Lick My Label

Slayer End Three-Decade Relationship with Rick Rubin

  • Axl Rosenberg

Slayer with Rick RubinUpdate, December 12, 5:16 pm: Slayer’s manager, Rick Sales, has now released a statement on this matter, in which he says that the band may re-sign with Rubin after all. Read Sales’ entire statement here.

Well, this is certainly a landmark occasion: according to a new set of interviews Fuse has conducted with Slayer’s Tom Araya, Kerry King, and Paul Bostaph, the band is currently without a label — meaning they’ve severed ties with Rick Rubin, co-founder of American Recordings (formerly Def Jam), after nearly thirty years.

And the craziest part is, it would appear that the split wasn’t Slayer’s decision! “I asked our manager to reach out to him,” Araya says in the segment, “but [we got] no response or reply. Yeah, so that’s kinda sad.”

Indeed: according to Slayer scholar (and MetalSucks contributor) D.X. Ferris’ amazing book about Reign in Blood*, in 1985, Rubin went after Slayer HARD, and it took a lot of wheeling and dealing to get the band onto the label (they were on Metal Blade at the time). Of course, not only did the band eventually sign with Def Jam (traditionally known as a hip-hop label up ’til that point!), but Rubin went on to co-produce the band’s Unholy Trinity of Reign in BloodSouth of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss (and “executive produce” many of their other albums, whatever that means).

And not only did Rubin have a profound impact on Slayer’s career, but vice versa as well: Working with Slayer “helped change the perception from me being viewed as a hip-hop producer to that of a music producer,” Ferris quotes Rubin as saying.

So, yeah. This is definitely the end of an era.

The band apparently hopes to be signed soon; I’m sure ever A&R dude in metal is chasing them right now. It will be fascinating to see where they end up. I’ll make a prediction right now: it will NOT be Rise Records. Just guessing, I could be wrong.

You can watch the entire Fuse interview below; the part about the label and Rubin is at the 2:06 mark.

*Hm what’s this gee a NEW book about Slayer authored by Ferris? If he asks you didn’t hear it from me.

Thanks: Stephen P.

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