Exodus Guitarist Gary Holt Talks about Why He Quit Drinking

Gary Holt

Gary Holt was born in 1964 in San Francisco. His real name is Gary Wayne. He is a guitarist, a songwriter, and a bandleader. He is in a band known as Exodus, although he also joined another band known as Slayer in 2013 to replace Jeff Hanne. Holt is a celebrated musician, and as a sign of his fame, he endorsed former President Barak Obama during his presidential election in 2008. He is the only member of his band who has played in every album showing his value in the band. Gary’s commitment to the band is unmatched where he has gone ahead even to release an instrumental guitar video. However, despite the band’s successes, it still has had its share of internal problems, some of which have been concerning the use of drugs. On June 15, 2020, Gary announced quitting alcohol on social media, which caught many of his fans by surprise and disbelief. Several reasons came out as to why he took that bold step, as discussed below.

Behavior Symptomatic of Alcohol

Gary Holt said that he started seeing signs which are connected to alcoholism. Those signs included the inability to fulfill his marital obligations, drinking a lot of beer with the justification that it had low alcohol content, buying alcohol not on a taste basis but how it got him drunk, and drinking alcohol because it excited his emotions. Gary felt these were not good signs in that though he was not a full-blown alcoholic, this could lead to addiction. He actually stated that he wanted to be in control, but he sometimes found him starting with one or two bottles and finally ended up even taking 12 bottles of beer. He also admitted that his level of alcohol consumption varied from one day to the next and that he could sit at home and only think of drinking. This was not a sign he liked. He, therefore, had to do the needful, which was to quit drinking before it was too late.

Health Problems

Gary Holt realized that alcohol was becoming a significant problem for him as a guitarist. It was not now possible to play due to his elbow pains, whose cause was alcoholism. One of the effects of alcoholism is dehydrating the body, depriving it of necessary nutrients either directly or indirectly, which causes hangovers and compromised immune systems, causing inflammations. These kinds of pains in joints that Gary was experiencing are associated with alcoholism and mostly for those with existing joint pain as alcohol is known to aggravate the problem, according to rebcenter.net. Another health-related issue was that Gary tested positive for COVID 19, which Gary suspected to have contracted during their Europe tour for it was immediately after the tour. Since he had previously confessed in such tours, it involved drinking sprees. It is possible that drinking alcohol was one of the contributing factors. Gary then had to decide on quitting drinking for the sake of his health.


Gary needed to be sober for his band since he was a songwriter and a guitarist who the band relied on as its leader. He has been the only consistent member of the band playing guitar in every album. He needed to stop drinking as it hindered what he loved most: playing the guitar and performing. The problem he was having of aching elbow made him stop playing guitar for over six months. There was, therefore, this hard choice to make either to let his talent and career go down to drain or let go of alcoholism for his career to flourish again. Since quitting drinking Gary has seen the fruits of his decision as he has become more focused, as evidenced by the new album they have produced under his leadership and has had good reception by fans.


Due to his taking alcohol in large numbers, Gary Holt admitted that he had become miserable before his wife, who also used to drink alcohol, but had quit 8 years before him. Gary Holt wanted to be a responsible and loving husband to his wife, who had become a role model to him. The lifestyle of parties and tours contributed to him taking more alcohol. Therefore, during the COVID 19 pandemic, when there was limited movement, he expected to have time with his wife. However, due to the boredom of being at home doing nothing, he ended up drinking more and more, and therefore time had now come to decide on quitting and pay for the time he had been away from his wife.

Avoid Alcohol-Related Problems

According to loudwire.com, Gary felt that unlike before, when drinking was fun, it had gradually taken over, and therefore he needed to sober up. When a person becomes a habitual drunkard, they end up being involved in other irresponsible behaviors since they are under its control. Gary said that though he had quit drugs in the ’90s and marijuana in 2002, he still took a little of his wife’s cannabis oil once in a while. This is one of the characteristics of alcoholism, where drinking leads to abuse of other drugs. Therefore by quitting alcohol, he believed it would also solve such temptations.

Desire To Do Things Differently

Gary said he had taken alcohol for a long time from his own admission, according to blabbermouth.net, it was time to do things in a better way. He described an event about 40 years ago where his friends had to go the long length of getting free beer. In this incident, when a liquor joint got burned down, they risked their lives by scavenging through the rubble of the building where their body would have been hurt. What was even worse, they had to get beer from bottles that had melted caps which was also a risk to their own health. In another latest case where there was a birthday party in his house, he again found himself drinking leftovers when he ran out of beer. This was shameful as the brand he was taking was the same kind he used to mock those who took it.

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