Interview conducted March 22 2016
Interview published April 21 2016
A couple of hours before Exodus'
ass-kicking show in Uppsala in Sweden, Metal Covenant was invited onboard
the thrash legends' tour bus for a nice and interesting chat with singer
Steve 'Zetro' Souza. Zetro made a celebrated
return to the band in 2014, something he is very enthusiastic, humble
and grateful about.
Mozzy: Last time you visited Sweden was
at Sweden Rock Festival last year. Now you're doing smaller indoor venues.
Do you find that fun?
Zetro: Yeah, they are fun, because when they
are two inches from my face. Thrash metal is made for the crowd to be
as much a part of the show as the band is. So if they are up close,
stagediving and being part of the show then they are doing what thrash
metal is all about.
a festival, you get a big-size pit, some crowdsurfing and so on, and
that's cool. But they're so far away, I hate that. I like having them
up close. I do like both aspects of playing, but tonight is going to
be fucking awesome. It's gonna be sick!
Mozzy: For sure. This was a bit of a surprise,
to have you playing here.
Zetro: Why is that?
Mozzy: Well, you're quite a big band and
they don't play these venues that often. But it was great news.
Zetro: Well we like to do this, and this tour
is calling for it. I think they said that they have sold something like
400 tickets for this place?
Mozzy: Yeah, it's going to be sold-out tonight
Zetro: Cool, we'll kick some ass.
Mozzy: You always do. You went to South
America recently, that must have been a great experience?
Zetro: It was a blast!
Mozzy: I saw some pictures online, the fans
there seem to be really into it.
Zetro: They're nuts! They really are. I mean,
I hate to pick and choose where in the world it's the best, but honestly,
they are just fucking relentless, man! They don't give up and they keep
coming. We had a great time down there, we really appreciate them.
Mozzy: You seem to have a great bond with
your fans overall, everyone in the band.
Zetro: Yeah. We're not an ego-ridden band by
any means. I'm very easily approachable by any fan, you know. I got
a present today by a fan [shows a baseball cap with the brand "Zero",
with a 'T' hand-written by the fan in the middle].
Zetro: Yeah, neat isn't it? So we're very close
with our fans. I think that bond is what has kept us real through the
years, and they know that. We don't picture ourselves as rock stars,
you know (laughs). Hey, we're just like you guys; we're metal fans who
like to bang! We just make the music and you thrash to it. That is the
Mozzy: Yeah, I've met the other guys a couple
of times before, like at the Sweden Rock cruise, and they are really cool.
Zetro: Oh yeah? Yeah, nobody has an ego or an
attitude in Exodus, it has never been that way.
Mozzy: You got a great response for the
latest album, Blood In, Blood Out, and rightly so.
Zetro: Yeah, we did. It's actually been a year
and a half now. Time goes so fast. But it was a great response, and
we're playing a lot of that stuff tonight. We're probably going to be
writing new stuff soon. We're really planning to follow it up with a
new album in 2017.
Mozzy: Having you back on vocals was a big
factor, I think. The voice is quite important, even though Rob did a good
Zetro: I think so too!
Mozzy: I guess you have noticed that kind
of response as well from the fans?
Zetro: Of course. Every night, I hear them going
'thanks for coming back' and so on. Even myself, you know, I love the
original singer guys. I mean, you wouldn't say that Bruce is the original
singer for Iron Maiden, but boy he is the voice for Maiden, you know!
And the same thing goes for
I love Bon Scott, he is my hero, but
Brian Johnson was in the band for 36 years so
You know, it's not
necessarily that easy. Paul was there before me, but I was there when
we were building it. This was the voice you heard on the records in
Mozzy: People associate your voice with
Zetro: Sure. I think that adds an element to
it. And I'm not being forced into doing this, I doing it because I truly
love it and want to be here. I think that showed on the record and in
the live shows too. I'm really having a lot of fun this time as opposed
to the last time. It's kind of like we're back in the 80´s again
(smiles). I'm having a great time again, without the drugs and the sex
Mozzy: (laughs). I bought the limited edition
of the album which included an entertaining DVD. On that one, Gary points
out just how enthusiastic you are, he finds it a bit funny even. I guess
you still have those feelings?
Zetro: Sure, yeah! I think that's what keeps
me fresh. I'm excited to do it again. As a fan and as a performer I'm
fortunate to get an opportunity to do it again, if that makes any sense.
Mozzy: Oh yeah.
Zetro: It's like, how many people in the world
would love to do what I get to do every night?
Zetro: Sure, so I don't take it for granted,
I'm very appreciative of what I have. And I'm here for the duration;
I'm not going anywhere. I'm here for good!
Mozzy: Good to hear. I saw you with Exodus
at Sweden Rock in 2004 as well.
Zetro: Sure! Great day, I sang with Chuck Billy
(Testament singer) that day, remember?
Mozzy: Oh yeah, that's true!
Zetro: I remember quite well (laughs)! I do
a lot of shows but I have a good memory when it comes to those sorts
of things. And those are the things why I do this business. I don't
do it for money, or any of those things. I do it because I truly love
doing this and being this. I always have and I always will.
Mozzy: That was a great gig and you had
released Tempo Of The Damned which was a great comeback record.
Zetro: Great record, yeah. A lot of people say
that's the best comeback record ever, by a band that has been away for
Mozzy: Yeah, I remember when that came out,
it was killer.
Zetro: We play a lot of that tonight too.
Mozzy: So what happened back then; it looked
so good then?
Zetro: It looked good, but honestly, if I look
back on it now it wasn't even that good. It was very, kind of, lacklustre.
If I was to look at it that way, I would say that the performances in
2004 and those sorts of things were pushed. Now it's truly genuine;
we're banging and digging it and having a great time with it. And there's
nothing that is going to change that. We love what we're doing and it's
then I wasn't having fun. My kids were little and I wanted to be a father
to them. I was out here, missing their graduation and I was sad. The
business of the band wasn't doing what it is these days, and it was
just a lot of things that were working against me. I was with my ex-wife
who is now my ex-wife - there is a reason for that. And I have to take
back the way I approached it. I should never have done it that way.
I ducked out the day before a tour and I left the band high and dry.
That was not the way to do it and I can't take that back. I own up to
I probably should have done the tour and then
told them I cannot do it anymore. I was quite angry back then, but I've
changed. I don't carry any resentment. I love it and am having a good
time and refuse to argue about shit I used to argue with the guys. I
won't do that, I want to be a good bandmate and not be like 'oh, what
is he going to come up with today?' Because that is how it was.
Mozzy: They found Rob after your departure
so they did well anyway.
Zetro: Yeah! Do you know what my favourite Exodus
song is? The Ballad Of Leonard And Charles. And I don't even sing on
that song, that is a great fucking song.
Mozzy: How do you find singing that material
from Rob's time in the band?
Zetro: I love it. It's fun. They are all great,
well-written songs. It's like 'wow, I get to sing these songs'. So it's
Mozzy: Do you remember when they asked you
to return and how that felt? Were you surprised?
Zetro: I remember it. Well, yes and no. I was
under the impression that they would never need my services again. I
felt that especially after Exhibit B that Rob did a great job so why
would they replace him. But again, I don't know what went on there and
I never asked or inquired. It's not my business, that's between him
and the band.
We all wish Rob the best and really hope he does
well. I really like what he did with Generation Kill and I think he
should continue in music if that's what he is cut out to do. I was cut
out to do it obviously; I played with Dublin Death Patrol, I did the
Tenet project and I had a band with my kids, Hatriot. My oldest son
is now the singer in the band.
Oh, I was going to ask about Hatriot. I was thinking they might be eager
and waiting for you to be available?
Zetro: Oh no, they're not! They're playing all
the time. In a couple of weeks they're playing with Death Angel and
Flotsam And Jetsam. They're doing really good, and my son sounds just
like me! I'm going to help them write lyrics for the album which they
should have out before the end of the year.
Zetro: I think the show on Thursday, which is
my birthday, will be my 200th show in Exodus since I got back. So there
was no time to do Hatriot as well.
Mozzy: About the situation with Gary then,
was that a bit of a bummer for you; that he is away sometimes now that
Zetro: No, not really. Out of the 200 shows,
Gary has played 70 shows, I keep track (smiles). And if you close your
eyes tonight, you won't know a difference. Kragen (Lum, stand-in on
guitar) plays great and to the note.
Unfortunately, Slayer put out a record 11 months
after we did, so when we're in the middle of our tour cycle they are
going to start their tour cycle. That has never happened before. Gary
wasn't in Slayer when World Painted Blood came out, he was just filling
in later. Now he has become kind of like a full member of Slayer as
far as the touring goes, and he plays great leads on their latest record.
Mozzy: Yeah, it was excellent that Slayer
got him too.
Zetro: I'm telling you, man! Who else are they
going to get, he's the real deal! We understand that. But Tom (Hunting,
drums) was in contact with him about a week or two ago and he said he
was going to be home with Slayer in April and May, so we're going to
try and get together and get some new riffs together.
he's full-on Exodus. I would say, for the next album cycle, you're probably
going to see more of Gary, because Slayer will slow down at some point,
you know. Their record hasn't been out a year yet so they're hitting
it hard, and we know that.
Mozzy: Kragen does a really good job for
sure, but perhaps he looks a bit more comfortable now onstage than in
Zetro: We're comfortable with him, he's played
so many shows with us so we know what to do. And he's a good friend
and we love him like one of us, you know. Look at Anthrax, they have
been using Jon Dette on drums sometimes and other guys have filled in
too. Same thing in other bands as well. Sometimes you just can't be
there when the band calls. But for the most part, we keep it intact
and don't switch it around. If you weigh it out, it definitely works
in our favour.
Mozzy: I think now that you're back on vocals,
it makes it a bit more authentic too.
Zetro: I think so, it brings an element to it.
Mozzy: Even though Gary is out sometimes,
now you're there again as one of the old guys so to speak.
Zetro: Right. And when he's here there are three
fifths of us. And Jack (Gibson, bass) has been in the band longer than
anybody, he's been there forever! Since 1997. My three stints in the
band don't even add up to that, you know (smiles).
Mozzy: Well, it's very good to have you
Zetro: It's good to be back, thank you. I appreciate
of the gig the same night