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A Talk With Thomas

Slayer / Tom Araya

Interview by Terrence Seiver

After 17 years of pure and undisputed brutality, one band remains as intense as when they first discharged their anger on a small club stage in Los Angles. They never were the type to follow musical trends, especially trends that expressed a gay picture of life. Instead, they immerse themselves within in the dark side of the human mind. Their songs portraying accounts of bloodthirsty homicidal maniacs, German war criminals, serial killers and the Armageddon. Their fans remain the only thing more extreme than their music. What other band can prompt a fan to slice the band name into their back or arms? When asked why the scarification, he needed only one reason "SSSLLLAAYYYEEERRR!" That's right. Slayer.

Slayer's singer/bassist Tom Araya was been an original member since the conception of the band way back in 1981. Currently undertaking a US tour for their new album Diabolus In Musica, Tom took some time out to talk.

Your new album Diabolus in Musica I would have to say is fuckin' brilliant!

Thank-you, thank-you very much!

Where did the title originate?

The title is actually the name of a musical scale. It's a tri-tone scale, apparently. It was something that someone told us along time ago that [...] we wrote in a musical scale [...] that was called the devils scale. And we had an idea for an album title, but we really couldn't agree on it, so when that came up, we felt that that was an appropriate title.

Where did the idea to write the song Scrum come from?

Kerry [King - guitarist] got it from rugby. His got a buddy that he would hang out at the bar with [...] a rugby coach from New Zealand. [...] Kerry went to a few games, and decided to write a song about.

Has the new album been mentioned in any US murder investigations?

[laughs]- NO!

Slayer lyrics. Can they be seen as a social commentary or strictly for entertainment?

It's all entertainment. But there are certain songs, which stress certain ideas or certain viewpoints. We're not out to sell them. We [...] like to write the songs that lyrically we enjoy. If you want to read into it, that's not the intention of our songs.

How has the tour been so far?

It's been really good. I'm surprised at the response. We're averaging out a really good attendance.

Is your live set mainly off Diabolus in Musica?

No. Our live set basically consists of roughly maybe 2 songs off every album, and roughly 5 or 6 off the new album.

What is the biggest thing that the band fights about when on the road?

I don't know if we fight, we might complain about things, just the usually complaints, you know - interviews - I DON'T WANT TO DO INTERVIEWS - hahaha

When touring, for entertainment do you: a) drink piss; b) kill people; or c) sus out new metal bands

Well, we definitely don't drink piss - we get pissed, we don't drink piss - we get pissed! hahaha Killing people would only get you in trouble. Then we can't play on the road, if you do that you end up in jail and get butt-fucked! Yeah, you spend most of your time watching the opening act, just sort of chillin' and stuff.

Onto the fans, What are your thoughts on the guys who carve Slayer into their arms, back, etc?

Crazy! hahaha Their fuckin' loony! hahahaha

What would be the craziest thing that you've seen a fan do?

Probably that alone. I think we were in Sacromento, there was a kid who carved Slayer into his back in front of a TV camera. Kerry was out there, he witnessed it, and got a photo with the guy. So that's kind of crazy! Then there are the normal crazy things, like jumping of balconies because they think they can fly! hahaha. Or they want to get to the floor, so there like "Yeah, I can make this jump" and then they break a leg, or something.

Could we talk about Slayer's links to neo-nazism. Is there a valid link between the two?

NO! There cannot be such a link! Do you want to know why?

Because you are a Chilean?

That's right. Don't you think that's kind of obvious?

I think that it is kind of hypocritical for the neo-nazi fans to worship a band with a Chilean bassist/singer.

Exactly. Very hypocritical. That kind of an audience is bigger in certain areas, but I don't particularly condone what they do. Cause they're rough housers, they like to cause trouble, and I like to get stoned! hahahahaha.

Have you got a favorite drink, alcoholic or other wise?

My casual social drink would be a beer. But I guess you cant really call that a drink. So, it would have to be Crown Royal - a shot of Crown Royal and a beer.

What was the 1997 Ozzfest tour like when you guys were touring with Sepultura?

We did the very first 2 Ozzfest shows with Sepultura. I actually meet up with them in England with Andreas [Kisser - Sepultura lead guitarist], and we had a chat [...] and he is a really nice guy. The same with Max [Cavalera - Sepultura vocalist/4 string guitarist].

Is there any chance of Slayer releasing a home-video?

I'm sure we'll think about it. [...] a lot of the video (Live Intrusion) that we done [...] the clips in between was something that they kind of had put together themselves. If I would have done it, I would have done it differently. But it was the live stuff that I was more concerned about. Because there are home videos that are a lot funnier then ours. I was more interested in the live show as opposed to the little tid-bits in between.

I think that Live Intrusion, really caught the power that Slayer has on stage as well.

Cool. I was very impressed by the film. Because they had like 13 cameras and then they had a pit-cam, and a slam-cam, and then they had a beer-can-cam, they had a guy surfin the crowd with a camera on his helmet. So it really did, it really gave you a good idea of what its like at a Slayer show.

Could you ever see Slayer following the latest metal trend and doing the black metal thing?

I thought that we were black metal?!?!

I always associate black metal with the Norwegian dudes with the make-up and fake blood.

Well, we kind of started off that way on Show No Mercy, and Hell Awaits. We kind of already did it.

What can you see the future of metal being like?

Don't know. I can't tell the future. I can only tell you where we'll be tomorrow. Which is New York. And what I'm going to do tonight. Which is play.

Slayer will be savaging Australian shores throughout October. They only play one show in Sydney on the 20th October at the Sydney Entertainment Center. Be sure to catch what is often described as the best live band in the world.

Tracks Of Creation May / June 1998
Copyright ©1998 Borcek
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