Nathan Smith of HoustonPress.com recently conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the May 2013 death of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman:
Araya: “It was just as shocking to me. We all have issues with vices in life, but I didn’t know they were to that extent with his health. It was a shocking thing to get a phone call saying, ‘Hey, Jeff passed away this morning,’ and I’m like, ‘What?! I talked to him a few days ago, and everything was fine!'”
On how Hanneman’s death has changed his outlook on the band:
Araya: “Before, there was always hope that [Hanneman] would return. It wasn’t a question of returning, it was a question of when he was returning. After he passed and we went to Europe to do that tour maybe a month later, it was… it was different. People don’t realize that he had a major creative role in this band and in this new music we called thrash metal.
“I still find myself having to tell myself now that he’s passed that he’s not going to be a part of the band anymore. So it changes your attitude; it changes your mood about things. It changes your outlook on quite a bit.”
On whether SLAYER will continue beyond the current tour:
Araya: “That’s something that me and Kerry [King, guitar] have to sit down and communicate our thoughts about. I have my feelings and my thoughts, and I need to share them with Kerry. That’s what’s going to happen on this trip. We need to sit down and figure out what we want to do and how to move forward.”
On the likelihood of Jeff’s leftover material being used on SLAYER’s next album: