EXODUS frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza, who has gone on record in the past as a supporter of former U.S. president Donald Trump, discussed the state of American politics in a new interview with Andrew McKaysmith of Australia’s “Scars And Guitars” podcast. After McKaysmith told Souza that he doesn’t think “there is any question” that Zetro‘s past “support for Trump was well placed given the shit show” that America has “as a president these days,” Souza said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “They disliked the person,” referring to the hatred that Trump elicited from most Democrats and even some Republicans. “What other leader in the world in history, if you tweet, would come right back at you and go, ‘Hey, fuck you’? Because [Trump] wasn’t a politician. He was already a millionaire and a very famous man — more famous than any of the presidents. So what did he have to gain?
“Gas has gone up a full dollar since he’s gone out of office,” Zetro continued. “Wood prices, you used to pay 28 dollars for a sheet of plywood; it’s 94 dollars for a sheet of plywood. So you tell me — you tell me what’s going on. And I feel that nobody’s really doing anything right now. I have not seen our government do anything; they’re just sitting back like they always do and just cruise. I thought [former U.S. president Barack] Obama did the same thing. He just got in office and, ‘I’m the president.’ ‘What are you doing today?’ ‘I’m just being the president. If something comes up, I’ll get with it.’ But I don’t see him getting out there. Fucking Trump, you heard his goddamn name every day, whether you liked it or not. He was trying to close up the borders and build a wall. People didn’t like that.
“Do you know, when I go to Australia or Mexico, I have to fucking get a visa to come into your countries. Why doesn’t anybody have to have a visa to come into my country? That’s bullshit. And that’s all he was trying to do. But people [said], ‘No, he’s a racist, and he doesn’t like Latin people.'”
Souza went on to say that he wasn’t always a dyed-in-the wool Republican. “Through my life — I’m 57 years old — and I’ve voted Democrat many, many times,” he said. “I vote for who the guy I think can do it. And over the last 10 years, I completely went right wing.”
Zetro also railed against the federal and local vaccine mandates that have been implemented across the U.S. over the past few weeks. “They’re forcing you to get a vaccine,” he said. “Do we live in a socialist society? What happened to ‘my body, my choice’? I don’t understand it. And it’s not about the vaccine not being effective or whatever; it’s about the choice that you’re telling me to. We’re playing a concert with TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL in Oakland, California [at the end of November]. You have to show proof of vaccination to even come in. I think that’s socialist right there. That’s bullshit. What about people that have AIDS? What if people have Hep C? How come they don’t have to show [any kind of proof]…? To me, it’s like anything else — why is this all of a sudden [something that] the government can mandate you?”
Souza clarified that he is not denying that COVID-19 exists and he is not denying that it’s transmissible. “Yes, it’s real. Yes, it kills people,” he said. “It’s no worse than the flu, though. You can’t shut the world down. You can’t ruin people’s businesses that they built. Little mom-and-pop donut shops, how are they supposed to survive? I’m just using that as an example. My take is you cannot run from something. You need to hit it head-on. And once you hit it head-on, you’re gonna beat it. You’re gonna beat it. [But instead they are, like], ‘Let’s keep locking it down. Let’s not do it anymore. Let’s [postpone] the festivals till next year, and then the next year, and then the next year.’ Just do it. What are you gonna do? Hide from this thing your whole life? It’s been two years now — two years. It’s fucking November. The shit hit in fucking December ’19. I know ’cause I was in Europe when it went down. I had to fly home in the beginning of March .
“Get it together, people,” he concluded. “I just don’t think our governments or our officials or the heads of the world really know what they’re doing or know what to do with this. I wish they would just say they don’t instead of trying to act like they do.”
Two months ago, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt told The Metal Voice that his own band is “comprised of varying different political ideologies, and we’re best friends. The world has forgotten how to do that,” he said. “We’re so divided. And the powers that be want us divided. And that’s on both sides — that’s not just a hard-right or hard-left thing.”
Back in April 2020, Holt spoke in more detail about the different political opinions within the EXODUS camp, telling the “No Fuckin’ Regrets With Robb Flynn” podcast: “Everybody knows I’m liberal on hella shit, but I’m also super conservative on hella shit too. And those are just my own opinions, and I leave them off my [social media] ’cause it starts a huge fight. People are, like, ‘Ah, liberal snowflake EXODUS.’ And I’m, like, motherfucker, three-fifths of EXODUS are Trump-loving Republicans — the majority of the band. Lee [Altus, guitar], Jack [Gibson, bass] and Zetro — it’s full-on.”
Three years ago, Souza said that he supported then-President Donald Trump, explaining in an interview: “The economy in the United States… the unemployment is the lowest it’s ever been in the history of the United States. I think [Trump] making the attempt to go to meet [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un, I think that’s great — that’s what you need to do. People need to touch together, not do it through channels.”
In a 2016 interview, Holt ripped Trump, saying: “You can’t believe anything he says, ’cause he’s a serial liar… He won’t even condemn David Duke‘s support. He pretended he doesn’t know who he is… That was your moment, Donald Trump, to say… you know, to condemn the man, basically, but you pretended you were just ignorant of who he was, ’cause you don’t wanna fuck with that vote. There are some fucking hillbillies out there who you want voting for you.”
Holt went on to say that he was “in many ways a Republican” but that he hadn’t been able to find “a candidate up there who wasn’t walked around on a leash by the Christian evangelicals, because they’re the death of the conservative movement anyway. And if they just stay out of women’s wombs and just actually concentrate on running a country and not being beholden to those people, I would vote Republican in a second.”
Holt added that he had had productive discussions about the political situation with his bandmates. “I know people, including my own bandmembers in EXODUS, who, you might not agree with them, but I’d love to see some uptight, metal-hating, I-know-everything-about-politics dude go up against Jack Gibson in an argument,” he said. “It might come to a draw. It’s a debate — like, if you disagree with him, you’re not gonna win — but he knows his fucking facts. And we’re not all idiots. We actually do know what’s going on in the world around us.”
EXODUS‘s new album, “Persona Non Grata”, will be released on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records.