EXODUS’ GARY HOLT Almost A Year Sober: “I’m Playing The Best I’ve Ever Had”

EXODUS and KILLER guitarist Gary Holt celebrated his 333rd day of sobriety on Sunday, May 15. He wrote on his Instagram page: “Triple three today and I’ve never felt better.

“When I decided to quit drinking, I wondered if I would still be able to be a maniac on stage, would the rage lessen without a few beers to ‘chill’ me, to release the animal on stage? Not at all. II feel lucky I had a few warm-up gigs before the tour to adjust, but absolutely nothing has changed except that I’m playing the best I’ve ever had, my energy level never wanes at all, I have all the fury in the last song just like I do in the first, and I’m usually in bed by midnight! It’s AWESOME. And thanks to my wife @lisaholt777 for supporting me in this life change. I wish I had done this years ago. But when it’s time It’s time!

“Tonight, second night in Joliet! Bring it on”.

last fall, Holt spoke about his decision to quit drinking alcohol during an appearance on “Talking Bullshit”the monthly metal podcast hosted by ACID REIGN leader-turned-stand-up-comedian Howard H. Smith. At the time, the now 58-year-old musician, who resides in Northern California, said: “Like millions of people around the world, I have been a victim of the pandemic. While on tour, I always maintained and never hit the hangover stage. Maybe once during a five week tour I woke up with a bit of a headache, and that’s a night where we decided to have a disco party and started throwing some funk music and drinking a few extra beers, I would come home and only drink when I was watching sports or entertaining people – a few beers. I’d go out to a show and have a couple of beers. And then I’d find myself with nothing but free time. I live a bit in the woods now, and I’d sit outside — it’s beautiful, it’s there. summer, I’m surrounded by oak trees, and I would just start drinking. [I was] drinking, like, 12, 13 beers, and I was drinking these double, triple IPAs [with] 10, 11 percent alcohol. Because I’ve always been a beer snob; I would take out my glass for any beer I drank. And I got to the point where I got depressed when I drank; I was no longer happy. Because my whole livelihood had been taken away from me. I feel the same stress and tension as everyone else. So I thought, man, I quit smoking, I quit drugs years ago – almost 20 years ago – [so] I could live without alcohol. It’s not a big deal. I mean, I always drink non-alcoholic beers, and there are some really good ones. It’s the taste of beer that I would miss; I don’t miss the buzz. And it also has a strong placebo effect.”

When asked if he thought it would be harder for him to stay sober once he was back on tour, Holt said: “No, not at all. It doesn’t mean that I have a stronger will than anyone, but I don’t crave or feel any desire for alcohol. I’m a guy, when he stops something thing, he just comes and he’s done with it. I’m hanging out with the other bandmates, I’ve had dinner twice this weekend, and Lee [Altus, EXODUS guitarist] it’s having real ales and I have Heineken 0.0s. I never [think], ‘Hmm, I want what he has.’ It doesn’t appeal to me anymore.”

Holtthe announcement of his wife’s quitting alcohol came seven months after his wife Lisarevealed that she quit drinking in 2012 after drinking alcohol since she was 13. She also thanked her husband and thanked him for making her “want to be a better person.” I definitely wouldn’t have it or anything great in my life today if I hadn’t made that choice. [to quit drinking] 8 years ago,” she wrote.

In Wiederhornthe book “Raising Hell (Behind the Scenes Tales of the Lives of Metal Legends)”, Holt remembered the lengths he and his former EXODUS group mate Kirk Hammett (now in METALLIC) would go nearly 40 years ago to get free booze.

“Near our house we had a local liquor store called Wagon Wheel that burned down,” Holt recalled. “We had nothing to do with it, but waded through the burnt rubble of this doomed building, risking our lives and limbs to reach the alcohol. The bottles with plastic caps were all melted. Church had this old Buick Skylark. We called it the Skymobile. And we filled his trunk with gallons of whiskey bottles with these melted black corks on them. We were scavengers. It’s part of what made EXODUS great, this hunger and this ambition.”

EXODUS recently announced the second North American leg of “The Bay Strikes Back” with WILL and ANGEL OF DEATH. The trek will begin September 9 in Phoenix, Arizona and end October 15 in San Jose, California.

EXODUS, WILL and ANGEL OF DEATH launched the first 2022 edition of “The Bay Strikes Back” on April 9 at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, CA.

EXODUSthe new studio album of, “Persona non grata”was released in November via Nuclear Explosion Records. This is the sequel to 2014 “Blood in Blood”which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers’ first release since the lead singer left the band for nine years, Rob Dukesand the return of Steve “Zetro” Souzawho previously led EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.

“Persona non grata” 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 Snap.

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