Helsinki 2011

(c) Exodus Official

"This is what we do and what makes us happy"

Suiciderock: How does it feel to be back in Finland? Itís not your first time around?
Tom: We love it. The last time we visited Finland was when we played at the Provinssirock festival but that was years ago. Itís always something different when we come to Finland. I havenít played a club show for a long time. Unfortunately we didnít have the chance to see something from the city. We have just seen the country side on our way from Turku to Helsinki today. We played a gig for the Sweden Rock festival on the boat between Sweden and Finland two nights ago. That was a great party. It was such a blur and all went so fast. We checked in at the boat, had dinner, played the gig, had a nice party afterwards and than it was already time to leave the boat again. But it was fantastic. We had fun so far.

Suiciderock: You started back in 1982 with a three Ė song demo. Did you expect or did you dare to dream about what was going to happen some years later?
Tom: Fuck no, we didnít. I mean I never thought that this is going to happen. Itís amazing, I never thought that I might be sitting in Helsinki talking to you in 2011. Itís good, Iím happy that we do what we do. I mean we donít make tons of money doing what we do, but we have the best time ever. During the years we got friends and an extended family all over the world. Thatís pretty awesome. There is no other job you could do that gives you this kind of a experience. I myself couldnít imagine any other job that could have brought me to a place like Helsinki for example. We had the opportunity to play in places like East Germany for example. Itís just great.

Suiciderock: Itís said that many Americans donít know anything about Europe. Would you agree with that?
Tom: In my opinion many Americans donít know anything about the rest of the world so you are absolutely right saying that. When we went to play a gig in Brazil and I told my friends about that, they believed that the people out there might still be dressed in leaves and wear bones in their nose or whatever. Itís quite shocking when you hear that. That was years ago and meanwhile I have educated them, of course. *smiles*

Suiciderock: Gary, you once said that you are not happy unless you see someone out there in the pit bleeding and smiling. How often does that actually happen?
Tom: UffÖ I think there is blood pretty much every night. Our gig is not a sit down show, you know? As long as nobody gets seriously injured itís ok. There where a couple of big injuries before but I think you are not in danger of dying at our gigs. So all good so far. The pit is a dangerous place, I never go in there myself when Iím at a gig. You know I play drums so Iím hidden behind my drums and I donít happen to see that much whatís going on in there. But after the show my band mates always come and tell me what happened in the audience. Shit, Iím always in my little cockpit trying to do my job and they get to see all the action. I see a little bit of stuff though. I hope to see a little craziness tonight as well. I think that Helsinki will provide that for us.

Suiciderock: In April you had the honour to open for Iron Maiden in Chile. You have been quite excited about that. How did the idea to open up for the come up?
Tom: That was great. That was my birthday, too. That was the best present ever. I mean 65.000 people sang "Happy Birthday" for me, that was something you canít compare to anything else. It was awesome. I can make a big fat mark behind my wish list when it comes to playing with Iron Maiden. We also played a gig with Judas Priest in Poland recently. That was also pretty cool. Another check on the wish list.

Suiciderock: Iron Maiden and Judas Priest are just two bands to name you have been playing with. Youíve also played with many big names like Death Angel, Testament, Anthrax, Slayer. Is there free spot on the wish list?
Tom: Hm, well I donít know maybe it would be cool to tour with Metallica. I think that would be a lot of fun to tour with the guys.

Suiciderock: How did you end up playing as support for Maiden?
Tom: Our promoter had the idea for it. The show was booked almost a year before it took place. It was a blast for the people there as well. The gig was held in a stadium, something like a soccer stadium or whatever and they never had a rock show there before so it was a great thing for the audience and for us as well. We did the sound check and after that the other guys left back to the hotel. I decided to stay to see the whole crowd coming in. When they opened the gates it was crazy. People just run in, they even let dogs into the stadium. It was my birthday and I wanted to keep it in mind as something very special and it turned out to be very very special indeed.

Suiciderock: Gary Hold also happened to fill in for Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman for some shows. Was it a problem for the band when Gary left to fill in for Jeff?
Tom: It wasnít a problem for us at all. I think it was great that Gary got the chance to do that. He played with Slayer and Rob Zombie. I mean I wouldnít say no when some band that size asks me to join them for a while. And Iím pretty sure the rest of the band would also support me doing this. Gary always comes back to Exodus. This is what we do and what makes up happy. I support whatever anybody in my band does. I mean musical wise. I also play in a Hill Billy band as side but Exodus is us.

Suiciderock: Like all bands out there you had many ups and downs during all this time together as a band. Your singer died from a stroke in 2002,  your long time second vocalist left the band while being on tour, your guitar player Rick left the band due to addiction problems. How did you deal with al this hard situations?
Tom: Of course, it is hard. I mean we still didnít stop partying after Paul died. We were just a mess. Gary was the first one in the band who stopped doing drugs and I followed a year after that. It was really hard and it was kind of a sign for us. We are still getting drunk after the shows, we just left the drugs away. What I mean is that you always have to learn something out of the disasters you have to face. Paul had three strokes. The first one was mild, the second one changed the way how he spoke. When this happened we didnít get it as we were all high. His teeth were quite bad so we thought he had some kind of dental problem and thatís the reason why he speaks the way he does. The third stroke took his life away. I learned about having strokes after he died.

Suiciderock: Did you ever consider to quit the band after tragedies like that?
Tom: I left the band three times. *smiles* Iím the newest member and the oldest at the same time. When I left I felt like I had some kind of health problems. I made some changes in my way of living and when the guys called me back in 2006 I was very excited about getting back on the road with this band.  Itís all good now, Iím happy now. I mean I feel like this is what I want to do and it just feels awesome to be in this band.

Suiciderock: No plans to leave a fourth time?
Tom: Haha, no, not at the moment. Ok, I donít want to be one of this guys whoís still on stage with super grey hair and so on. I want to retire one day. I think we still rock pretty hard so there is still a plenty of time before that happens.

Suiciderock: Your future plans for the band?
Tom: Am, I think we gonna get very busy writing an new album in spring. We usually do our recordings during the summer time. Whenever the music and the songs are ready.

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