Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer) Opens Up About Decision to Quit Drinking
Gary Holt, renowned guitarist for Exodus and Slayer, has opened up on his decision to quit drinking, which he first made public last month.
In June, Holt made the announcement on social media, explaining:
“Day one for me, here I go. This last year has been one in which I’ve come to realize the drinking needs to go. Been a long party for me but it doesn’t feel like a party anymore. I’m not perfect and the booze has crept up on me. Here’s to feeling clear and lucid from here on out.”
Now, in a new interview with the Backstaged: The Devil in Metal podcast, Holt has gone into detail about what led to that decision. In short: troubling behavior emerged during the pandemic and he decided it was time to take action.
“I always did have the best time [drinking and partying] until fucking deep into this pandemic. And all of a sudden, I’m becoming a cranky drunk, but wasn’t a cranky drunk when I’m social drinking with friends. Like a lot of guys in the pandemic, [I was] sitting around at home, drinking by myself.”
“Drinking by myself prior to the pandemic meant cracking open two or three beers and watching the 49ers Game. I came home from tour and barely drank. And then now I was drinking more than I ever did on tour. And that’s why I quit.”
While Holt said his alcohol consumption varied from day to day, it was ironically the seemingly innocuous sparkling spirit White Claw that inspired him to give up booze for good:
“I always mock people who drink White Claw. Eight White Claws got left behind [after the party]. I drank every last one of them because I ran out of beer. It was just this fucking shit left over from the parties, and I drank it down to the last White Claw. I cracked one. ‘Oh, this is horrible. This is terrible. Glug, glug — drink it down. ‘Maybe this other flavor. No, that’s awful, too.’ Drink it down. And suddenly they’re all gone, all eight of them.”
Holt admitted that his wife played a role in helping him reach the decision to quit:
“I kind of became miserable to be around for my wife. That was a lot of it. I had circumstances I’ve been fighting through like my elbow problems — which led me to not be able to play guitar for several months — but I’m getting past that. My drummer has cancer. He’s doing quite well so far — all good news coming from the bad. It’s just really because I haven’t been able to do what I love doing for over a year, which is to perform, so I had nothing but free time. So all I did was sit around outside and get hammered.”
He went on:
“I found myself purchasing my beers based on how fucking drunk they get me and then rationalize it that I only had four – four giant bottles, which, on a per ounce basis, adds up to … about eight beers and the alcohol content is super high.
“And that’s another thing when you’re like starting to flirt with alcoholism — you start justifying things. I don’t drink hard liquor. I have a bunch of tequila in the house. I don’t drink it at all, but I’m buying fucking beer based on how strong it is. And I view that as not being in control.
“I’m not a full blown alcoholic. I started seeing signs in myself I didn’t like and I decided to do something about it. For a couple of days, I had mental desires for a beer just because it’s fucking blazing hot, a hundred degrees out here — a nice tall double IPA sounded really fucking good. But, sometimes that one leads to two, sometimes that one leads to 12, and it’s unpredictable and I don’t like unpredictability.”
We commend Holt on his newfound sobriety and wish him the best in staying sober and taking care of himself!
In April, Exodus announced that they would delaying the release of their new album, Persona Non Grata, from June until November in order to allow drummer Tom Hunting’s to undergo treatment for squamous cell carcinoma, a form of cancer.
Holt recently appeared on “Never Relent,” a new track from Generation Kill. That band is fronted by former Exodus vocalist Rob Dukes.