Gary Holt Explains Why He Quit Booze: “[During The Pandemic] I Was Drinking More Than I Ever Did On Tour”

Photo by Ralph Arvesen, via Wikipedia
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A couple of weeks ago, Exodus and former Slayer guitarist Gary Holt revealed that he was quitting drinking. The announcement was met with an outpouring of support from fans, who’d rather see Gary crushing riffs than beers. Now, Holt has opened up about the exact details of his turn to sobriety, and they’re not only sound, but they’re also an inspiration to anyone having a hard time with booze right now.

Speaking to the podcast Backstaged: The Devil In Metal, Gary confessed that it was life off-stage, not on, that really turned him from a fun-loving drinker to a problematic one.

“I always did have the best time [drinking] until fucking deep into this pandemic,” explained Holt. “And all of a sudden, I’m becoming a cranky drunk, but wasn’t a cranky drunk when I’m social drinking with friends. Like a lot of guys in the pandemic, [I’d be] sitting around at home, drinking by myself.”

“Drinking by myself prior to the pandemic meant cracking open two or three beers and watching the 49ers Game. I came home from tour and barely drank. And then now I was drinking more than I ever did on tour. And that’s why I quit.”

Gary went on to talk about how he started committing the ultimate sins of the out-of-control boozer: just drinking whatever was around, and buying booze solely for the ABV.

“I always mock people who drink White Claw,” said the guitarist. “Eight White Claws got left behind [after a party]. I drank every last one of them because I ran out of beer. It was just this fucking shit left over from the parties, and I drank it down to the last White Claw. I cracked one. Oh, this is horrible. This is terrible. Glug, glug — drink it down. Maybe this other flavor. No, that’s awful, too. Drink it down. And suddenly they’re all gone, all eight of them.

“I found myself purchasing my beers based on how fucking drunk they get me and then rationalize it that I only had four – four giant bottles, which, on a per ounce basis, adds up to … about eight beers and the alcohol content is super high.

“And that’s another thing when you’re like starting to flirt with alcoholism — you start justifying things. I don’t drink hard liquor. I have a bunch of tequila in the house. I don’t drink it at all, but I’m buying fucking beer based on how strong it is. And I view that as not being in control.”

You can check out the full episode below:

Good on Gary for making the change he knew he had to. If you or anyone you know is dealing with alcohol dependency and needs help, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Take care of yourself — no drink is worth living anything less than your best life.


Words by Chris Krovatin