Thrash Metal (Heavy Metal) band formed in 1980 in San Francisco, CA.
Formed by guitarist Kirk Hammett & drummer Tom Hunting (who initially handled vocals as well). The group was rounded out by guitarist Tim Agnello and bassist Carlton Melson. The line up shifted several times in the early years.
1982 – 1985
In 1982, Exodus included Kirk Hammett and Gary Holt on guitars, Paul Baloff on lead vocals, Geoff Andrews on bass and drummer Tom Hunting. This lineup recorded the band’s 1982 demo.
In 1983, founding member Kirk Hammett left Exodus to join Metallica and was replaced by guitarist Rick Hunolt and Rob McKillop replaced Andrews on bass. This line-up recorded and released their debut album, “Bonded by Blood” in 1984 (released in 1985).
1986 – 1991
Shortly before the recording of “Pleasures of the Flesh” in 1987, Paul Baloff was replaced by Steve “Zetro” Souza, who had previously been the lead vocalist for the San Francisco band Legacy (later known as Testament). Baloff later went on to form the band Piranha (9).
In 1989, the band released “Fabulous Disaster” which garnered good press and, eventually, a major label deal. That same year, Tom Hunting departed, leaving the group with no founding members. In 1991 the band released their first live effort, “Good Friendly Violent Fun”, which featured new bassist Mike Butler.
1991 – 1998
After the release of “Good Friendly Violent Fun”, the band toured sporadically for a year and released another studio album, “Force of Habit”. This album was a departure for the band, containing several slower, “heavier” songs with less emphasis on the speed/thrash basis of their older material. Unable to match the commercial success of some of their peers and dealing with internal stresses and problems, Exodus split in 1994.
After a few dormant years, Exodus released only another live album in 1997 titled “Another Lesson in Violence” and featuring the return of vocalist Paul Baloff and new bassist Jack Gibson. Exodus disintegrated again, partly due to a falling out with record label Century Media over the way the live album was promoted, and over an aborted attempt at a live concert video which was filmed but never released due to a financial dispute.
2001 – 2004
In 2001, Exodus reformed again, initially to play the Chuck Billy benefit, the “Thrash of the Titans” mega concert. There was talk of recording a new studio album and the band continued to play local gigs in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. In February 2002, Paul Baloff suffered a seizure/stroke from which he eventually died. Former vocalist Steve Souza was recruited back into the band to finish the rest of their concert commitments.
Although it appeared to outsiders that with Baloff’s death Exodus would cease to exist, guitarist Gary Holt was determined to release a new studio record. The result was 2004’s “Tempo of the Damned” released on Nuclear Blast.
2005 – Present
In 2005, Hunolt decided to leave the band to concentrate on his family life. He was replaced by Heathen guitarist Lee Altus. Tom Hunting also left, citing strong personal objections over some of Holt’s anti-Christian lyrics as well as anxiety issues. Hunting was replaced with Paul Bostaph who had previously played with Forbidden, Slayer and Testament. Souza also left under disputed terms in 2005.
He was replaced intitially by Steev Esquivel (ex-Defiance and Skinlab) and then later by Rob Dukes whose first recorded performance for the band is 2005’s “Shovel Headed Kill Machine”.
Tom Hunting returned to the band in March 2007. In 2012, Rick Hunolt returned in a guest role, filling in for Gary Holt on several live dates while Holt toured with Slayer. In 2014, Steve Souza returned to the group.
Steve “Zetro” Souza (1986-92, 2002-04, 2014-)
Gary Holt – Guitar (1982-)
Lee Altus – Guitar (2005-)
Jack Gibson – Bass (1997-)
Tom Hunting – Drums (1980-1989, 1997-2005, 2007-)
Keith Stewart (1980-1981)
Paul Baloff (1981-86, 93-94, 97-2002)
Matt Harvey (2004 live appearances)
Steev Esquivel (2004 live appearances)
Rob Dukes – Vocals (2005-2014)
Tim Agnello (1980-1981)
Kirk Hammett (1980-1983)
Rick Hunolt (1983-1994, 1997-2005, live appearances in 2012)
Mike Maung (1983)
Evan McKaskey (1983)
Carlton Melson (1980)
Jeff Andrews (1980-1983)
Rob McKillop (1983-1991)
Mike Butler (1992-1994)
Perry Strickland (1989, live appearances)
John Tempesta (1990-1992)
Chris Kontos (1993, live appearances)
Gannon Hall (1993, live appearances)
Paul Bostaph (2005-2007)
Nick Barker (European tour 2009)
Interestingly, Les Claypool of Blind Illusion and Primus, who was a schoolmate and friend of Kirk Hammett’s, was asked to join the band as a bass player in 1980, but declined, citing a taste for free-form jazz at the time.