Myglobalmind webzine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza of San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal veterans EXODUS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Myglobalmind: I want to take you back to the start. EXODUS were true thrash metal originators.
Zetro: We’re not considered one of the [so-called] “Big Four” [of 1980s thrash metal, which consists of METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX], and I hate that phrase. METALLICA is by far the biggest band in the world, so to put the other three in that category? No disrespect to MEGADETH, ANTHRAX or SLAYER; I love all of those bands, but I lived in the Bay Area when metal was being born, and everybody wanted to be like EXODUS. That goes from POSSESSED, LEGACY, DEATH ANGEL. It was not necessarily METALLICA, it was EXODUS. So, to me, that was the band that innovated and started it out.
Myglobalmind: Was there a lot of competition in those early days?
Zetro: Sure there was. I looked at it like everyone looked at it. I would have to say if you didn’t look at it like that, then you were not hungry enough to do this. You know what they say — only the strong survive. But I think it’s fresher now, and it’s a lot of fun now. I think back then, we were so worried about trying to be the number one like everybody was, you lose sight of everyone else and everything else. But now it’s like we pull for everybody like champions. We want to see everybody else succeed and make it, whereas before it was like, “I gotta notch myself up!”
Myglobalmind: In those early days, you were part of what was to become TESTAMENT.
Zetro: Oh, you mean LEGACY? If you look at the initial period, if you had to clock in, I would have to clock in around ’83. [METALICA‘s] “Kill ‘Em All” came out in ’83, [ANTHRAX‘s] “Fistful Of Metal” came out in ’83, but it was not a thrash record necessarily. Dave [Mustaine] came from METALLICA, so I would consider MEGADETH very much a thrash band, and SLAYER definitely was a thrash band from L.A. I remember SLAYER coming up to San Francisco the first time with the black paint around their eyes, and EXODUS told them to take it off. I wasn’t even in the band then, but even the SLAYER guys were, like; “This is how we have to be. We’ve gotta be like these guys.”
Myglobalmind: So EXODUS were at the year zero of thrash?
Zetro: Well, I think I would have to say so, and I lived it. I wasn’t even in the band then, so that’s why my point is when I was even in LEGACY, there would have been no other band in the world I would have left for but the grand example of the guys that I was trying to emulate.
Read the entire interview at Myglobalmind.