Slayer have been through a lot in the past few years. First and foremost, of course, was the death of founder, guitarist and songwriter Jeff Hanneman. Almost adding insult to injury, on-again off-again – though original – drummer, Dave Lombardo, once again left the band.
And then there were two.
Bassist and singer Tom Araya was left looking guitarist Kerry King in the eye, wondering what was going to happen next. For the past 35 years, the two men have stood side by side on stage, delivering their own brand of speed metal attack on religion and war. However, with the death of Hanneman, it seemed like Slayer had come to an impasse. Half of the original members were gone. What comes next?
Recently, Slayer’s currently heavy-bearded Tom Araya sat down with Niclas Muller-Hansen from RockSverige.se to do an interview, in which he commented on Slayer’s possibly hazy future and his own.
When asked why he and King didn’t end Slayer after Hanneman died, Araya said that they were already caught up in the next album.
“I think the worst thing we could have done is to not have done anything and stopped. We started the whole process of writing an album, and we had to decide whether we wanted to continue and do the album and finish it. So me and Kerry, we had opportunities to talk. ‘Cause we were working on the ideas of the songs, and then we toured, and then we had to have a conversation, just to figure out whether we wanted to continue or not, and whether we wanted to finish the album that we started. So I told him, I go, ‘Well, let’s do that. Let’s finish this and see where we go from here.”
Araya said that Slayer is currently on tour and that they’ve booked another tour at the end of the year. “Probably the next two years we’ll probably be touring, and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Araya’s comments may not give Slayer fans a mountain of hope about future albums and tours.
So, if Slayer breaks up, will Araya start a solo career?
“I have things that I’ve thought about, but it wouldn’t be what people would expect. You know what I mean? They know me as Slayer, so if I were to do a solo album, I would like to think that they would be open-minded and not expect something that they think it should be. A solo album is exactly that. My wife keeps telling me: ‘You should do something. They’re all asking if you’re gonna do a solo album. You should do a solo album. You’ve got some great stuff.’ I’ve got great lyrics. I’ve got ideas for lyrics. Whether they’re great or not, I don’t know.”
And so, the future of Slayer seems to be as hazy as a possible Araya solo career. This week, Slayer’s eleventh studio album, Repentless, will be released on September 11. Slayer is currently on tour with Kerry King on guitar, Tom Araya on bass and vocals, Gary Holt from the Bay Area thrash band, Exodus, and Paul Bostaph on drums.
[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]