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Former EXODUS Guitarist Says Firing Singer PAUL BALOFF Might Have Been A Tragic Mistake

"It was the hardest thing I ever did, the hardest thing we ever did."

Photo by Retsy Sanger

Former Exodus guitarist Rick Hunolt recently sat down for a chat with For The Passion Not The Fashion, and spoke about former Exodus vocalist, the late and great Paul Baloff. Baloff was member of Exodus until 1986 when he was fired for what were deemed personal and creative differences, and replaced by Steve "Zetro" Souza. Baloff would sadly pass away in 2002 at the age of 41.

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"Paul was… He wouldn't work. He was gettin' bad on the drugs. We all were, but Paul was probably the worst," said Hunolt. "And we were at a point in the band… It was so tough. It was the craziest thing, it was the hardest thing I ever did, the hardest thing we ever did. And I don't even know today, at this point… It could have been the biggest mistake we ever made. I don't know. No one will know. But I'll admit that — it could have been the biggest mistake we ever made. Who knows?"

Hunolt continued by saying, "Zetro was great filling in; he was great. He did a good job. But after we let Paul go, he just fell deeper and deeper into his addiction and everything. Basically, he was homeless. He wouldn't get a job and he wouldn't stop doing what he was doing. We had to let him go. It was just to the point where it was getting so bad that he couldn't do anything. He couldn't remember lyrics. It was just bad.

"But I'll be the first to admit… I always try to think of what would have happened to Exodus if we kept Paul… I don't even know. I don't even know if he would have been able to sing any of the music off of [Exodus's second album, 1987's] Pleasures Of The Flesh. I don't know. Anyway, that was the toughest decision me and Gary [Holt, fellow Exodus guitarist] ever had to make. It was horrible."

Baloff was featured on Exodus's debut LP, Bonded by Blood. After his departure, the band would continue to tour and record with Souza. Their most recent LP, Persona Non Grata was released in 2021. And up next for the thrash legends, a 2023 tour in support of Anthrax and Black Label Society. You can check those dates out below.

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1/17 – Boise, ID @ Revolution Concert House
1/18 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
1/20 – Vancouver, BC @ PNE Forum
1/21 – Penticton, BC @ So. Okanagan Events Ctr.
1/22 – Calgary, AB @ Grey Eagle Events Centre
1/24 – Winnipeg, MB @ Burton Cummings
1/25 – Grand Forks, ND @ Alerus Center
1/27 – Madison, WI @ The Sylvee
1/28 – Mt. Pleasant, MI @ Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
1/29 – Chicago, IL @ Radius
1/31 – Montclair, NJ @ Wellmont Theater
2/2 – Portland, ME @ Cross Insurance Arena
2/3 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
2/4 – Bethlehem, PA @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center
2/5 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
2/7 – Corbin, KY @ Corbin Arena
2/8 – St. Louis, MO @ The Factory at The District
2/10 – San Antonio, TX @, Tech Port Center + Arena
2/11 – Houston, TX @ Bayou
2/13 – Omaha, NE @ The Admiral Theater
2/14 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Criterion
2/15 – Albuquerque, NM @ Revel
2/17 – Riverside, CA @ Municipal Auditorium
2/18 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater

"Exodus are super stoked to announce that we will be touring with Anthrax and Black Label Society," said Exodus guitarist Gary Holt. "Touring with our long-time friends in Anthrax is always an epic good time, and now we get to tour with BLS and watch Zakk and company rip it up nightly too! Going to be awesome and we will be bringing our unique brand of audio violence to every city! Let the metal roll!"

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