FreeGotham.com recently conducted an interview with former EXODUS and current HATRIOT singer Steve “Zetro” Souza. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
FreeGotham.com: You guys [HATRIOT] are going back to your roots in metal. Do you think there is a resurgence of classic thrash?
Zetro: I think everybody is trying to do it, but nobody has done it right yet. There are a bunch of great new young bands that I love, though. SHADOWS FALL is one of my favorite bands right now. They don’t do exactly what the ’80s did, though, you know? They pull a lot of things from that era. A lot of people have told me that nobody has been able to pull this off like we have. It’s old-school but really fresh. Nothing sounds the same. This is what we’re shooting for. Everything sounds different, but still in the vein of classic, Bay Area thrash metal.
FreeGotham.com: Why did you decide to go back to that older sound? Why did you return to your roots?
Zetro: It’s what I do. It’s what I am. I did some work with Glenn Letsch from GAMMA. He played with Ronnie Montrose and plays with Robin Trower now. He told me, “You know, Zetro, I’ve been reading up on you. They say you’re a legendary singer for thrash metal.” I told him to go back ten years ago when nobody cared! He said, “It’s interesting you say that. I was speaking with Robin Trower. He said in the ’70s he was a rock star. In the ’80s he was a has-been, and now he’s considered a legend!” That’s exactly how I felt. To go back to my roots would be just automatic. It was instinct. I love the beat, I love the guitars, I just love the attack. I love the vocal delivery. I think until I’m 85, I’ll be trying to spit out thrash metal. I don’t know how that’s gonna work, but we’re gonna try!
FreeGotham.com: Where does the name HATRIOT come from, because I’ve got to be honest with you… that’s a killer thrash name. Is it political? I’ve seen a picture of an upside-down American flag on fire…
Zetro: Whoa, wait a second! It’s not the American flag. It’s the HATRIOT flag. Look at it, in the blue, those aren’t stars. Those are pentagrams. It’s the HATRIOT flag. We’ve gotten into a bit of trouble in the south with people saying, “Hey now, boy, come down here and we’re gonna beat your ass.” The way I explain “hatriot” is this: A hatriot is somebody who loves their country but doesn’t necessarily agree with the hypocrisy that goes on with it. Perfect example is Jesse “The Body” Ventura. He’s a “hatriot.” He loves his country, he’s fought for his country. But does he agree with what the government does? Nope. You and I, my friend, we’re hatriots. We love our country, we love being Americans, but we don’t necessarily agree with the crap they pull. That’s what a hatriot is. I’m no patriot, just a hatriot.
FreeGotham.com: So what’s on the horizon for HATRIOT?
Zetro: We’ve got a couple of record labels that are interested. I actually got an offer from a metal label in Germany. They’ve got some good acts and I’m very interested. I want to get a record out. I’m not gonna sit here and play games with labels. I’m getting older, I’m 48 years old, I want to put out music so people can hear it. The music does the talking. If the music is good and the music kicks ass, we’ll be OK. And I think my music kicks ass, so I think we’ll be alright.
Read the entire interview from FreeGotham.com.
“Weapons Of Class Destruction” audio stream:
Performance footage (February 19 at The Avalon in Santa Clara, California):