Gary Holt is a Thrash Metal legend! He has been the guitarist and principal songwriter in Exodus since 1980, and he is the only member of the band to play on every album. He also plays for Slayer as the late Jeff Hanneman’s replacement. Currently, both bands are touring together and Holt is pulling double duty. When you consider how many notes each of these groups plays per night, it is an impressive feat, to be sure.
Exodus was formed by and named by Kirk Hammett circa 1980. Holt joined shortly after the band was formed. The band has gone through many line-up changes which include a very talented cast of characters such as: the late Paul Baloff, John Tempesta (White Zombie, The Cult, Testament), Paul Bostaph (Forbidden, Slayer, Testament), Steve Souza (Dublin Death Patrol, Testament), Rick Hunolt, Lee Altus (Angel Witch) and, of course, the aforementioned Hammett (Metallica). But Holt has been the constant through the decades, and he is still the band leader and keeper of the flame. Exodus is well known for their insane live video ‘Toxic Waltz’ from 1989’s ‘Fabulous Disaster’ album - replete with moshing, stage diving, screaming electric guitars and absolute mayhem. This video was a staple on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. And diehard Thrash Metal fans still worship at the feet of the first album by Exodus, ‘Bonded By Blood’.
Slayer brought Holt onboard to fill in for Hanneman when Hanneman had health problems stemming from a freak spider bite. (read - Hanneman Sidelined here). Holt was the perfect man for the job. He cut his teeth touring alongside Slayer, being a fan of Slayer and becoming friends with the guys in Slayer. Also, because he can pretty much play any song ever written on guitar (kinda like Paul Schaffer or Warren Haynes). But the arrangement was meant to be temporary, until Hanneman recovered. When Hanneman died last year in May, 2013, (read - Hanneman Dead At Age 49), the group decided to continue touring with Holt. At this time, Holt still has yet to be formally added as a member of Slayer - time will tell on that one.
Gary Holt commented to Guitar World magazine about playing with both Exodus and Slayer:
“...my endurance is super-killer now because I've been playing with two bands, and I tend to not get much of a break. The muscles are certainly in top form and my hand strength is killer. But as far as chops go, I do come up with some occasional new shit here and there, because with SLAYER, I play a portion of the solos exactly like they're supposed to be played, but in some parts I improvise my ass off. At times I come up with some really cool stuff that I otherwise might not have thought of, but the chances of me remembering it a day later are slim to none. [Laughs] It's like, "Oh, that was really great, the thing I just did. But too bad I won't remember it tomorrow!"
Catch Holt perform with both Exodus and Slayer on their current tour which commences tomorrow (5/9/14) in Salt Lake City, UT. Also on the bill is Suicidal Tendencies, making this a 'dream come true' type of tour.
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