In-person interview with Tom Hunting of Exodus
By Aniruddh "Andrew" Bansal
September 11th 2010, Galaxy Theatre, Santa Ana CA
Andrew: This tour is coming to an end. How has it been for you guys?
Tom: It's been great! It's been really good man.
Andrew: I saw the set list for the tour and you're doing four new songs. I think the first two songs to start off the set and the last one are fitting in great. What do you think about that?
Tom: Yeah! I love playing the new stuff. I'm a big fan of loading the set with new stuff but we have to play old shit too to satisfy everybody. There are nine albums of material and it's not easy to please everybody, including ourselves. We go round and round about this all the time. We collectively decide what we think would be the best and what new songs worked in practise and what not. Then we gauge them live and see if something doesn't go over good live. Then we replace it with something else. Sometimes we give up too early on a song if it doesn't go over well, but it varies. Different people want to hear different shit. People from the crowd are like, "Play Chemi-Kill!" or "Play Parasite!" We can't play every album! (laughs)
Andrew: On this tour have you kept a constant set list or did you try out new things?
Tom: We varied a little bit on the new stuff, what to add and what not. Plus some of the shows were curfew so we weren't allowed to play our full set.
Andrew: In terms of some of the other new songs that you didn't play, did you still practise them before the tour to see which ones are working out well?
Tom: When I'm at home I practise the whole album, pretty much.
Andrew: As you said, you have to play the old stuff along with the new songs. So, do you actually sometimes jam out the really old songs in the practise room, songs that you never played?
Tom: Yeah, I do it myself with headphones on, in my garage (laughs).
Andrew: This year you played Ozzfest. How was that experience for you?
Tom: It was amazing. It was really good and I wish we could have done more of those!
Andrew: On this tour you hit places like Florida that are kind of isolated. Not all tours go there. The response from the crowd over there must have been great.
Tom: Yeah, Fort Lauderdale was really good. Orlando was good, but Fort Lauderdale really kicked ass!
Andrew: In November, you'll be touring Europe with Kreator, Death Angel and Suicidal Angels for 'Thrashfest 2010'. It promises to be the best thrash tour of the year.
Tom: Yeah, I can't wait man! It's going to be great. They are already selling out the shows so I'm looking very much forward to it.
Andrew: You played with Kreator last year so it must be good to play with them again.
Tom: Yeah it's a good line-up man. Both bands are from the same era and both are still rocking after all these years, so it's a good combination.
Andrew: Straight after this tour, you'll be going to Japan to play with Overkill. When was the last time you played with that band?
Tom: Well the band did the tour without me last year for two weeks because I had a vacation booked. So this will be the first time I'll be playing with them since Bulgaria (laughs), two years ago when we did the Thrash Till Death festival.
Andrew: After Thrashfest, what is the band planning in terms of touring or otherwise?
Tom: We have this 70,000 tons of metal cruise coming up in January but beyond that we haven't really planned that far ahead yet. We're just going to wait and see what's going on. We'll have a plan in place by Christmas time I'm sure.
Andrew: Out of all the thrash drummers out there, people say that you have a very unique and distinct sound. So, what is it that you do technically that makes you so unique?
Tom: I don't know man! I don't really plan my technique. I think it's just the influences I've acquired over the years and listening to classic rock, speeding it up for metal drumming and may be the left handedness, the fact that I play backwards from pretty much all other drummers. So may be that's where the technique sounds different, but I don't really know. I can't explain it (laughs). I'm not a rudimentarily trained drummer and I'm more of a caveman style.
Andrew: So you're self-trained?
Tom: Yeah, pretty much!
Andrew: What are some of those influences that you talked about?
Tom: There's a lot to mention. Tommy Aldridge, John Bonham, anything from that to old funk drummers like the Ohio Players drummer, the Earth, Wind & Fire's drummer and Michael DeRosier from Heart. Whatever moves me, I listen to it and try to apply it.
Andrew: Along with Gary, you are one of the founding members of the band. So, I was wondering how the Exodus name came about.
Tom: It just sounded good. Kirk [Hammett] spit it out and we agreed that it sounded really cool. We weren't really sure of its entire biblical meaning but we just liked the sound of it (laughs).
Andrew: Back then in 1980, if somebody had asked you what would Exodus sound like in 2010, what would you have said?
Tom: (Laughs) I would have said I don't think we'd still be doing it. But we are, and it's hella fun, so we just keep on going.
Andrew: What do you think of the younger bands on this tour Holy Grail and Bonded By Blood?
Tom: Holy Grail is killer man. They really have a great sound. And Bonded By Blood, I hadn't really heard of them until this tour, but I like them. They are great!
Check out Exodus' official myspace.