TOM ARAYA OF SSSSSSLLLLLAAAAAAYYYYYYEEERRRRRRR!!!: THE METALSUCKS INTERVIEW
Tom Araya needs no introduction. Seriously. We’re not introducing him. If you don’t know who he is, you have no business reading this website. Axl recently found out that our intern had never listened to Slayer, and you know what he did? First he got all the MetalSucks Mansion Monkeys to throw feces at the intern, and then he locked the intern in a room and made him listen to Slayer’s entire discography for days and days on end.
We will tell you this: Araya is a very chill, jovial dude; Slayer have a new album, World Painted Blood, coming out in October; and we successfully managed to make it through this interview at Mayhem Fest without peeing ourselves or dropping to our knees and shouting “WE’RE NOT WORTHY! WE’RE NOT WORTHY!” Although it was a struggle.
Our full chat with Araya after the jump.
How’s the tour been going?
How do you still find the fire to do this after all this time? Do you ever start to feel like “If I have to play ‘Angel of Death’ one more time, I’m going to kill somebody?”
[laughs] No. I love playing that song. It’s a great song. I like Slayer songs in general. The ones that we play are the ones we want to hear. The fans’ favorites are my favorites, too. A lot of the favorites are the ones that I wrote, so I love playing my songs [laughs].
Have you guys been breaking out with any of the new stuff on this tour?
Just the one song, “Psychopathy Red.” We’ve been playing it live in Europe, too.
How’s the song going over with the fans?
Good. Because I don’t think it’s going to be what people expect especially with “Psychopathy Red,” because it’s such an intense song. I’m sure you’ve heard it on the internet…
Live, it’s just an intense song. It’s just one of those that slaps you in the head. Y’know?
Right on. With the mix of different bands on this tour, do you feel like you’re winning new fans or do you think it’s kind of you just preaching to the choir, so to speak?
No. I think what we’re doing is cementing something. I don’t know what [laughs]. Because it’s just a really strong audience. It’s kids that are into these new and upcoming bands that have fans that maybe aren’t familiar with us. Maybe they’ve only heard about us. So this is their opportunity to see us, and hopefully it’s going to cement some new fans.
You know a lot of these kids weren’t even born when Reign in Blood came out.
I know! [laughs]
Does that freak you out?
[Laughs] It does not freak me out. I think it’s cool. Kind of weird, but cool [laughs]. It is cool, because the longevity of the band is really cool.
So what can you tell us about this new album? We’re all dying to hear it.
I love it. It’s awesome. You’re going to love it because it’s classic Slayer.
Besides the obvious – Dave Lombardo coming back to the band – do you think that has anything has happened or changed with these past couple of albums that contributed to this Slayer renaissance that you guys are experiencing right now?
Dave’s back in the band, so that’s the element that was missing from those other albums.
I’m being serious. That’s the only difference, is that Dave is back sitting on the drums. That’s Slayer, the four of us together. So that’s what you’re going to hear. It sounds like old Slayer because Dave is back in the band, dude [laughs].
Right on. I’m just curious, is Larry Carroll doing cover art for this new one?
No. They actually just sent me some stuff to download and look at after this… otherwise I would be able to give you some clue. I haven’t looked at [the proposed cover art] yet, but I don’t think Larry Carroll [will be doing the cover] this time. They’re coming up with some stuff and concepts, so this is all very last minute stuff. I have to look at it, but I’m hoping they’re going with what I think they’re going with.
So you’re happy with it?
Yeah. I can’t wait for people to listen to it. On other records, people would ask us “Are you excited?” And, yeah, we’re normally excited that our record is coming out, but with this one I’m excited because I can’t wait to see the reaction.
Is there something that’s particularly different with this album?
Not really different. It’s just Slayer. I just want to see what the reaction is, because it’s classic Slayer. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, you’re going to get Slayer. I just can’t wait for the reaction. I think it’s going to be a good one.
Something else we’ve got to ask you: you guys did this incredible tour with Megadeth in Canada, and now you’re taking it to Australia…
When do we get it here in the States, man?
[Laughs] You know, he’s lucky we did the Canadian dates. [We’re assuming the “he” in question is Dave Mustaine. – Ed.] I knew we were going to Australia and New Zealand, but I didn’t know when. I knew we were going to Japan, but I didn’t know when.
Someone said, “Hey, I can’t wait to see you on this day.” So I went to the internet to see what they were talking about. That’s how I found out we were playing in Australia with Megadeth [laughs]. It was like, “Yeah, thanks for fucking telling me!” [laughs]
In all honesty, if you set up dates and we have to go somewhere to play, I’m going to go there and play. I’m not really too concerned as to whom is playing or headlining or who is opening. If you’re a great band, good. I hope you’re good, because we’re up next [laughs]. And if we’re up first… Either way, we’re going to blow you out of the water. You’re the one that needs to try and figure out how you’re going to survive.
-AR & VN