SLAYER INTERVIEW - TOM ARAYA
Interview By Lord of the Wastelend
SLAYER, SLAYER…". Any metalhead worthy of his or her bullet belt
and spiked armband has chanted these very words. Over 20 years, Slayer has
given us such gems as HELL AWAITS, SOUTH OF HEAVEN and the immortal REIGN
IN BLOOD album. Though the satanic imagery and media backlash has
diminished in recent years, Slayer shows no sign of going away or slowing
down. We won't see them performing an "unplugged" set, or
teaming with an orchestra. Slayer INVENTED fast and their new box set,
SOUNDTRACK TO THE APOCALYPSE, covers their career from the earliest known
Slayer recording from March 1983 through to live tracks from July 2003.
The band has also recently released the WAR AT THE WARFIELD DVD featuring
one of the last shows with former drummer Paul Bostaph, who left the band
soon after, paving the way for original drummer Dave Lombardo to return to
the fold. Then there are the headlining dates on the Jagermeister tour
with Arch Enemy, Hatebreed and Otep. I managed a short interview with
singer/bassist Tom Araya before their stop in San Diego, CA to get his
thoughts on the box set, the new DVD and progress of the new album.
You're on tour right now with Arch Enemy, Hatebreed and Otep on what
is called The Jagermeister Tour. How is that going?
It's going really great! We've been giving away basses, guitars and
drums at different shows, which has been really neat.
Any good "road stories" (laughs)?
(Laughs) Uh…no…nothing really out of the ordinary. I'm not really
the one you want to ask that question to. You want to ask Kerry or Jeff
that one (laughs)! They, uh…they tend to have fun (laughs).
(Laughs) You've been playing the entire REIGN IN BLOOD album as an
encore on this tour. I bet the response has been incredible!
Yeah, it's been pretty crazy! It's kind of been a surprise for
everybody. By the end of the show, they realize what we've just done and
they don't really realize it until it's BEEN DONE, you know? It's pretty
Whose idea was it to do the whole thing?
It was something that somebody suggested a while ago. When we were in
Europe recently, we did 2 shows at The Astoria in London and we thought,
"Why don't we do this?". We had purposely rehearsed the album
for that show at The Astoria and when we did it, everybody really, really
liked it. That just blew them away so we thought we'd save that for the
encore when we do the Jager tour in the States.
Are there any songs on the album that you'd never played live
One song. One song on the entire album that we've never played live
before. "Piece By Piece". I think it was "Piece By
The band just released a great new DVD, too--WAR AT THE WARFIELD.
It's a great concert but I really got a kick out of the "Fans
Rule" documentary that was done for it.
Cool. That was done with some friends of ours, Mark Patzky and Eric
Braverman. They had that with other stuff and they said they really wanted
to do it with us. We said "SURE!", you know? The fans are a big
part of us so we thought it was really neat to have the "Fans
There are some real characters on there (laughs)!
(Laughs) Believe it or not, that's what you're going to come across in
any country you find Slayer fans. You're going to find…characters
Slayer does have some VERY dedicated fans!
(Laughs) Oh yeah. In Canada, too! We're lucky.
I guess the other big thing you've got on the go right now is the
SOUNDTRACK TO THE APOCALYPSE box set?
Yeah. I think that's actually out already?
Not yet. It's out next Tuesday (November 25th) in North America,
Oh, okay. That's pretty exciting.
I've only seen the press release but the whole package sounds really
cool! There is a 4-disc set featuring a few songs from each album
beginning with REIGN IN BLOOD, some rare & unreleased stuff, a 60-page
book and a DVD. The 5-disc limited-edition set with the bonus live CD in a
"blood pack", banner, backstage passes and other stuff in the
ammo box is pretty original, too.
It's pretty neat. I just hope that everybody likes what's in it.
I can't wait to hear some of the rare stuff. The early versions of
"South of Heaven" and "Raining Blood" and the
rehearsals from '83 in your garage?!?! Who COULDN'T be happy with this?
Yeah…you'll like it. The one rarity that really stands out is song we
wrote a long time ago called "Ice Titan". You'll hear riffs in
that song that are similar to riffs found in other songs. It's one of the
many early songs that got cannibalized (laughs). It became part of
"Altar of Sacrifice".
Coming out just in time for Christmas, it should make a great
stocking stuffer for all the metalheads out there!
And it's actually affordable, too! It's very affordable.
I saw that! Even the collector's set, which usually price gouges
people, is only listed at $100 US. The regular version is $60 US, I think?
I thought they were going to go for a certain price and we all agreed
on it and then I found out that they actually lowered the price even more!
When I heard the prices, I was like, "COOL!" (laughs).
That's great. It makes it affordable for everybody.
Hell, yeah! I'm hoping everybody will be really happy with it.
What was the cause of the delays that we kept hearing would push
back the release date?
Well, we've been talking about a box set for a while now. When we came
up with the album title for GOD HATES US ALL, SOUNDTRACK TO THE APOCALYPSE
was one of the other titles. In fact, it was the ONLY title! Then I
suggested to everybody that SOUNDTRACK TO THE APOCALYPSE would be better
for a box set whenever we decide to do one. That's what started the talk
about a box set. What's taken so long is that you have to negotiate with
your record company as far as certain things that you want to do that are
not in your contract. We approached the record company and said that we
want to do this box set and they were all "uhhh…uhhh…uhhh"
and the talks went on for about a year. Then about a month and half or two
months ago, we got the OK to do the box. They wanted it immediately
(laughs)! We initially started talking about it but we figured once they
said we could do it, they would give us a little more time but they told
us to go ahead and do it but they wanted a release date for the holidays!
You say that the band felt rushed in putting the box set together.
Is there anything that you had hoped to include but didn't have the time
No, not really. I like what they've got. I think it's going to work out
well because there is a lot of other stuff that we would really like to do
and hopefully we'll have time to go through other material that we didn't
at the time and put some other stuff out now. There are other things that
we want to compile and the box set is kind of the beginning of it. We're
going to seriously start digging through some stuff but that still has to
be talked about.
Do you have any new songs written for the next studio album yet?
Kerry and Dave have been working on about 6 or 7 songs and Jeff's got
about 5 songs, so we're pretty much set for material. All we need to do is
rehearse it and then go in and record it.
Do you think there will be something out in 2004 or will it be
We're trying to, we really are. We're trying to be a "real"
band and put things out in a timely fashion (laughs).
Now that Dave Lombardo is back in the band again, does it feel like
he never left or are there some "growing pains" that are getting
It's kind of right back where we started. He's an amazing performer. We
took off right where we left off, you know? It's like he was never gone.
He's working with Kerry on his tunes. He's helped out a lot actually!
Thanks a lot for talking to us, Tom. Good luck with the box set. I
hope Santa's good to me this year (laughs).
(Laughs) There you go. Thanks man!