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Exodus lead singer
calls the 209 home

TThe rock-n-roll life looks a bit different than it once did for Bay Area native and heavy metal artist Steven “Zetro” Souza. The lead singer of well-known metal band Exodus now happily calls the 209 home.

More commonly known among metal fans as “Zetro,” it is a nickname that was established in his teens, and stuck with him into his rock-n-roll career. The musician shared he said good-bye to his longtime home base of Dublin in 2021 for a bit more quiet and a much smaller town in the 209.

“I’m not necessarily recognized,” he said of his life in the 209. “We’ve had it happen a couple times, it happens but it’s not overly so. I’m very approachable to any of the fans.”

With both an appreciation for his fans, as well as music, Zetro shared he feels grateful to still be rocking the stage.

“The whole spirit of Rock ‘n Roll is kind of diminished, Heavy Metal has never lost that,” he shared. “Heavy Metal music is so; the crowd becomes as much a part of the show as the band is.”

A headlining set for the metal band can last from an hour, fifteen to an hour, twenty minutes of non-stop head banging, mosh pitting, crowd surfing fun. A fact which has not changed through the decades and requires a lot from the band physically.

“I guess when I can’t do it at that level anymore, I guess I’ll be able to tell myself honestly,” the lead singer stated, adding that he typically leaves the stage after each set dripping wet from sweat. “I’m 60 and I’m killing it now better than I’ve ever killed it.

“Crowds are getting bigger now for some reason, because I guess I’m aging. I guess that’s the whole thing,” he said, chuckling.

Zetro started early on with an Alameda-based band, Legacy, and in 1986 Bill Graham Management, which managed both Legacy and Exodus, contacted him. Exodus was in need of a lead singer and he was the guy.

His first record came out at the age of 22 and then Grunge music became popular. As the Seattle inspired music movement grew, the lead singer said their industry was affected. With a wife and children to support, he was able – with the help of his brother – to join the Carpenters Union and build a career in that field.

In 2002, while raising a young family, Zetro returned to the band for a quick two years.

“It seemed every time I went on tour, I came home with less money than if I worked. I had a decent savings account and it was getting depleted,” he said of juggling touring with the carpentry business and family life. 

But in 2014 that would change for good. Returning to Exodus they demo’d the album ‘Blood In, Blood Out’ and it stuck.

“I even told my boss, keep my tools warm for six months. My last episode with these guys turned into a financial nightmare for me and I don’t want that,” he shared of his apprehension regarding going back out on the road. “Then after the first tour we did, I was like … They learned how to make money.” 

Zetro has remained with Exodus ever since, as well as playing with an AC/DC tribute band, a YouTube channel and serving as the voice of the opening song for the newly released Creature Feature.

With all this keeping him busy and no longer needing to work in the Bay, the 209 has suited him perfectly.

“I’ve been sitting in traffic since I was 16 years old and I’m done with it,” he said. “Since I don’t have to go anywhere, I’m cool here. I’m comfortable here.”

He also appreciates the attitude he has encountered settling in to Central Valley life.

“The mentality. It’s just the mentality is different. You walk in a store and people say ‘hi how are you doing?’,” he continued. “It’s just not like that in the Bay Area any longer.”

And while he may no longer be a fan of the commute or the hustle and bustle of the place he once called home, Zetro still loves to rock.

And the gigs are still there. Exodus will tour South America in April and return to the recording studio sometime in May. The vinyl is set to release in late fall or early 2025.

“I work, I work at it every day. It’s not something that you take for granted,” he said of his voice and art.

“What I do … I can do this as long as I can do this, because I’m still good,” he said, noting he maintains a healthy lifestyle with no alcohol or hard drugs. “Music is forever. As long as Exodus is still putting out good stuff, there’s going to be an audience for that. Hence the Stones, hence the Who, hence whoever. We’re still carrying it; we can still deliver so it doesn’t matter.”

When he’s not on the road, the heavy metal singer/songwriter can be found taking long walks around his adopted Oakdale hometown, going to a movie in the middle of the day, enjoying some pinball in his home arcade or grabbing some oysters at Lagorio’s in Farmington.

“I’ve been all over the world, 160 countries and (those are) the best oysters you can get. Whatever they do, whatever that sauce is, they nailed it,” he stated of the oysters available at Lagorio’s Grill and Bar, tucked in along Highway 4 in rural San Joaquin County.

“I like this area,” Zetro summarized. “It’s very cool and laid back.”