“That’s been about 80% of the Chop Talks I’ve done, people wanting to talk about the old days. A guy wanted a Cliff Burton (Bassist – Metallica) story. Another said give me an evening at Ruthie’s Inn from beginning to end, you know what I mean?”

Now more than ever social media has put the artist and the fan on a level playing field. Interaction is at an all-time high as devotees tweet their way into public consciousness. Sometimes I wonder if this is a good thing. Mystique is what we all crave. Is the magician’s trick better if we know how it was performed? Does the perspective change if you know what makes your idol tick?

On the flip side, success can be contagious. Constructive criticism can be all one needs to achieve a dream.

Only time will tell if these digital connections will lead to positive stimulation. Until then, the gap between star and supporter will continue to close….

Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa is a metal icon who lives on the cutting edge. Blurring the line of fandom, his relevancy is continuously optimized in this cyber world. I recently had the opportunity to check in with Zetro, please enjoy some excerpts of my 4/28/17 interview where we discuss the new Exodus release, playing with Iron Maiden and Zetro’s Chop Talk.

David Halbe: Hello.

Steve Zetro Sousa: What’s up Dave, It’s Zetro.

Dave: Hey man, not much. Thank you so much for your time today.

Zetro: No problem.

Dave:  Awesome. Hey, I just wanted to check in with you really quick and see how things were going?

Zetro: Ok, what you got?

Dave: Blood In Blood Out came out in 2014, we’re talking three years now. I know you said the band worked slowly but is there any status on new material?

Zetro: We’ve got two songs ready. We’ll probably be in the studio to record October/November and it (the new record) will be out probably in March.

Dave: Kick ass! I am so glad to hear that. Is there a working title?

Zetro: Not anything I can say, I can just tell you this, I’ve already heard two songs.

Dave: Did you write any lyrics for this one?

Zetro: No. I haven’t written anything lyrically but I have heard two songs.

Dave: Understood. You’ve got some wicked live dates coming up – May 6th Mexico City with King Diamond – Day After Cinco De Mayo, that ought to be a blast.

Zetro: Right, that’s actually next weekend.

Dave: That’s gonna be packed huh?

Zetro: Yea, I heard it was a twenty thousand seat venue.

Dave: Holy shit!

Zetro: Yea and I guess the King (King Diamond) never played down there or hasn’t played there in a while.

Dave: Wow. That’s gonna be a show then huh?

Zetro: Yea. For sure.

Dave: You guys are all over the place. I saw you also had a couple of dates in the UK in June?

Zetro: Actually, we’re on a two-week festival run roughly from June 3rd through the 15th.  It’s Download Festival, Rock Hard Festival, Santa Maria Summer Fest, Dynamo Metal Fest and a few one off shows. There’s even a couple of shows in Germany, it’s just a quick two week run.

Dave: Then you’re opening for Maiden July 1st! How the hell did that happen?

Zetro: We use the same management agency, Eclectic (E.M.M.A -The Eclectic Music Management Agency). So I’m pretty sure that’s how that got worked out.  Even when I wasn’t in Exodus, a couple of years ago, they played with them (Iron Maiden) in South America. It was Exodus and Iron Maiden which is different than this show which is going have Ghost and Kamelot.

Dave: Right.

Zetro: We’ve done some festivals with them in the past but this show should be special. You know Steve Harris’ (Bassist – Iron Maiden) tech is a huge fucking Exodus fan so I don’t know, maybe that has something to do with it.

Dave: That’s awesome.  So is that gonna be a Gary show or Kragen (Kragen Lum – Guitar Exodus/Live) show?

Zetro: That’s a Gary show.

Dave: Cool. So tell me about Zetro’s Chop Talk.

Zetro: I’ve actually had a lot of participation. I got the idea from some friends of mine who were doing online music lessons. Basically what you’ve got to do is go to Paypal and pay first. I used to just let people schedule a time but some of them kept breaking the date. So I figure if they pay the money first they’ll be more apt to keep the appointment, you know?

Dave: Absolutely.

Zetro: So they pay then I get their Skype info and I call them. It’s supposed to be a thirty-minute session ($40.00) but you know me, I always go over. I haven’t had one yet that’s been under forty-five minuets. I never cut people off.

Dave: I believe you, I know how you are. So can people talk about whatever they want?

Zetro:  Sure.

Dave: So if they wanna get some advice or a lesson or maybe just talk about the old days?

Zetro: That’s been about 80% of the Chop Talks I’ve done, people wanting to talk about the old days. A guy wanted a Cliff Burton (Bassist – Metallica) story. Another said give me an evening at Ruthie’s Inn from beginning to end, you know what I mean? So things like that like I said in the commercial, I don’t want to talk about your girlfriend and I can’t get you signed but pretty much everything else is open.

Dave: Sounds like a great way to plug into the thrash archives via Zetro’s brain!

Zetro: (Laughs) You know I have a million stories. That’s what’s been so great about it people have been so personal and a lot of them have personal questions that they wanted to know. Different shit about writing a record or what I did on this or why I may have done this and they’re like man, I didn’t know that, wow.

Dave: This really takes fan interaction to the next level.

Zetro: Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be a musician to do it.

Dave: Yea.

Zetro: I had one guy from Hawaii call me and he was at band rehearsal and his dad just had questions about what they should do. They wanted to know what my process would be. I gave them a synopsis of what my process is, how to take it and attack it. So Chop Talk incorporates a lot of different things, some people just want stories, others want advice like how do I write lyrics? Where do I draw from? And I tell them how I do it.

Dave: That is really cool. It gets you involved in a multitude of ways.

Zetro: I agree.

Dave: Well, thank you brother I appreciate your time today.

Zetro: No problem my man. We’ll be talking again soon. There will be press to do.

Dave: The new material, I am excited.

Zetro: I talked to Gary (Gary Holt – Guitars Exodus) when Tom (Tom Hunting – Drums Exodus) got married two weeks ago.

Dave: Tom got married? Tell him congratulations!

Zetro: We were all there and so you know we had some time to sit down and talk. We haven’t all been in one place in what seemed like the longest time.

Dave: Right, yea.

Zetro: It was great for us to get together like that.

Dave: That’s what it’s all about. Well, hey happy birthday again – since I didn’t get to tell ya last week and I’m looking forward to hearing from you again soon.

Zetro: Thanks Dave! Keep in touch man and keep your ears open. We’re not going anywhere, we’re putting it all together and you’ll be hearing from us (Exodus) again really soon.

Dave: Hell yea man that’s what I like to hear, take care of yourself Zetro.

Zetro: You do the same.

Exodus are:

  • Gary Holt – Guitars
  • Tom Hunting – Drums
  • Steve ‘Zetro’ Sousa – Vocals
  • Lee Altus – Guitars
  • Jack Gibson – Bass
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