Jay Nanda of San Antonio Metal Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with EXODUS and GENERATION KILL singer Rob Dukes. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: Fans who know you strictly from EXODUS will get to hear [GENERATION KILL] songs that still keep your vocal style at times while often including a melodic side, without compromising the band's heaviness, such as in "Prophets of War", "Death Comes Calling" and "There Is No Hope". Is mixing it up a nice change of pace for you?
Dukes: Absolutely. Not to take anything from EXODUS. I love doing it. I mean, it's fucking killer. But EXODUS is a thrash band, pure and simple, and very aggressive, and that's what I do there. I listen to more diverse music, so to be able to bring that into the fold is the object of the whole thing. I didn't want to start another thrash band, you know? Me and Rob Moschetti both grew up on [IRON] MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH, early [JUDAS] PRIEST. We surrounded ourselves with guys who like the same stuff, and we just fucking went out and wrote songs that — you know, we're not reinventing the wheel here. So we just basically wrote songs that we like, that we wanted to hear. Not only play but songs we wanted to hear. So we stole a little bit from here, we stole a little bit from there. It wasn't like we sat down and said, "Let's steal from these albums." But those are the albums that shaped me as a person. Like when I was a kid, those first two IRON MAIDEN albums, SABBATH albums and early PRIEST were the stuff that I grew up on. And RUSH, PINK FLOYD — bands of that era. I appreciate you saying that it doesn't lose anything. Even though it's got some mellow stuff, it's actually dark and cool and seemed to fit. If it didn't fit, we wouldn't have done it, you know what I mean?
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: What's the latest with EXODUS? I'm sure with Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist] filling in for SLAYER for obvious circumstances, his participation has taken place a lot longer than you guys probably anticipated. How has that affected EXODUS going forward?
Dukes: Well, we haven't toured as much. That's apparent. We've got way more down time than we're used to and had in the last 10 years, so that's one aspect I'm not really a big fan of. But that's how we all make our living, so we had to go out without him. It was what it was. Wish he was there, but listen, the guy's in SLAYER. I'm not going to begrudge him for that. That's awesome for him, and I know he's having fun doing it. I think eventually, when we do this new album which we're doing in February, he'll find a way to do both. There's a lot of people who do multiple things in life. Financially, it'll be good for him to have two incomes. I think we're going to find a way in 2014 to make it all happen.
San Antonio Metal Music Examiner: I remember interviewing him a couple years ago by phone, and Gary was telling me how much heavier he thinks [EXODUS] has become since you took over on vocals compared to the previous singers. I've gotta agree. I don't know how you feel about that, but a lot of bands these days that have been around a long time kind of level off or don't get as heavier, and obviously you can't say that about EXODUS. You guys just seem to be heavier and crunchier with every record.
Dukes: Yeah, I think so, man. I hope I'm carrying the torch well. I try not to read into the comments on fucking Blabbermouth and all the fucking haters. There's certain people that won't let go of the past. I realize, for the past, that's what it is for them. They love the time in the past, and I get it. Not everything is better than the original, and I never claimed to be. I claim to be doing this. Paul [Baloff, original EXODUS singer] died, unfortunately, so he's not here. So I'm carrying the torch. Zetro [Souza, former EXODUS singer] fucking quit. He fucking walked in one day — he didn't even walk in. He just didn't answer his phone and said, "I'm not doing this anymore." And he quit. And now he wants back. You know what? I think we're heavier. The first album, "Bonded By Blood", was so fucking dark, dude. Lyrically and just darkness. And then I think they went in a direction that kind of took away the darkness of it. By the time I joined, they were back into the dark. They were moving back in that direction. I stepped in and I said, "I'll carry the torch. I'll fucking do it." For the people that don't fucking like it, go fuck yourself. That's all I got for you. Fuck you, you know what I mean?