Tom Araya Hoping for a Post-Slayer-Retirement Career at Burger King
The short version: even being a successful touring musician kinda sucks. I’m sure it beats working in an office on doing manual labor, and the thrill for playing for big crowds must provide an amazing high… but you’re still basically living the life of a sailor. Which is to say, you’re away from your loved ones for months at a time, and the conditions aren’t very glamorous. Or, as Araya puts it:
“The most enjoyable time is the stage time… That’s it. That’s the most enjoyable part of what I do in this band. Everything else sucks.”
Araya later elaborates:
“After 33 years of traveling—actually more like 29 years of actual touring and traveling—after a while, it’s just tiring. And people are like ‘Oh it must be fun! You travel! You see blah blah blah!’ I’m like,man, if you were in my shoes you would think differently. [..] It’s funny, recently we went to Europe to do press for the new album. We did three days in London, a day in Paris, a day in Norway, two days or three days in Germany. And people are like ‘Oh, that must be nice. Did you get to see much of Paris?’ And I look at them, and say ‘See this room? Look around you.’ And they’re looking around. “This is my Paris. It’s beautiful isn’t it?’ [Laughs] That’s what I say whenever anybody asks me that, because we’re always in the hotels doing interviews and everybody asks me that. ‘Did you get to see much of Stockholm?’ I’ll look around and I’ll show them the room. ‘How do you like it? This is my Stockholm. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I like the drapes. Look at the couch. Wonderful.’ And then you open the window and go ‘This is my painting, my picture. This is what I see.'”
This isn’t the first time Araya has broached the idea of hanging up his bass, so you have to wonder if he’ll ever actually quit. He’s 54 now; if he had a more, uh, common job, he’d still be thirteen years away from retirement benefits.
But holy shit, can anyone actually imagine Araya still belting out “Angel of Death” when he’s pushing seventy? Would we even want him to? In theory, watching a dude keep at it well into his golden years sounds cool, but in practice, it almost never is: musicians lose their voices, or they can’t give it their all physically anymore, or they develop injuries that prevent them from playing well or playing at all, etc… all of which makes sense, because metal is meant to be intense — it’s the only kind of music where words like “punishing” and “brutal” are meant as praise. The only real exception this rule seems to be Iron Maiden, and I’m still 99.9% sure that those dudes all have fountains of youth in their mansions.
If you would like to see Araya keep on keepin’ on, though, you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to do see him do so: he’s in this thing ’til he’s at least 58.
Q:I guess your resume just says “Slayer”— It’s not like you’re going to go work at Staples when you retire.
A: Yeah, I’d like to think they’d give me a job at Burger King or something when I’m retired and I need to make extra cash because my Social Security check ain’t covered [laughs]
Q: Hopefully we have a few years till then, at least.
A: Well, we just did a record, so I’ve sold my soul for about a good four or five years.
Q: There are worse places you could sell it to, surely.
A: Yeah, that’s true, but I think it puts things into perspective when you tell someone that. They’re always talking about “You sold your soul!” and in life, you kinda do. It depends on what it is you’re doing in life, but there are some things that require you to sacrifice a good portion of your life. That to me is selling your soul. You have to give up a good portion of your life in order to do what it is you’re gonna do. When I agreed to this album, I knew that I would have to do a record, and then follow it up with at least a good three or four years of touring.
I think Araya should easily be able to get a job at Burger King. I mean, he has an in!
Read the entire interview here. He also calls Piercing the Veil and Asking Alexandria grindcore, which is freakin’ adorable!
[via Metal Injection]