Gary Holt of Exodus and Kirk Hammett of Metallica are among the most elite guitarists in thrash and, as an interview with Metal hammer, the two have already spent an entire summer doing LSD and unlocking their true six-string powers, learning a lot in this single seasonal time.
Holt, whose focus is now fully back on Exodus and their new album, Persona non grata, after Slayer retired in late 2019, remembered the first Bay Area thrash scene, of which his band was the undisputed champion. “Absolutely. I’ll take it. We created the violent scene,” Holt said when asked if there would have been a first thrash scene without Exodus.
He and Hammett were teammates in Exodus before the latter was called up to Metallica’s service after the group fired Dave Mustaine in 1983 and the two have remained close friends to this day. Hammett even made a guest appearance and played lead guitar on “Salt the Wound” on the Exodus record in 2014, Blood coming in, blood coming out.
But after Hammett joined Metallica, there was some friendly rivalry between his current and former bands, as Holt relayed to Metal hammer, telling the story of the last time Exodus served as the opening act for Metallica’s rise in 1985.
Holt confessed that the first time he saw Metallica, “it was like looking at himself in a mirror” as the two were the only true acts of thrash amid the early days of this legendary Bay Area scene. “Everyone was shooting at us, but no one could take us,” said the guitarist.
Offering an example, Holt continued, “The last time we played a real show with Metallica, it was a New Years Eve show.  to Bill Graham’s Civic, and we trampled them in the dust. We were lost after the show, and James [Hetfield] laughed and said, “Haha, this is the last time you will support us.” And that was the last time we supported Metallica. “
Despite Hammett’s departure from Exodus, which drove Holt “crazy for a minute,” there are plenty of positive memories regarding their friendship. One summer in particular was quite memorable, as the leader of Exodus recalled: “Kirk Hammett and I spent a whole summer taking acid,” recalls Holt. “We would sell old jazz records or whatever his father had left at home and go buy a pack of 12 beers and a purple microdot. [of acid] or whatever. We loved our psychedelics. We learned a lot about the guitar with LSD. “
Exodus’ new record is released on November 19 and, so far, three songs – “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)”, “Clickbait” and “The Years of Death and Dying” – have all been released. They will be on the road in North America with Testament and Death Angel next year at these stops.