On October 9, Peter Atkinson of Metal-Rules.com conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal-Rules.com: Are you interested in seeing people’s reactions here to the new SLAYER, the new old SLAYER, or whatever people think it is?
Tom: [laughs] I don’t know. They’ve experienced SLAYER with Gary [Holt, guitar], and everybody’s experienced SLAYER with Paul [Bostaph, drums] because Paul was part of the band for quite a few years, so it’ll be time for everybody to get reacquainted with Paul and acclimated to this lineup. Gary has been playing with us for two years now, if you can believe that. People have seen the various pieces, just not all together. Paul‘s always been a friend. When he left, it was on his terms, and it was no bad feelings at all. Paul felt he needed to move on and it wasn’t on bad terms and to have him back and playing in the band is awesome. It’s like we’re taking up where we left off with Paul and he’s amazing. He’s full of energy, he’s excited to be back and he’s excited to be part of SLAYER again. So it makes for very energetic shows and very exciting times. This is gonna be good. Like I said, everybody is going to be reacquainted with Paul and everybody knows Gary has been filling in, now it’s just a whole different circumstance knowing that Jeff [Hanneman, guitar] has passed. I’m sure everyone will enjoy it. Paul is very energetic and excited, which makes everybody else excited. It’ll be good and it will allow closure for everybody.
Metal-Rules.com: How is Gary dealing with all this. He’s in odd position — plus there’s still EXODUS and I wonder if he’s itching to get back to that, since it’s his baby?
Tom: He’s managing. He still has EXODUS. Actually apparently in his time off, he’s been writing new material, so he’s putting together material for a new EXODUS album and taking care of that. But yeah, at some point, once we get this tour put aside, me and Kerry [King, guitar] are going to have to sit down and take care of SLAYER business and figure out how we’re going to handle this. But Gary has been doing an amazing job. He’s a devoted friend, obviously, to continue doing what he’s been doing, because it’s been asking a lot of him. He’s been great at this, he’s been doing a tremendous job and we’re indebted to him because he’s continued and kept moving forward playing with the band; he’s more than happy to do what he’s doing.
Metal-Rules.com: Would you be amenable to having Gary write and play on a new SLAYER album, or is that going to be part of the SLAYER business you and Kerry will be taking care of?
Tom: Yeah, we’re going to have sit down and figure out something. We haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk about anything. I, for one, didn’t really want to, especially at that moment when everything was happening. Now that we’ve got that behind us and we’re going to do this fall tour, once we get finished, I think that will be an opportunity for me and him to sit down and talk SLAYER and see how he feels about it, and I can tell him how I feel about it and we’ll know before the year is out what the future holds.
Metal-Rules.com: Of course the cat is out of the bag now about the material Jeff had left behind, and the possibility of it being included on a new SLAYER album. Where do things actually stand with regard to that?
Tom: He’s got a lot of material I’m sure we haven’t heard. We haven’t had the privilege to really go through his material as far as the stuff that he has at home, personal stuff. That’s up to his wife to allow us the access to that. But there are two songs, one that was incomplete lyrically, that we were working on for “World Painted Blood”, and then another song that he had put together before he passed away that got circulated between the three of us. It was something when I heard it I liked it, and I communicated that with Jeff, that I thought it was great, that we needed to figure this out and I wanted to put some ideas together for it because I really liked the song musically. He was excited, and he let me know how he wanted the song to be as far as verses and choruses go, so me and him communicated about the song, so I was all excited, and then … [pauses] That’s what he usually does, he’ll put together a demo of songs and let everybody listen to them and everybody learns then, and then when we go into the studio, we work the songs out until they are polished the way we like them.
Read the entire interview at Metal-Rules.com.