Gary Holt was on the ground floor of the Bay Area thrash scene as the guitarist of Exodus. In a new interview, Holt recalled the last time his band would support Metallica at a New Year’s Eve show in 1985.
Speaking with Metal Hammer, Holt made some strong claims about where Exodus stood in respect to their soon-to-be-famous scene mates in Metallica.
“The last time we played a proper show with Metallica was a New Year’s Eve show  at Bill Graham’s Civic, and we stomped them into the dirt,” Holt said.
Despite Holt’s estimation that Exodus outplayed Metallica that night, the latter would ascend to stratospheric commercial heights while Exodus remained a cult band on the global metal circuit.
“We were getting wasted after the show, and James [Hetfield] was laughing and saying, ‘Haha, that’s the last time you guys’ll ever support us.’ And it was the last time we ever supported Metallica,” Holt said.
Just a few years prior, the bands were on equal footing, carving out a niche of thrash-inclined metal on the West Coast. When asked if there wouldn’t have been the legendary thrash scene in the Bay Area if not for Exodus, Holt answers in the affirmative.
“Absolutely. I’ll own that. We created the violent scene,” he said.
The fates of Exodus and Metallica are forever intertwined. Following the dismissal of Dave Mustaine in 1983, Metallica would enlist Exodus guitarist Kirk Hammett as a replacement. The domino effect was that Holt then took the creative lead in Exodus.
“Kirk Hammett and I spent an entire summer taking acid,” Holt recalled of his friendship with Hammett. “We’d sell some old jazz records or whatever that his dad had left at his house and go buy a 12 pack of beer and a purple microdot [of acid] or whatever. We used to love our psychedelics. We learned a lot of guitar on LSD.”
Exodus were set to hit the road this fall with fellow thrash legends Testament and Death Angel as part of the “Bay Strikes Back” tour, but the outing was postponed to spring 2022 out of health and safety concerns. Tickets for the rescheduled dates are available here.
Below you can watch footage of Hammett joining his old bandmates in Exodus for “Piranha” at a 2014 concert.