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In a recent interview with RadioactiveMike Z, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM radio program "Wired In The Empire", EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt was asked how he first met original EXODUS guitarist Kirk Hammett, who has been a member of METALLICA for the past 39 years. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The first time I met Kirk was in my high school music room, Richmond High, and EXODUS came and played. [Original EXODUS drummer] Tom Hunting grew up, like, 50 yards from my house, across from a park, but he went to a different school — he went to De Anza High, where Kirk did. I knew Tom, I'd see him around, but I didn't know him that well. But I was really good friends with the other guitar player in EXODUS, Tim Agnello, who I did know. And they came in and played in the music room, and it was awesome. Even though Kirk sang [SCORPIONS'] 'Another Piece Of Meat', and it was just really awful, as you can imagine — Kirk Hammett trying to sing Klaus Meine at his greatest; it was bad. But there was something about… Even though I'd been to many concerts, being in a room and hearing an electric guitar that up close and personal, it was kind of like a special moment for me, 'cause I'd never experienced it. I'd only seen guys onstage; I'd never stood five feet away. And it was killer. I totally [knew] that's what I wanted to do. And then we went to see Ted Nugent and the SCORPONS together, and we became best of friends from that first time we hung out. And then he said, 'You wanna learn to play guitar?' And I said, 'Yeah.' And he taught me the basics and some chords. I think the first thing he ever taught me was some ROLLING STONES song and a couple of licks and all that, and six months later I was in the band." Asked if he had a favorite METALLICA song, Gary said: "I'd have to go… I've got a lot of favorites — that's one of those tough questions — but one that's always near and dear to my heart is 'Damage, Inc.'" Three months ago, Holt was asked during an appearance on "Put Up Your Dukes", the podcast hosted by ex-EXODUS singer Rob Dukes, if Hammett was involved in the songwriting for any of the material that ended up on EXODUS's classic debut album, 1985's "Bonded By Blood". "There were riffs that I had written while Kirk was still in the band, and he tried to adapt them, tried to change 'em a little bit — the old, 'I changed it a little bit. I'm a co-writer on this riff,'" Holt recalled. "And that was, like, two riffs, I think. And the rest of 'em were written after he left. We never used a Kirk Hammett riff, ever, until [2004's] 'Tempo Of The Damned' [album] when we recorded [the early EXODUS song] 'Impaler'." Explaining that "the first two [EXODUS] songs finished post-Kirk Hammett were 'Strike Of The Beast' and 'No Love'," Holt continued: "The biggest talent I have, if you wanna call it a talent, is my fucking memory. I can remember fucking everything. I remember showing him… I can picture it as a film, showing Kirk the riff to 'Strike Of The Beast', and I can picture it as if I'm watching it on a film — in the jam room, me in my spot where I played him [the riff] and him wanting to change the higher note to a lower note; I remember it all as if I'm watching a movie of it. I remember all of it — every last minute of it. I remember details from fucking most meaningless shit." The original lineup of EXODUS consisted of guitarists Hammett and Agnello, Hunting and vocalist Keith Stewart. Holt joined the band in 1981, while Kirk left two years before "Bonded By Blood" saw the light of day. Although EXODUS rarely gets mentioned alongside the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX"Bonded By Blood" inspired the likes of TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, VIO-LENCE and many others to launch their careers and is considered one of the most influential thrash metal albums of all time. Back in 2018, Kirk spoke about the fact that riffs from songs by EXODUS, "Die By His Hand" and "Impaler", found their way into "Creeping Death" and "Trapped Under Ice", from METALLICA's "Ride The Lightning" album. "What I think happened was when Lars [Ulrich, METALLICA drummer] and James [Hetfield, METALLICA frontman] were thinking about getting rid of Dave [Mustaine], our sound guy, Mark Whitaker — who was EXODUS' manager — gave them EXODUS' demos," Kirk said. "I think 'Die By His Hand' might have caught their ears. So when they were writing 'Creeping Death', they went, 'Great. 'Die By His Hand'. Put it right there.' It was definitely not me going, 'I have a riff here in this EXODUS song, and it needs to be here in this METALLICA song.' By the way, I wrote that 'Die By His Hand' riff when I was, like, 16 years old."
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