The former guitarist of one of the best thrash metal bands on the planet Exodus – Rick Hunolt, in a recent interview for YouTube channel Zetro’s Toxic Vault, which belongs to Exodus vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza. As you know, Rick joined Exodus in 1983, almost right after Kirk Hammett, one of their founding members, left the band. So, during their conversation Rick told us why, in his opinion, James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich chose Hammett to replace Dave Mustaine, just before the recording of their debut album “Kill ‘Em All”. Here’s what he replied:
This is why I think James chose Kirk. It’s because Dave and Kirk’s styles back then were similar — pentatonic, bluesy. James didn’t want no effects on his shit. He wanted Kirk to play dry — no echo; just a real dry Marshall tone. Wah-wah pedal is cool, I guess. But he had a similar style to Dave. Individually, personality-wise, they were completely two different human beings.
Back in the day, when you went to go see METALLICA, reason why you went to go see METALLICA is because we wanted to go see Dave. Dave played lead guitar. He spoke in between songs. James sang — that’s all he did. He didn’t play rhythm guitar. It was the Dave Mustaine. Period. That’s it. And he was funny as shit — drunk. Oh, God, he was awesome. Dave was, like, the king back then.
How you get kicked out of your own band, I don’t know. I don’t wanna talk about that… But as far as I’m concerned, personally, Dave Mustaine is the godfather of thrash metal.
The original Exodus lineup consisted of guitarists Kirk Hammett and Tim Agnello, drummer Tom Hunting and vocalist Keith Stewart. Current guitarist Gary Holt joined the band in 1981, and Hammett left two years before the 1985 debut album Bonded By Blood appeared. Exodus’ last album to date, Persona Non Grata, was released in 2021.