David E. Gehlke of DeadRhetoric.com recently conducted an interview with former EXODUS and current HATRIOT frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
DeadRhetoric.com: You have name recognition from your previous bands, but, launching HATRIOT, has it been easier or harder than you thought it would be?
Souza: I know it’s not easy. I knew going into it. I knew putting it together from the get-go wouldn’t be easy — you have to get band members, you have come up with a name, write songs, play shows, all of those things I did 30 years ago. I think that I’m just driven. I love music, I love metal, I love thrash metal, so I want to play [it]. It doesn’t necessarily make my living; I don’t do it because of that. I know it’s a lot of hard work. Last night and the night before, we were in the rehearsal studio, practicing, running over new songs. I’m sure everybody would rather be out partying on a Friday or Saturday night, but it worked out with our schedules with what everyone has going on, we have practice, and I make sure we get it done. I know it’s hard work. It’s never been easy, and it wasn’t easy back then either. If you put music out, it will come to it. I’ve always been fortunate to work with really great musicians, great guitar players from the get-go, every band and I’ve been in, and this band is no different. The musicianship I have with these young guys — two of them are my sons — I’ve watched them grow as players with every rehearsal or gig, or trip to the airport… everything we do is a lesson. Maybe 25 years ago when I started, I had no clue how it worked. I had no clue with any of that stuff. It’s a better thing now. I’m better-versed in the business, but I don’t think anything is easy. It’s hard.
DeadRhetoric.com: You made some comments about a year ago — maybe in jest or not — to [EXODUS guitarist] Gary [Holt], that you’d jump back in the band if given the chance….
Souza: [Interjecting] I think that was blown out. I really don’t say that. In fact, I read an interview with Slash about a month ago and he explains it very well. He said, “The new GUNS N’ ROSES, they’re great, but this version is not my version of GUNS N’ ROSES,” just like this version of EXODUS is not my version of EXODUS, or this version is not Paul Baloff‘s version of EXODUS. To join would be going backward. Do I love singing those songs? Yeah, for the fans, it would be great. I sing some of those with HATRIOT. I’ve done so much work with this band, I can do everything my way… I would have to pass on that if that actually came up.
DeadRhetoric.com: That’s why I found it be interesting. Since 2010, you’ve been putting all of this work into HATRIOT, but with EXODUS, that will always be Gary‘s band.
Souza: Thank you. Good perception, my friend. That’s why I’m not there. I would say, “Let’s turn left.” [And they would say] “No, let’s turn right.” “But if you turn right, you’re going to fall off the cliff! Let’s turn left, guys. Who’s the most successful out of this business?” But Gary says: “Let’s turn right.” Okay, fine, we fall off the cliff. With HATRIOT, I get to turn left. I get to drive the Cadillac, and it’s fine with me.
DeadRhetoric.com: Are you still on good terms with those guys?
Souza: Two weeks ago in Oakland, Robb Flynn [MACHINE HEAD] had a benefit show for someone who had an accident. I have an AC/DC tribute band called AC/DZ, I opened the show. Gary was there that night. We had a great conversation and talked very well, and it was awesome. It was awesome, and that’s the way it needs to be. Believe me, I do read the press, so I know. It was late that night and we talked about a lot of stuff, and it was cool. He said, “I heard you were here and I was looking for you.” I don’t have a problem with anybody. I’m good with everybody. I get along with everybody and don’t have anything bad to say.
Read the entire interview at DeadRhetoric.com.