Author: D.X. Ferris
Title: Slayer- 66 2/3: The Jeff And Dave Years
Year Reviewed: 2019
I finally came a cross a reasonably priced copy of this odd book and was glad to add it to my library. I say odd because it is, in terms of presentation, layout and design, quite…unconventional.
I probably shouldn’t over-analyze this but the whole cover, title and picture is just weird. It is weird by design perhaps, which makes it interesting and unique, but weird nonetheless… The graphic (a band photo) is printed sideways. The title is a reference to another book D.X. Ferris wrote and if you didn’t know that, the term 66 2/3 doesn’t make sense. ‘The phrase ‘A Metal Band Biography’ is useless, waste of space and doesn’t tell us anything. The title ‘The Jeff and Dave Years’, is misleading in a sense because Ferris covers the bands entire history. Throw in a crudely drawn pentagram and some self-promotion quotes and you have a hot satanic mess of a book cover. The whole book looks cheap and slapdash but again keep in mind it is supposed to look like that…maybe mimicking a high school text book or something. Inside in the ‘Methodology’ section, author Ferris even comments that the formatting and quotes and margins are all weird but we just need to deal with it! Setting all that aside, SLAYER 66 2/3; THE JEFF AND DAVE YEARS ain’t pretty to look at but then again, neither is Slayer.
There have been few books about Slayer over the years including Ferris’ own decent book about the making of REIGN IN BLOOD for the pop-culture 33 1/3 book series. I also have reviewed his earlier book for Metal-Rules.com, if you care to look it up. This book is loaded with black and white photos and some really cool rare sketches of original concepts for album covers. Ferris has a keen eye for detail talking a lot of about the division of work in the band, who wrote what song, who collaborated with who, who wrote lyrics with you and so on.
Ferris has a pretty free-wheeling style, a polite Canadian like myself even say abrasive, but he is just being American, and that is not an insult. He has an opinion, he likes what he likes, but at least acknowledges that there are people who disagree and that his opinion alone is the correct one! The book is broken into many, many short chapters, sometimes only one page long and I don’t mind that, it is easy to quickly look up stuff. Everything is very well referenced and attributed. This very site Metal-Rules.com is quoted four or five times from various staff members who have done interviews with camp Slayer over the years.
Ferris has a common theme through the book, and that is the role, exit and re-entry of Dave Lombardo. Lombardo had quit no less than three times and it is all laid out in extensive detail. Another component I like is that Ferris is not afraid to talk money, a subject usually avoided but he lay is it out all on the line, who gets paid what, sources of revenue etc. I’m sure revealing all this personal detail, including the divorce documents of Lombardo did not win him any fans in the band. Ferris paints a picture of Lombardo as an outsider, King the taskmaster, Hanneman the heart of the band and Araya maybe at times along for the ride. Ferris goes into great detail about the revolving door of drummers, Scaglione, Bostaph, Dette and so on and the later eras are covered but his heart lies with, what he calls the trilogy of REIGN IN BLOOD, SOUTH OF HEAVEN and SEASONS IN THE ABYSS. I think he is not alone by defining this era of the same slaytanic team; producers, artists, management, touring personnel and line-up as ‘classic’ Slayer.
SLAYER 66 2/3; THE JEFF AND DAVE YEARS has pretty much any Slayer fan could ask for. It is loaded with great stuff for the fans; touring history, song-writing credits, quotes, credits, it is very thorough. I’m an older Slayer fan and anything post-DIVINE really didn’t get my full attention but reading this book makes me want to go back and revisit the last five studio albums with a more open-mind. I’m reviewing an updated version and I think that at end of this current, farewell world tour, Ferris can update this book one more time and have the ultimate compendium. I believe there is an even more updated version (Repentless era) so check which version you are buying!