Vol. 2, Issue #1 Feb. 2nd - Feb. 15th, 2007

Slayer: Heaven Can Wait (part 2)
Interview By: Ryk Weston

One can imagine it’s no easy task being a member of Slayer. It is a reputation they have upheld of being one of the fastest speed metal bands in the world today, and standing up for what they believe in. As we discussed in our last issue, their latest opus, Christ Illusion, has been receiving mass acclaim as well as banishment from India’s Catholic Secular Forum who recently made the news when they put a stop to all sales of Slayer’s newest release in their country. It may come as no surprise that the Catholic Secular Forum is the same organization who put an abrupt halt to Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and although there may be no connection, a bounty was set on the author’s life by an Indian Catholic. The threat actually made news in the Hindustan Times, but has since been removed from the news archives in the publication’s website. Says Slayer frontman Tom Araya, “What’s really amazing is that The Da Vinci Code is a story! Even the guy who wrote it said it’s a story. It’s a really good story. And it’s a story based on actual fact, and he’s kind of weaving it together to make it seem like it is really true. There’s another book out called Holy Blood, Holy Grail that claims to be fact. It claims to have done all the research. It’s really good..”

So how could such an album cause such a stir in India? Perhaps it was the artwork of artist Larry Carroll, which depicted Jesus as a dislimbed junkie standing in a pool of blood. Hmmm...perhaps. “Yeah, it stirred up shit everywhere,” says Tom Araya. “The honest truth is that when we got the artwork, the Christ figure had arms. We looked at that and we were like, “What’s that supposed to be?”, and so Larry told us, “Well, he’s supposed to be a drugged out Jesus”. And we were like, “Oh, well, you need to make him look more fucked up!””, Tom says with a laugh.

After more ideas were exchanged, Carroll delivered to Slayer the final artwork and that was that. “The whole process was based on the ‘cool factor’. Every time we got it back, we’d be like, “Oh, do this!”. So when it came down to it, people were like, “Who did the artwork?”, and we were like, “Uhhh....Larry did it!””, laughs Tom. “People just read too much into everything. Everything we do is just based on whether we like it or not.”

True to their word, Slayer does just that. As I mentioned earlier, it’s not easy being Slayer. Tom, who is nearing 50 with each passing year, is a family man who spends his off time living on a ranch in Texas with his wife and two children. “I live on a big ranch,” says Tom. “Well, kind of a big ranch. I take care of my animals. Take care of my kids.” Ever the father, Tom is known to take his kids on the road with ole’ Dad. “Yeah! Actually, this last Summer they came out. It was fun.”, says Tom with a grin. And with rumors that Slayer has one more record in them, does the thought of retirement sound more plausible as time draws near? “Shit, I had planned to retire at 35. I seriously lost track of time!”, Tom says with a huge hearty laugh.

If indications note that Slayer could come to a rest one day, it is at least warming to know that the speed metal foursome have made their impact worldwide and have made “Slayer” a regular household name. Having played nearly every corner of the globe, the band has surely seen their share of fanatical fans and will surely have road stories to tell their grandchildren. Tom recollects with a sigh, “One time in Greece, we were at a club. An actual club. Like maybe 800 people could fit in this club. Some crazy fucker decided to whip out a flare. I fried my nostrils because of the phosphate. I coughed my lungs out. We had to cut a couple of songs short because we couldn’t breath! Fucking crazy fuckers.”

And what of Mexico who is notoriously known for having some of the most fanatical metal fans in the world? “Yeah, we did see three nights in Mexico, and one of the nights somebody got a crazy idea and pulled a fire extinguisher and set it off in the room! I saw the smoke and didn’t know what it was. Then all of a sudden I took a deep breath to go into “reign in blooooood”! I took a big old breath and started coughing. I couldn’t stop coughing! The guys kept playing, I just couldn;t sing. So they gave me a wet cold towel and I stuck it to my mouth and tried to inhale slowly through it. Finally I stopped and by then the song was over! So I was like, “Let’s cut a couple of songs and go straight into ‘Angel of Death’ and get the fuck out of here! And that’s what we did.”, laughs Tom.

And now Oklahoma will have it’s chance to witness the wraith of Slayer tonight at the Bricktown Events Center when they hit the stage with opening act Unearth. Doors open at 7:00 PM and is indeed an all ages show. Bring the kiddies!

Slayer: Heaven Can Wait (part 1)


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