EXODUS Drummer Tom Hunting On The Early Years - "We Were Playing IRON MAIDEN Covers And People Thought They Were Originals"

Hot Flashes

Posted on Saturday, April 06, 2013 at 04:30:59 EST

EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting is featured in a new interview with Tom Murphy at Denver Westword. An excerpt is available below:

DW: There was an interview you did in which you had sung for Exodus at one point before Paul (Baloff) came in. Did you start out as the drummer?

Hunting: "I was the drummer. The earliest formation of Exodus was out of the East Bay. Our first singer ever was a guy named Keith Stewart, and we would trade off on vocals because he didn't really have a high voice. Back then we were playing cover tunes, and we were playing backyard parties and kegger parties. A good friend of ours, Merle, bought IRON MAIDEN's first album, which, by the way, R.I.P. Clive Burr. He bought it just for the cover.

Before we even put it on the turntable, we were like, "Ah...look at the cover." Nothing like that had ever been put out there. That inspired curiosity. DEF LEPPARD's first album came out and there was this barrage of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. They were playing in college radio stations here, KUSF, and we would stay up until two in the morning just to hear what's next.

I was the original singer, I guess, one of them. We had a guy named Dave Vanderhoof for a couple of weeks, and he was kind of a VAN HALEN clone, so we kicked him out. I was just the singer because I was the guy in the band that could also sing. But we always wanted to get a front man. Then we met Paul. Kirk introduced me to Paul at, I think, at a HARI KARI concert in Berkeley, circa 1982 or something.

I'm not really a good metal singer. But back then, we were playing backyard parties, and we were playing Iron Maiden covers, and people thought they were originals because nobody had heard Iron Maiden yet and nobody had heard 'Get Your Rocks Off' by Def Leppard. We're playing these songs at backyard parties just because we loved them. (UFO's) 'Rock Bottom' was in the set. We were writing pretty cheesy originals back then, too. It wasn't until we were exposed to this heavier music that it took a turn."

Go to this location for the complete interview.

Exodus recently checked in with the following update:

"We have recently observed a whirlwind of speculation, conspiracy theories, and just plain ole dumb-assed comments on the internet regarding Exodus' future and that of Gary Holt's commitment to this band. The following is an attempt to shed some light on actual facts, as well as trying to clear the air.

The reason we cancelled our appearance at this years Maryland Death Fest was, in fact, due to Gary's commitment to his sudden and seriously ill father. Actually, just days prior to the start of the Metal Alliance tour, we were making arrangements to have someone fill in for Gary due to his unknown status. As things worked out, his father was able to recover to a somewhat stable condition, yet he is still not 'out of the woods' and continues to be a closely monitored. This was obviously a private and personal matter that didn't warrant public knowledge, but it seems the press release from MDF and then the interview given by Gary about not quitting Exodus was just a random coincidence and we felt it necessary to inform people of the real story.

Exodus is not disbanding! Gary will continue to perform on the current Metal Alliance tour, as well as splitting his time between Exodus and SLAYER in the future. The band (with Holt) will be appearing at this year's Hell & Heaven Fest in Guadalajara Mexico as advertised on May 19th. After which, Gary will return home to support and care for his family. Our apologies to the MDF staff, as well as to the Exodus fans, who were eager to see us, and we hope everyone understands that family and loved ones comes first."