Billboard conducted an interview with SLAYER’s booking agent Scott Sokol, who also books acts like BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, MASTODON and HALESTORM. In the interview, Sokol delves into whether Slayer’s sound has changed since recruiting guitarist EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt, what type of production and set list to expect from the band’s North American tour, what tributes are planned for late member Jeff Hanneman, and the group’s return to Los Angeles’ Hollywood Palladium after being banned 25 years ago.
Check out excerpts from the chat below:
Billboard: Were there ever discussions about taking a break from touring after the May 2013 death of Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman?
Sokol: “I think if it happened while they were on tour it might’ve been different. But Jeff hadn’t been (touring) with the band for close to three years at this point. So it wasn’t like (Slayer guitarist) Gary Holt was new to the equation. At the time of Jeff’s passing, Gary had been in the band for two-and-a-half years. It wasn’t going to help anybody to cancel what they were doing. The band likes to go out there and play. Not that I’m a counselor, or anything, but I think part of the way they deal with things is to do what they love. And they love to go out there and do their thing.”
Billboard: Do you think Slayer’s live show changed much since Gary Holt joined the band to replace Jeff Hanneman?
Sokol: “I don’t think they’ve really missed a beat there. There’s no replacement for Jeff. Gary doesn’t replace Jeff, who is a legend unto himself. But Gary Holt, to a degree, is also that. He’s just a little different stylistically. Brian Johnson and Bon Scott are different frontmen for AC/DC, but both are legendary in their own right. So in some way you could look at it like that.”
Billboard: Is Slayer planning any kind of tribute to Jeff Hanneman during the upcoming concerts?
Sokol: “I believe during the European shows they have a picture or some footage, and they play a bunch of songs that were Jeff’s favorites or that he was heavily involved with. But that was done a little bit on the fly; because all of the touring and Jeff’s passing were coming so close together that they did what they could do in the short amount of time that they had. In the US, I think you’re going to see something different and much more thought out, simply because they have the time.”
Billboard: Is Slayer working on any new music?
Sokol: “They’re definitely working on new music. More things will be revealed in the coming weeks.
To read the whole interview visit Billboard.com.
Below is a 30-second television spot advertising SLAYER’s upcoming North American tour with support acts GOJIRA and 4ARM.
22 – Sullivan Sports Arena – Anchorage, AK
25 – The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – Las Vegas, NV
27 – Hollywood Palladium – Hollywood, CA
28 – Hollywood Palladium – Hollywood, CA
30 – Events Center at San Jose State – San Jose, CA
1 – WAMU Center – Seattle, WA
3 – Stampede Corrall – Calgary, AB
4 – Shaw Center – Edmonton, AB
5 – Praireland Park Center – Saskatoon, SK
7 – MTS Center – Winnipeg, MB
8 – Myth – Minneapolis, MN
10 – FunFunFun Fest – Austin, TX
12 – Bayou Music Center – Houston, TX
13 – South Side Ballroom – Dallas, TX
15 – Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
16 – The Fillmore – Detroit, MI
17 – LC Pavilion – Columbus, OH
19 – The Fillmore – Washington, D.C.
20 – Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
21 – Ricoh Coliseum – Toronto, ON
23 – CEPSUM/University of Montreal – Montreal, QC
24 – Pavilion de la Jeunesse – Quebec, QC
26 – Oakdale Theatre – Wallingford, CT
27 – Theatre at MSG – New York, NY
29 – Susquehanna Bank Center – Camden, NJ
30 – Tsongas Arena – Boston, MA
Slayer’s current lineup is:
Tom Araya – bass, vocals
Kerry King – guitar
Paul Bostaph – drums
Gary Holt – guitar