EXODUS's Steve "Zetro" Souza talked to The Razor's Edge about his band's decision to postpone the North American leg of its "The Bay Strikes Back Tour" to 2022. The 30-date trek — also featuring TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL — was originally scheduled to kick off on October 6 at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California and make stops in Austin, New York, and Detroit before concluding on November 27 at The Fox in Oakland.
Speaking about EXODUS's plans to play shows in support of its new album, "Persona Non Grata", which will be released later this month, Zetro said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think what we're gonna try to do is do regional stuff. There are areas that in the United States especially that are not necessarily playing by the rules that other places are — the South especially. Florida, Alabama — [I] love you, guys. There's places to go play where the restrictions aren't as stringent as, say, here in California. In California, you cannot go — in San Francisco [and] Oakland, you cannot go to a movie, you cannot go to a concert, you cannot go to anything without showing proof of vaccinations. Not just proof of a negative test — proof of vaccination. So, there's a lot of people torn about the Constitution and 'the government tells us what to do' — there's a lot of that going back and forth.
"For now, we're playing it by ear," he continued. "For now, we're just gonna play it by ear and just hopefully something will pop up. But I think the next actual thing other than… We're gonna play [at the end of November] here in Oakland with 'The Bay Strikes Back Tour'; that was the only thing that was safe. And then the next thing will be April 9th with 'The Bay Strikes Back Tour', unless we do something in January, February, March — which I'm told we are. Again, we're playing it by ear. Who knows? It changes every day."
"The Bay Strikes Back Tour" dates have been rebooked beginning in April and will include additional cities not originally scheduled for the tour.
Earlier this month, Souza railed against the federal and local vaccine mandates that have been implemented across the U.S. over the past few weeks, telling Australia's "Scars And Guitars" podcast: "They're forcing you to get a vaccine. 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."
"Persona Non Grata" will be released on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records.