In a new interview with The Rockpit, EXODUS singer Steve “Zetro” Souza was asked what keeps him and his bandmates going more than 40 years into the group’s career. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Why does [SAXON‘s] Biff [Byford] keep doing it? Why does [JUDAS PRIEST‘s] Rob [Halford] keep doing it? Why does [IRON MAIDEN‘s] Bruce [Dickinson] and Steve Harris keep doing it? [MEGADETH‘s] Dave Mustaine… [METALLICA‘s] James Hetfield. They’ve got more money than God. You think they would have to do it again?
“I love it. I love doing it. I fucking love playing music,” he explained. “It wasn’t something that, like, ‘Oh, man, I’m cool. When I was a kid, I got to be kind of a rock star for a couple of years. Now I’m a family man. I’m not really into that anymore.’
“It’s never left my heart. It never will leave my heart. I’ll be like fucking Lemmy — I’ll die three months after my last show. That’s just the way it’ll be. I don’t care. I’m going for it full-on.”
Souza went on to say that most of EXODUS‘s counterparts have delivered the goods on their recent albums.
“I think for our genre of music, for the most part, I think thrash metal, out of all of the subgenres of metal, I think that one stays true,” he said. “I love [MEGADETH] ‘Dystopia’, I love [ANTHRAX‘s] ‘For All Kings’, [DEATH ANGEL‘s] ‘Humanicide’ is great. TESTAMENT doesn’t put out anything that sucks. We don’t put out anything that sucks. OVERKILL doesn’t put out anything that sucks. KREATOR doesn’t put out anything [that sucks]. DESTRUCTION… Go down the genre. Thrash metal doesn’t cheat you; it never has.
“I’ll say this: look at [JUDAS PRIEST‘s] ‘Firepower’; that record’s fucking awesome,” he continued. “It’s fucking killer. And [IRON MAIDEN‘s] ‘Senjutsu’. I mean, c’mon — MAIDEN always fucking brings it, man; they always bring it. So I feel that us — and I’ve heard this term before; I’m not labeling that — but the iconic bands will always bring it. SAXON too; I love everything they do. I just do. ACCEPT — all that shit. I love it. It’s what drives me.
“This is what we are and what we do. This is what we know.”
EXODUS‘s new album, “Persona Non Grata”, is scheduled for release on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. “Persona Non Grata” is the follow-up to 2014’s “Blood In Blood Out”, which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers’ first release since the departure of the group’s lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Souza, who previously fronted 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 Sneap. For the third time in the band’s history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.
In July, EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting underwent a successful total gastrectomy in his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
Last month, EXODUS tapped John Tempesta to play drums for the band at Psycho Las Vegas on August 22 in Las Vegas, Nevada and at Full Terror Assault on September 11 at Hogrock Campground in Cave In Rock, Illinois — while Hunting is recovering from surgery. Tempesta was a member of EXODUS from 1989 until 1993 and played on the band’s albums “Impact Is Imminent” (1990) and “Force Of Habit” (1992).