Testament and Exodus Frontmen Talk About Their Crappy Day Jobs
Bummer alert: metal doesn’t pay the bills. Most metal musicians I know take jobs when they’re not on the road. Even guys in bands you’d say are “popular” compared to your average underground death metal band still need to work crappy jobs to pay their bills just like the rest of us.
MetalSucks Podcast hosts Chuck and Godless conducted a fascinating joint interview with Chuck Billy of Testament and Steve “Zetro” Souza of Exodus on last week’s edition of The MetalSucks Podcast. The two legendary frontman talked about some of what you’d expect — the early days of thrash, their upcoming tour together, and so on and so forth — but the conversation took a turn when Godless asked them how they’d made a living while their bands were dormant. And in Chuck Billy’s case, up until way more recently than you’d think.
Steve “Zetro” Souza:
Union carpenter. I was a foreman in the union for 21 years. When I got kicked out of Exodus in ’93 I got in the union my brother was in. When I re-joined Exodus that’s what I was doing and I made a really good living doing that, but I’m much happier doing what I’m doing now. My children are older now, Tony and Nick, they live together, they’re 25 and 21, and my daughter lives with my ex-wife. So I only have myself to take care of, which is great; I can go and tour, and there’s no distractions. That’s why this time for me is the best mentally, physically, vocally, musically, performance wise, everything.
Doors were my speciality. I would install doors in high-rise buildings; all the hardware that makes them open and close by themselves, latches, fire doors, that sort of thing. It was a job where I was out of the public eye completely. I just threw a hard hat on and after a while I became a foreman.
I worked for several years at a trucking company. I was always the kind of guy that when I came off the road I didn’t wanna sit at home, I had to stay busy, and fortunately I had a friend that owns a trucking company that hauls U.S. mail. I ended up being a safety coordinator for the company and I traveled around doing safety lectures to all the truck drivers.
I quit that job probably 3 or 4 years ago. I did that for 17 years. I kept busy in music. My friend Willie who owned the company, he was in our band Rampage starting as childhood friends, and he was actually the one who was brought up to get the gig in Metallica before Jason [Newsted] got the gig. So he understood the business and my love for music and he let me do both. He’s like, “Go, get out of here, do what you want, come back and I’ll see you when you get back.”
See? Aspring metal musicians fret not: there’s no shame in taking a day job when you’re not touring.
Listen to the entire episode below or right here. The segment about day jobs starts at the 35:40 mark.