OCTOBER 2nd 2014

Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza left Exodus back in 2004 after the touring cycle for the ‘Tempo of the Damned’ album wrapped up. ‘Zetro’ had a job and a family that required his attention; ultimately leading to his departure from the band. It’s 2014 10 years removed from ‘Zetro’s’ departure and he’s returned to Exodus following Rob Duke’s  surprising exit after a highly successful 9 year tenure. Metal Titans caught up with ‘Zetro’ as he was gearing up for a tour of South America. He filled us in on his return the recording of the new album ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ and their upcoming North American tour.<br/>

MetalTitans: I’m liking the fact that you’re back in Exodus a lot. It’s for a selfish reason as I discovered Exodus when you issued ‘Pleasures of the Flesh.’ For me that album has always been near and dear to me because that was my introduction to Exodus.  Fans know that you weren’t the original singer but like myself there have been a lot of people who discovered Exodus during your tenure and see you as ‘the guy.’  

Steve Souza: Thank you I really appreciate that. I feel like I’m back in the family.

MetalTitans: Your last record with Exodus ‘Tempo of the Damn’ I felt was a strong effort but then there was some sort of a falling? What happened there? Did you and the guys in the band have to mend a lot of fences to facilitate your return?

Steve Souza:  (pause) I don’t’ think we needed to mend a lot of fences more than go over the fences.  I take full responsibility for that because I wasn’t the best band mate at that time. For all the fans and critics that love the ‘Tempo of the Damned’ album and the tour---I hated it all. I just wasn’t supposed to be there.  The original idea was for Paul (Baloff) to do that record unfortunately Paul passed away. I had these little kids and I had this job where I was making really good money; like 80-90K per year.  I received a call from the guys who wanted me to do this again? I thought to myself “There’s really nobody else that can do this---so I guess I’ve got to do it?” So I was pulled in and I never had fun and I didn’t like it. Back then it was agonizing to be on tour now I’m looking forward to doing this tour. Things are fresh and fun again. My vocals sound great this time around I think the outside projects that I’ve done in the past few years have been very helpful.

MetalTitans: So in short when you left Exodus in 2005 it was due to employment and your need to be close to your family which I don’t think anyone would fault you for that.

Steve Souza: Yeah that was it. I recall having a conversation with my supervisor where he said “Hey rock star why do you get to keep going on vacation. You know there a lot of people here that would love to have your job. We need to know that we can count on you.”  I had two little kids and wife that was a stay at home mom—I had these financial responsibilities.  Singing in Exodus at that point was a crapshoot and I just wasn’t happy in Exodus at that point in time.  If you’re not happy it’s just simply not going to be good. When I went on stage I didn’t give less that my best. If you pay to see an Exodus show then it was my job to kick your ass.  I will say that when I got off stage I would think “Okay cool only 84 more days of this bullshit!”

MetalTitans: No question the Rob Dukes era received some critical acclaim; when you were approached about coming back where you concerned about that?

Steve Souza: To be quite honest I was never concerned about that at all. I was approached about coming back because of my history with the band and the fact that I was part of the building of the Church of Exodus. The guys in the band know my abilities as a vocalist and that’s why I received that call.  I don’t know exactly what went down between Exodus and Rob I know about as much as you from what I’ve read online. Out of respect for Exodus and Rob I choose to move forward.  I never listened to the records Rob did with Exodus when they were released because to me it was like keep up with what an ex-girlfriend is doing. I have since listened to those records because I will be performing some of the material off those three records and you know what? Rob Dukes did a damn good job!  I invite Rob Dukes if we’re in town performing and he comes to the show that he come on stage and perform anyone of those songs with us on stage.  That would be fun.

MetalTitans: The reason we’re on the phone is because you have the new album ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ due in October. Would it be wrong to say that ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ would appeal to those of us that are fans of ‘Pleasures of the Flesh’ and ‘Fabulous Disaster?’  It’s like Bay Area thrash on steroids.

Steve Souza: I think when you hear my voice singling along to Exodus music you’d think that. I think that the fact that the songs are not as long as the songs that your heard on the last two Exodus albums. I think the guitar work on this record like the past two Exodus records is just blazing. The playing on this album is probably the best in terms of any exodus album.  

MetalTitans: Would you think that I’m insane if I say that the guitar work and the aggression on ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ rivals the guitar work and the aggression of a Slayer record?  

Steve Souza: I hear what you’re saying--in a different way maybe? I agree with that I do. I think what you’re trying to ask is that Gary (Holt) playing in Slayer rubbed off on him?  Yeah it has! (laughs) It sure has. Why wouldn’t it rub off on him?! (laughs) He was already in one of the heaviest bands in the whole world then he went to play in another of the heaviest bands in the world—yeah it rubbed off.  I understand what you’re talking about—the sheer brutality of it. I would agree with that for sure I mean Gary has been playing with Slayer for like 4 and a half years now. I think whatever it is that you’re around it will definitely influence you—whatever that may be.

MetalTitans: You guys are gearing up for a tour in North America in the coming weeks…

Steve Souza: The tour starts in the next couple of days! We leave for South America in about three days and we’re in South America for 3 weeks! I can’t wait! We’ve been drafting a list of stuff to christen from ‘Blood In, Blood Out.’ We’ll be reheasring tonight and tomorrow.  

MetalTitans: I imagine that you’ll feature songs from the new album extensively in the set?

Steve Souza: On this tour we will be because we’re headlining.  When we gear up for the Slayer tour we’ll get about 35 minutes so I think the plan is to do 3 songs off of ‘Blood In, Blood Out.’  We can perform roughly about 7 songs in that amount of time. I have to point out that we will be doing headling gigs on off nights where we can play for an hour and half.

MetalTitans: I’ll be catching you guys in Portland, Oregon in December.

Steve Souza: That’s awesome! We’ll be headling that night you’ll be hearing more music off the ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ album!