Recently appearing in a podcast with another former Exodus member, the former guitarist of the regarded thrash metal band, Rick Hunolt talked about his dark days as he got fired from the regarded band, reflecting his psychology during those days.
Rick Hunolt first joined the regarded thrash metal band back in 1981, as a replacement for Evan McCaskey, who had left the band to join Metallica to replace original guitarist Kirk Hammett. Throughout his career, Hunolt is best known for being the longtime guitarist of Exodus, as he performed on all their albums until the regarded band’s hiatus in 1994.
After the thrash band’s short hiatus, Hunolt kept performing with them until Tempo of the Damned album’s release. So, shortly after that, Hunolt left Exodus, although he also reunited with his former band later in 2012 for their European tour.
And recently, Rick Hunolt has appeared in a podcast hosted by the former singer of Exodus, Rob Dukes, as they discussed Hunolt’s exit from the band along with other stuff. Talking about those days of his, Hunolt described them as some of his darkest days. The talented guitarist also explained what happened and how he got fired from Exodus during his conversation with his former bandmate.
“During the recording of ‘Tempo’, Gary had just gotten clean a little while prior to that, and I was still using. But I’ve gotta say, Gary Holt — my hat’s off to the man for… He never sweated me. Not once did Gary say, ‘Dude, you’re a piece of shit. I’m gonna fire you from the band if you don’t get your shit together.’ He never said anything. He let it take its course, you know what I mean?,” Hunolt starts to explain his last days with the band, and continues.
“I was a mess. We all were, but everybody got better, and I didn’t. I fell down the rabbit hole even worse, I think because I was just so depressed. I couldn’t stop. I don’t know what was up… To the point where I was gonna lose my position in the band I’d been in for over 20 years – my best friends, my life. Yeah, it was dark as fuck. One day, after spending my life, giving everything that I had and the whole world to Exodus, one day I woke up and I wasn’t in Exodus anymore. And that morning was, like… Dude, I can’t even describe the emotions. I woke up and I wasn’t in Exodus anymore, dude. It damn near took me out, bro,” reflects Hunolt his hard days and feelings during those days. Afterward, Hunolt continued telling how his following times went through and how he lived his life while he was still trying to move on somehow.
“I had to reinvent myself at 40-plus years old, two little kids. I ended up moving out of Oakland. I had to get the fuck out of there, ’cause we were living at the studio; it was bad. And then we moved in with my wife’s mom and I got a job at the Dollar Tree and I ended up working there for, like, two or three years. I mean, I can go on and on and on. But long story short, I met a guy who knew who I was and offered me a job on his ranch. And the rest is history. He taught me how to live my life and make money.”
In addition, the former guitarist of Exodus Rick Hunolt also talked about his old band, discussing why they had failed to achieve the same commercial as Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth even though they were all named as Big Four of thrash metal, together.
Hunolt reflected his thoughts as if it was a mistake to fire the regarded band’s former singer, Paul Baloff, saying
“I think losing Paul was a big deal back then. I think that maybe we made a mistake by firing Paul. And this is just looking back on everything for me; this is just my personal thought. This is the stuff that I think about sometimes. What would have happened if we didn’t fire Paul? I just think that maybe we would have gotten a little bit more traction if we didn’t have that lag in between,” said Hunolt back then.
He also talked about the lag of Exodus, explaining their process back in those days, as giving them some of the reasons why the band had failed to achieve the high commercial.
“Hiring a new singer and putting out ‘Pleasures’… And then we had to wait another year for ‘Pleasures’ to come out; it was, like, another year for ‘Pleasures’ to come out. So that was like a double… ’84, and then we waited till… ‘Pleasures’ came out, what, ’86 or something? Late ’85? So, people were just waiting and waiting and waiting. And we’re sitting there going, ‘Goddamn it.’ It was a lot of pressure. Meanwhile, we got Metallica and Slayer, and Anthrax now on board releasing albums every year. And we’re just slowly but surely losing traction. It was tough. But shit happens. We were just kids. We didn’t know anything,” said the former guitarist of Exodus.
You can also hear the whole conversation of Rick Hulton with Rob Dukes down below, as they discuss much more stuff in addition to Exodus band.