Osmon Brothers and Jackson 5. So when I heard that, that was the first thing. I would love to be a fly on the wall for the recording of that album.

 

Andrew: Awesome! As far as main influences, who inspired you most to become a singer?

 

Steve: Bon Scott, Lemmy, Johnny Rotten, Robert Plant, Ted Nugent. All of those guys, they all had something to do with it. Even down the list Freddie Mercury, Rob Halford...I could go on. So many people are influences on me on what I do vocally. I would have say Bon Scott is definitely the first and foremost.

 

Andrew: Yeah I was going to say because when you did the covers, your voice is remarkably similar to Bon Scott's voice.

 

Steve: I actually have my own AC/DC tribute that I do in the Bay Area. Will Carroll from Death Angel is my drummer, it's a lot of fun. He and I act like Angus, it's a blast!

 

Andrew: Ah OK cool! And for you what is the meaning of life?

 

Steve: I'm gonna steal it from Spinal Tap. Have a good time all the time!

 

Andrew: Haha that's a good philosophy! So as I said it's going to be awesome when you guys come over here next year, I think Exodus is going to absolutely kill so thanks for taking the time to chat, it's been a pleasure!

 

Steve: Thank you, I'll see you over in Australia!

 

 

Steve spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe December 2014

 

 

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