BALOFF MEMORIES BY KIRK HAMMETT
when I was about 18 years old I was looking to form a band based
on all my favorite hard rock bands, cuz back then heavy metal
was something that wasn't exactly heavy metal. Back then it was
called hard rock, cuz there weren't really many bands collection
bands who were known as heavy metal bands, back then they were
known as hard rock bands. I was looking to form a band based on
my favorite band UFO, and I was trying to find musicians who were
into the same stuff I was, UFO, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Judas
Priest, Venom. So one night I was at a party in Berkeley and I
saw this guy, and he had an Iron Maiden button on, and I came
up to him and I said, "Hey man! Are you into Iron Maiden?"
He goes, "Oh they rule!" I go, "What's your name?"
He goes, "My name's Paul Baloff." I go, "Ever heard
of UFO?" He goes, "Yeah, I've heard of UFO," and
started singing 'Rock Bottom' to me. And 'Rock Bottom' was one
of the songs I was interested in covering in my band.
I said, "Well hey man, give me your number and we'll jam."
And so he gave me his number and the next day he came down and
he sang with the early version of Exodus, and yes, sang 'Rock
Bottom.' And you know, he didn't have the best voice in the world
but he had tons of charisma, was the funniest guy in the world,
he knew the music and he knew what we were shooting for
and that was good enough for me.
great thing about Paul was when we played our first show, a Metal
Monday at the Old Waldorf, it was actually the first time we had
played with Metallica too. I was just so blown away by how well
he worked the stage, I mean, for someone who had very little band
or stage experience, he really knew what he was doing and felt
very comfortable on stage. He was just a great frontman, and like
I said, you know, for all the short-comings he had in the vocal
department, he made up for it in pure charisma. He said the funniest
things on stage and was just one of the funniest guys I knew.
think one of the best memories I have of Paul was one night when
we were sitting around in his car drinking vodka, straight from
the bottle, listening to Venom and Mercyful Fate and we were drunk
and we were just saying how much we loved each other and how great
it was to finally have a band playing the type of music we wanted
to play. And we all of a sudden decided that we should just immortalize
it, and so someone whipped out a razor blade and we started cutting
up our hands. In fact, there's my scar right there if you can
see it (points to scar -ed). Can you see that scar? Anyway, I
cut my hand, Gary Holt cut his hand, Tom Hunting cut his hand
and Paul Baloff cut his hand and we all rubbed the blood together
and we were all bonded by blood
and shortly after that came
the song 'Bonded By Blood,'
yeah, that scar right there is in memory of Paul Baloff now. He
was just a great guy, a great person, and he was one of the most
extreme frontmen I knew or I should say he grew to be one of the
most extreme frontmen in metal, I think. If you weren't totally
metal you would be ostracized by Paul from the stage. He would
point people out and say, "You're a fag get the hell out
of here," or "That guy's not banging. Kick his ass."
He kind of fostered that whole attitude of being just really extreme
and he lived for metal.
Friday I got a call from my brother in law saying that he was
in the hospital, so I called the hospital. Actually I got a hold
of Rick Hunolt, who was the other guitar player in Exodus along
with Gary (Holt) and he told me that Paul just went for a bike
ride, came back, his girlfriend went down to lock up the bikes
and by the time she came back up he was already in the throws
of a seizure. So they called 911, they brought him to the hospital
and he was already deep in it and by the time I spoke to Rick
he said there was no brain activity. So I pretty much knew that
when that happens there's no turning back, there's only one-way
you know it's a big loss, at least in my life it is, because Paul
set me on my way to a certain extent. He was the one missing link
in my first metal band and when I had found him, I thought to
myself, "All we can go is up from here." He was just
an amazingly funny guy, very intelligent, very loyal, he would
do anything for his friends.
just a shame and I'll miss him, but at least we have the first
Exodus album, thank God for that!
of my favorite Paul Baloff lines was, when he was introducing
an Exodus song on their last live album; the line went 'This song
is older than shit, heavier than time.' I thought that was such
a great line.
That's the way I like to think of him
heavier than time.
See ya Paul.
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