We are half dead, totally deaf, a bit bruised by fellows-moshers, have stiff necks due to insane headbanging, but soooooo happy that we managed to attend the only Exodus concert at Le Rat's in Puget-Sur-Argens in the south of France! More than that! We were lucky to spend a few minutes with mighty Steve "Zetro" Souza, the best and longest term frontman of Exodus, who agreed to reply to a few questions for Metal On Loud Magazine!
Hi Steve! It's a big honour for us to meet with you and attend your concert! We have been listening to your songs since youth! Toxic Waltz, Fabulous Disaster and others...
Toxic Waltz... I'm sure you will hear it tonight! Hi! Nice to meet you too!
You always return back to Exodus...
Well, I've done it three times, so, I mean that's the mothership. Things go on in life, you can't always control. Always you are up to the band to be number one, there always will be. Personal issues which you live together - first, go together with being and doing this lifestyle..The greatest thing is that I don't have any distractions whatsoever, so I'll be able to concentrate on playing for Exodus
That's the relief...It's awesome! We read somewhere that your voice is compared with Bon Scott from AC/DC.
Actually I have my own tribute band, back in the Bay Area, we play AC/DC tribute. Will Carroll from Death Angel is playing drums for me. We just do it for fun. We like Angus, and we just play Bon Scott era, AC/DC.
So, you love rock'n'roll...
Yes... It's my life.
If not thrash metal or rock'n'roll, what would you sing?
I don't really listen to anything else. I wouldn't sing country, it's OK, but it's not something I'm into, I hate hip hop, rap - I can't stand it. I listen to anything from UFO to Merciful Fate, to Kreator, Slayer, Iron Maiden, to Rainbow, to Ted Nugent, to Eagles, to just rock'n'roll. That's why rock'n'roll is very genuine for me because I love it! I listen to it in my car when I'm driving...
You are an experienced musician...there are many bands nowadays...What would you advise to young musicians who start their band? What mistakes shouldn't they make which, maybe, you made?
Tell anybody this: play music FOR FUN, don't go and act as if you are gonna be a big rock star, because if somehow it does not happen, it may disappoint you and you may hate music after that. Anything that happens - if one person buys one t-shirt, if ten people pay to come to see you - those are all pluses, so play music for the love of music! We still make mistakes, tons of them, we are always humans, we are not perfect. Even in this stage of my career, we still are not perfect, and nobody is, it's just a part of it - humans are humans, and that's the way we are. And what comes to music - enjoy the love of playing and the love of listening, the love of being involved. But don't necessarily shoot for something I am very fortunate to have achieved, it's really hard to do, it is really... But if you want to be a doctor or a lawyer, you go to school, and if you do your home work - you achieve that.
You can be the best guitar player, the best drummer, the best singer, this business is not telling you what is gonna happen. That's why I just tell everyone to enjoy music for what it is. The reason you started to play music is because you loved listening to music!
Steve, do you participate in songwriting? What is your contribution to this process?
Of course! I write lyrics, I write the songs, I come up with the song titles. A lot of Exodus music is Garry and mine in the past, I wrote most of the lyrics. Recent songs were not written by me except one song written together with Lee Altus in the studio. But Toxic Waltz, Fabulous Disaster, Til Death Do Us Part, A Strike Of A Beast ...all were written by me, and I will always continue.
What is your favorite song of Exodus?
The Ballad of Leonard And Charles, the favourite, we are playing it tonight..all my favourite Exodus songs are not those which I sing on...
Deliver Us To Evil and Bonded by Blood..
It is perfectionism... You love the songs which you didn't sing...
I know, I have to delight those songs...
Can we ask you an intimate question... If you want, you won't reply...
I am very honest about everything, so, go ahead! I never had a problem to tell people all.
In, maybe, twenty, thirty years, what do you want people say about you? Your grandchildren, next generation metalheads?
I'll still be doing what I'm into! What they have already said: this guy was a part of, a piece of music, he was a beginner, was a starter, he was, how to say that...a pioneer of this type of thrash metal. Yes, I was there at the beginning...like Metallica, like Megadeth, like Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, like Death Angel, like Exodus. These thrash metal bands were at the beginning to stir the pot first.
Your nick, Zetro - what does it mean?
Acid trip, when I was 15...you know acid, LSD, the drug?
(Tania): I never tried...
(Stephane): I do...
People were calling me all night long, I didn't come up with it. It was already invented for me. So, for thirty years they have been calling me that.
(Tania): I am used to big clubs, big venues...when I saw this club (Le Rat's) I asked Stephane: honey, how such a band like Exodus will play for such a small audience?
I want to ask you a question: how better to see your favourite band...- in front of three hundred or three thousand - what do you think?
(Tania) Three hundred, sure!
(Stephane) I've seen many great bands in small clubs, it's very awesome, intimate...
This is what I am saying!
So, you are OK with small concerts...
Yes! We still play them! Many of them!
Do you love festivals?
Yes, only because I get to see all my friends who are playing at the festivals. I love the big crowd, on this tour, like yesterday [looking for a photo in his smartphone] ...that's how it looked last night [showing the festival photo] in Slovenia, so I played in front of fifteen thousand last night and I'll play in front of three hundred tonight, the same show! Same energy, same kickass stuff!
We have heard rumours that Exodus is to come up with a new album next year, in 2017...Is it true?
We have to start writing a new record. After Gary starts writing, we will start writing.
Do you have any idea what it will be about?
It's up to Gary, when he is ready, we will start playing stuff together, and we will follow him in that. We are gonna follow his lead.
(Stephane): I was a kid when I was listening Fabulous Disaster, all your old school songs...now I am 41 and I'm happy as a kid to be at your show, it's awesome!
[laughing] I'm 52, and I'm still a kid...
Thank you very much for your time and the interview! Always your fans!
Enjoy the show tonight! We will kick your ass! Definitely!
We will get crazy! Thank you again!!!
Tania Legrand & Stephane Legrand