Michael Hamad of CTnow recently conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the passing of SLAYER's founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died of alcohol-related cirrhosis in May:
Tom: "I miss him dearly. I have to remind myself that I'm not going to see him. He's not going to be a part of this anymore... Him not being a part of the band for the past two years: it was temporary, and now it's permanent."
On having the commercial route dangled in front of SLAYER over the years:
Tom: "When we had just got done recording [1994's] 'Divine Intervention', they had a big meeting at the label, and one of the record reps brought that up: 'You have a really great album here, but we could use a radio-friendly song.' [Hanneman spoke up]: 'You just got through saying we had a great record. You figure out what song you want on the radio and put it out there.' After that, we never had any other meetings with A&R."
"We do what we do, and we really enjoy it as a band. We figured that people are just going to have to learn to like SLAYER. In 30 years of existence, we've written some great songs and put out great albums, and we've never had to rely on having a hit record. We all just got together and wrote some songs, and if one got on the radio, great. If not, that's fine too."
On Hanneman's contributions to the next SLAYER album:
Tom: "Jeff would show up now and then. When we started working on ideas for a new album, it allowed him to see his potential to play... What we [ultimately] put on the album is another story, but Jeff was a big part of that, though not as much as I would have liked him to be. It was really rough on him. But we always got together and rehearsed, to see where he stood."
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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:
During a brand new interview with Brian Aberback of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine,SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya was asked about the band's decision to part ways with drummer Dave Lombardo bring back Paul Bostaph.
"That whole issue came down to this: Dave had been jamming with us for a while, as a working member of the band, but he wasn't a partner," Tom began. "Like all things like that, you have to have agreements, so nobody feels cheated. We had ongoing issues and finally he put us in a position where we had to find someone to replace him. He wasn't happy, so he decided to have his Facebook rant and told the world about a lot of issues going on within the band that are legally binding and private. I thought that was wrong and it was upsetting. A lot of the claims he made were untrue. Part of the agreement is you don't do that. Kerry [King, SLAYERguitarist], Jeff [Hanneman, then-SLAYER guitarist] and I got on the phone and made a collective decision and we let Dave go and gave Paul a call. Paul said he'd be happy to come back. He has brought some life back into our live performances. He's in hyper drive and kicking ass, which makes us play faster. People have commented on how energetic we've been lately. We're playing faster than we would have. It's good injection of adrenaline."
Lombardo sat out SLAYER's Australian tour in February/March due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).
During an interview with the KZRADIO.NET alternative radio station in Israel conducted on May 1 — just one day before the tragic passing of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman — Lombardostated about his the circumstances that led to him being absent from SLAYER's current trek: "Basically, I had to renegotiate my contract two and a half years ago and I got an attorney because it was too complicated for me to do it myself. And my attorney was asking questions. And the answers she got from her questions, they weren't correct; they weren't the right answers. So we worked on it for two and a half years. And 2013 came around and SLAYER had to go on tour, and I said, 'Guys, I can't go on tour unless we resolve this, I've been advised.'"
He continued: "What I need is clarity — clarity and transparency.
"You go and make money for somebody, and if somebody is gonna pay you a percentage, you need to know where all this goes. They say I don't deserve to know, but I think if you're gonna pay somebody a percentage, they deserve to know. Because how are you gonna know what you got paid when you don't know everything else?
"It's a little complicated, and there's more to it as well.
"They feel that because I left in 1992 and I left for 10 years, they feel I don't deserve [to know all the details of their business].
"I mean, I love the guys — they're like my brothers — and I wish this didn't happen. But now there's like this wall between us."
Regarding some fans' criticism that money should not get in the way of the members ofSLAYER making music together, Lombardo said: "What people don't understand is that, being a musician, you have to be a part businessman. There's contracts… If you're a musician and you don't have a contract and you don't follow up on your business, people are gonna take from you and they're gonna steal from you.
Brian Aberback of New Jersey's Steppin' Out magazine recently conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. An excerpt from the chat follows below.
Steppin' Out: You just started doing press for this tour and know that everyone will be asking about [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff [Hanneman]. How do you feel talking about everything that's gone on in the past six months?
Tom Araya: You know you're going to get those questions whether we decide to do press or not. If you don't do interviews, no one is aware that you're doing a tour. It wouldn't bother me if Kerry [King, guitar] did all the interviews. [laughs] But when I do interviews, I enter them with an open mind and try to answer the questions the best I can.
Steppin' Out: Did you have any idea that Jeff was seriously ill before he died?
Tom: Nobody ever thought about Jeff passing away. I thought about him getting better and getting back onstage. We've been talking about getting back in the studio for the last two years, with Jeff being a part of that. It was something to be continued.
Steppin' Out: Have you thought about folding the band following his death?
Tom: His death has changed everything. Knowing that Jeff was on the sidelines, I was OK. It was always about, "Jeff is going to come back." Then he passed away and it was more like, "Why am I doing this now?" It changed my attitude about some things. Someone said, "It's really great that you decided to tour and move on," but these tours were scheduled in advance. At the end of this tour, Kerry and I are going to have to sit down and talk as far as how we want to move forward, if we want to move forward. There hasn't been time for me and Kerry to talk. We've been on the road but we haven't really sat down and talked about it. Jeff and I collaborated a lot, and he offered me the opportunity to write or to collaborate with him. Like I said, there are things we have to discuss to either move forward or just to figure something out.
Steppin' Out: How tough was it playing the first shows after Jeff's death this summer in Europe?
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?
Following a summer of storming through Europe, South America and Mexico while topping the bills at solo shows and major festivals, SLAYER will headline its first North American tour in two years. The five-week-plus trek will kick off on October 22 in Anchorage, Alaska, oddly enough marking the first time the band has played there since October 23, 1996. The tour will include the band's previously announced return to New York's Theatre at Madison Square Garden and the Hollywood Palladium, venues the band hasn't performed at in 25 years.
SLAYER — bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, guitarist Kerry King, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt, who continues to fill in for the late founding member Jeff Hanneman — will have GOJIRA and 4ARM support on all dates.
Tickets for all dates on SLAYER's U.S. tour, go on sale beginning this Friday, September 6. Log onto Slayer.net for complete on-sale dates and ticketing information.
While still recovering from the devastating loss of Hanneman, Araya and King have begun to work on new material and hope to spend some time in the studio prior to this tour.
With more dates to be announced, confirmed dates for SLAYER's 2013 Fall North American tour are as follows:
On May 2, the sudden news took the metal community by storm: SLAYERguitarist Jeff Hanneman had died. In the August 2013 issue of Guitar World magazine, the band's bassist/vocalist Tom Araya recalls his final communications with his longtime friend and bandmate: "I had been texting with him, and he even sent me a song that he had been working on. So it seemed like he was doing okay. But when I got the call that he was back in intensive care, I became concerned. Eventually he stopped responding to my texts. It was like a one-sided conversation.
"I was home with my family when I found out he had died. The phone rang and my wife answered it, and she had this look of dread on her face. She handed me the phone and didn't say anything, and it was our manager,Rick [Sales], and he told me. I hung up the phone and went to my room and I cried.
"It hit my family hard, because they really liked Jeff. My mother was really upset, my sisters loved Jeff, and my brother too — he was Jeff's tech for a long time."