Comedian Bill Burr is Finally Getting into Slayer
Comedian Bill Burr is having a metal renaissance of sorts, having recently discovered Meshuggah, and — as a drummer himself — waxing ecstatic about Tomas Haake’s performance. He’s also been flirting with the idea of sitting in on drums with Ministry for a song or two, much to the delight of Ministry fans everywhere.
Burr’s metal education continues: in the latest episode of his podcast (embedded below), he discusses finally getting into Slayer at the age of 50, admitting “I am thirty fucking years late” and warning, “I’m new to this. Please be gentle when you trash me on social media for not knowing.” At least he’s got the self-awareness, ya know? He also recounts the time he dressed up as Vinnie Paul for a public performance of a Pantera cover.
Here’s a transcription of Burr’s latest dive into metal via The PRP:
“I am thirty fucking years late, I am so late to the party on this band that they’re actually doing their farewell, and half the people aren’t even in the band anymore… Two original members.
“Doing the goddamned comedy jam and all of that and trying to do Pantera, and learn these double bass drum songs. Now… my drum teacher Dave [Elitch] took me to go see Meshuggah.
“All of a sudden that whole world opened up to me so now I’m backtracking to all of this shit that I vaguely remember my younger brothers, they were into. They were like ‘you gotta hear this shit.’ And I was listening to [sings chorus of Poison‘s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn“]
“You know you’re singing along, it’s a good fucking song. I was listening to that shit when Metallica and all these other bands came out. It was so fucking fast my ear couldn’t catch up with it.
“Now I’m going back 30 years fucking later, so guess what album I downloaded yesterday? Slayer “South Of Heaven“. I was watching… trying to learn all theis double bass shit on this YouTube thing and then eventually, if you’re gonna do that shit, eventually you’re gonna run into Dave Lombardo from Slayer.
“So I watched this mini-documentary—I guess there’s a new documentary coming out on him—So I watched this old documentary on him from like 2004.
“And I’ve always tried to get into the band and it was just beyond what my ears understood. So I heard that song “South Of Heaven” and that’s it, I’m done. So I love that album and I guess that was an album they made a conscious effort to play a little slower than they did on the previous album.
“That’s the one that has like “Angel Of Death” [“Reign In Blood“,] and I listened to that a little bit. And I was like “South Of Heaven“—I can’t go from listening to Poison and Bon Jovi and all the shit that I listen to to immediately going to that level of speed [laughs.]
“That’s like when a sober person after twenty years decides to start partying again and they pick up where they left off—you’re gonna have a fucking heart attack. So I have to kind of ease my way into it and this fucking album, which I guess you know, moron fans of music go ‘that’s not thrash, that’s not fast enough’—that doesn’t even make sense, it’s a good fucking song.
“So I have just been listening to “South Of Heaven” and whatever the song is after it [“Silent Scream“] ’cause they do that thing where it blends into it and it’s fucking hilarious.
“I’m gonna be fifty in June and I’m finally listening to Slayer. I’m driving down the street pulling up to a red light [singing] ‘all alone ‘South Of Heaven,’ I fucking love it.
“So [I’m] late to the party on that one, thirty years late. I know I’m gonna listen to this fucking album a million times and then I’m gonna get “Angel Of Death“.
“And I remember a long time ago I had the “Iowa” album—what’s the name of the band there—Jesus Christ, with Joey Jordison and all of those guys: 8,7,6,6,6,5,4… What the fuck is… They wear the masks, they were the eyes wide… Ah, fuck it. what an asshole.
“Listen I know who the big four are: Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica. I at least know that. I’m new to this. Please be gentle when you trash me on social media for not knowing.
“[typing into Google]: ‘Ah shit, thrash, Iowa, masks, let’s see what this comes up with’ I know the name of the drummer, but not the name of the band. What the fuck does that say about me?…
“Ok so now they’re showing me, Slipknot, fuck! That’s right, that’s right, OK. It’s funny, the first thing that came up [was] ‘why these eleven bands wear masks?’ I dunno, ’cause they’re smart and they want to have a life after the shows over? [laughs.]
“I mean that’s the best thing ever, like that Buckethead, it’s fucking genius. He gets to go around the world in Guns N’ Roses and all these awesome bands and then the second he doesn’t feel like being that guy anymore, he takes the bucket off his head and the mask goes away.
“Probably puts it up in a man bun or something, looks as non-rock god as possible and just fucking walks away. Like what’s his face in the end of ‘The Usual Suspects‘—straightens out his foot and just walks through the crowd and no one has any fucking idea.”
“So I did ‘The Goddamn Comedy Jam‘… I played Pantera, “Cowboys From Hell“. And I thought I had it down. I thought I knew what I was doing. And I got out there in my Vinnie Paul costume… That was probably the best part of the performance, was the costume.
“So like an asshole, Vinnie, you know, he’s a husky fella, right? So I had a pillow—a throw pillow—underneath this fucking shirt and like a fucking asshole, when I sat down behind the drums, I didn’t take it off.
“I sat there, so it’s like I had a kid or something sitting on my lap and the snare was a little lower than I was used to. So I fucking got through the song, I think I fucked up everything single fill. I already suck at drums, why would you add to difficulty with a pillow in your fucking chest and this fucking thing on? You know why? ‘Cause it’s the comedy jam.
“There has to be some sort of comedy. So I just, the double bass playing—the whole fucking thing sucked…”