EXODUS frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza has told The Metal Mixtape in a new interview that he and his bandmates are no longer partaking in the rock and roll debauchery on the road that earned them a reputation as being “wild men” during the group’s early years. “As we’ve gotten older, it’s just that natural progression,” he explained (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist] and I are 57, so we’re both grandfathers. So that’s not a part of our lifestyle anymore. I haven’t had alcohol in my system for years. I don’t drink soda or juice or anything; I just drink water. We cleaned that up a hundred percent. So the performances are much more clear; they’re much more memorable. And when you go up there, it’s all about the performance now. It’s not about, ‘Oh, shit, man. What’s going on after tonight? We’ve got a bunch of broads in here. I can’t wait to get offstage and pop a beer and go out and mingle and have a good time.’ It’s not like that anymore, and I mean not even close — it’s completely 180 [degrees] the other way.”
He continued: “There’s really nothing going on. There’s definitely no parties going on. There’s nobody running around girls. Like I said, we’re grandfathers — that shit doesn’t happen anymore. Nobody’s doing drugs; we don’t do drugs. So the hardest thing that’s going on is a couple of beers, a couple of shots, and between a few guys. ‘Cause Gary, Jack [Gibson, EXODUS bassist] and myself don’t drink. Gary is just recently sober. I haven’t drank since ’09; Jack, I think, a little bit after that. Every once in a while, we’ll be at a place and [someone will say], ‘Oh, man, you’ve gotta try this beer,’ and I’ll have a glass of beer. I don’t mind having a taste, but there’s no way I’m gonna sit there and go, ‘Dude, let’s just go.’ It’s just not where I’m at mentally.”
Last month, Holt told the “Talk Toomey” podcast that various members of EXODUS dabbling in methamphetamine was largely responsible for the band not achieving the same kind of success as some of their contemporaries.
“When four-fifths of your band — Jack being the only guy who wasn’t — was spun out of their minds, it kind of tends to put up some road blocks to success,” he said. “I laugh about it now. Any former tweaker will tell you this: There are some fun moments, some fun shit that happens when you’re sleep-deprived. But I’m so glad [that it’s behind me]. I never [wanna] go back there.”
According to Gary, drugs weren’t “a big problem” for EXODUS back in the 1980s. “We partied. Back in the early days, we’d get a little bag of meth and the whole band would function on it all night. It was in the ’90s when we reunited with [singer Paul] Baloff, and that’s when we got really fucking spun and started smoking meth,” he explained. “And shit got bad then. It fucking sucked. But I laid that cross to bear on the ground a long time ago — 2002. Hell, I’m 90 days sober today. [Laughs] I’m no fun at all anymore — no more meth, no more alcohol. I do smoke a little bit of weed nowadays though. It’s much better. It’s only an occasional thing for me, though. My wife’s a full-on stoner, and occasionally I’ll join her, like, ‘Hand me that.'”
EXODUS will release its new album, “Persona Non Grata”, on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap. For the third time in the band’s history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.
“Persona Non Grata” is the follow-up to 2014’s “Blood In Blood Out”, which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers’ first release since the departure of the group’s lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.