Gary Holt (musician)

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Gary Holt
Holt performing with Slayer in 2014
Holt performing with Slayer in 2014
Background information
Birth nameGary Wayne Holt
Born (1964-05-04) May 4, 1964 (age 60)
San Pablo, California, U.S.
GenresThrash metal
  • Musician
  • songwriter
Years active1981–present
Member ofExodus, Slayer

Gary Wayne Holt (born May 4, 1964) is an American musician from the San Francisco Bay Area.[1] He is the guitarist, bandleader, and main songwriter for thrash metal band Exodus, and has also been a member of Slayer from 2011 to 2019 and again since 2024, initially joining as a temporary guitarist in place of Jeff Hanneman, and as a permanent guitarist after Hanneman's death in May 2013.


Slayer and Megadeth, European Carnage Tour 2011


After guitarist Tim Agnello left Exodus in 1981, Holt joined the band and has been the main songwriter and the most senior member of the group ever since. Following Kirk Hammett's 1983 departure from Exodus to join Metallica, Holt kept the band going and for many years, he and Rick Hunolt were referred to as the Exodus' "H-Team" guitar players. Holt is the only member of Exodus who has played on every album.


On February 12, 2011, it was announced that Holt would be temporarily filling in for Jeff Hanneman in the band Slayer. Holt also played with Slayer for the Big 4 Concert in Indio, California on April 23, 2011, as well as Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin, Texas on November 6, 2011. Holt was later confirmed to be a permanent member of Slayer, following Hanneman's death on May 2, 2013, and stayed with the band until their split, following the conclusion of their 2018–2019 farewell tour.[2] He also recorded guitar tracks on Slayer's 2015 album Repentless, but did not have any writing contributions on the album,[3] except for guitar solos.

Other work[edit]

In October 2008, Holt released an instructional guitar video called "A Lesson in Guitar Violence". He also produced Warbringer's second album, Waking into Nightmares.[4] In 2019 he was included on "Cheapside Sloggers", a song on Volbeat's Rewind, Replay, Rebound.[5]


Holt endorses ESP Guitars as of September 2014 and has a signature version of the Eclipse model, ending his relationship with Schecter Guitar Research, where he previously had various signature models. He has also used Ibanez, B.C. Rich, Jackson Guitars, Bernie Rico Jr., and Yamaha guitars.

For amplification, he currently uses a Marshall Silver Jubilee in Slayer and an ENGL Savage 120 in Exodus as well as a Kemper Profiling amp. In the past, he has used a modified Marshall JCM800, Mesa Boogie Mark III, Marshall JVM, Peavey Triple XXX, and ENGL Savage 120. Before using the Silver Jubilee, DSL100H and Marshall JVM amps with Slayer, Holt made use of Jeff Hanneman's touring rack.

Musical influences[edit]

Holt performing in 2019

Holt's main guitar influences are Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Angus Young, Tony Iommi, Uli Jon Roth, Matthias Jabs and Ted Nugent.[6][7] His favorite bands include Venom, Motörhead, Black Sabbath, early Iron Maiden and Judas Priest.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Outside of music, Holt enjoys foreign and period films.[8]

According to Holt, the track "War Is My Shepherd" on the album Tempo of the Damned is a treatise of America's "pro-God" and "pro-war" stance and how he feels the two beliefs are incompatible with each other.[9]

Holt endorsed Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election, stating, "I used to have a lot of respect for McCain, but he realized after the dirty defeat that he suffered at the hands of George W. Bush in the South Carolina primary in the (2000) election that he can only get elected if he plays the Karl Rove tactic b.s. He's doing it. It's just one debunked lie after the other. He's the kind of guy who will tell you the sky is red, you look up and it's blue, and he won't admit he's wrong. He's playing dirty politics. Palin is just terrifying, the thought of this lady being a heart attack away from having the nuclear codes. She's crazy and she's dumb."[8]

In the 2004 election, Holt vouched for John Kerry, but conceded that "they're all dirty crooks, all politicians. But at least (Kerry) wasn't a coward. He fought in Vietnam whereas George W. Bush Jr. was a draft dodger."[9]

In 2017, he referred to President Donald Trump as a "serial liar" and an "embarrassment to this country, this world, and everyone living in it."[10]

Holt is an atheist.[11] In October 2017, he became a vegan.[12]

On December 17, 2018, his father Billie Charles Holt (born July 6, 1933) died.[13]

On March 18, 2020, Holt began exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19.[14] By March 31, 2020, he had tested positive for the virus, although by then he had already recovered.[15]





  • 1990: Asylum (Demo)




Laughing Dead

  • 1990: Demo 1990 (Demo)

Metal Allegiance

  • 2015: Metal Allegiance [Gift of Pain]


  • 1991: Epidemic


  • 1998: Under (EP)




  1. ^ Smyers, Darryl (September 7, 2010). "Q&A: Exodus' Gary Holt On Re-Recording, Wikipedia and Coping With Bandmate Deaths". Dallas Observer. Archived from the original on April 17, 2024. Retrieved April 17, 2024.
  2. ^ "GARY HOLT: I Am 'Forever Honored To Have Been A Part Of' SLAYER". December 2, 2019. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Kerry King: 'Fans Aren't Ready for Gary Holt to Contribute Music to Slayer' | Music News @". Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  4. ^ "Warbringer Waking into Nightmares Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Spencer (July 18, 2019). "Kids take over for Volbeat in video for new song "Cheapside Sloggers" featuring Slayer's Gary Holt: Watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  6. ^ a b [1] Archived October 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Michael Schenker - Metal Master Kingdom Interview". January 17, 2018. Retrieved August 19, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Gary Holt Interview – Exodus Interview". Archived from the original on August 6, 2010. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  9. ^ a b "Interview with Guitarist of EXODUS – GARY HOLT". Retrieved July 29, 2014.
  10. ^ "SLAYER's TOM ARAYA: America Has Become 'A Nation Of Crybabies'". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. April 17, 2017.
  11. ^ Hartmann, Graham (April 8, 2015). "Exodus / Slayer's Gary Holt - Wikipedia: Fact or Fiction". Loudwire. Retrieved November 18, 2016.
  12. ^ Meltdown (May 23, 2018). "Radio Chatter with Slayer/Exodus guitarist Gary Holt" (Podcast). WRIF. Event occurs at 18:08-19:12. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved June 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Gary Holt on Instagram: "Today I lost my hero, the greatest man I've ever known or will know. Billie Charles Holt passed away this evening, with my mom and all his…"". Instagram. Archived from the original on December 24, 2021.
  14. ^ "EXODUS/SLAYER Guitarist GARY HOLT Says He Is Exhibiting 'All The Symptoms' Of COVID-19". March 18, 2020. Retrieved March 18, 2020.
  15. ^ "EXODUS/SLAYER Guitarist GARY HOLT Officially Tests Positive For COVID-19". March 31, 2020. Retrieved April 1, 2020.

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