On Monday, October 21, Aniruddh “Andrew” Bansal of Metal Assault conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Metal Assault: After whatever happened with Jeff [Hanneman, guitar] earlier this year, did you guys have any doubts about continuing to tour and write music? This is a question that pretty much all SLAYER fans must be thinking about.
Araya: It seems like a lot of SLAYER fans have been making up their own decisions and minds about what the band should do. [laughs] We’ve seen comments on different social networks and on various interviews out there. There are some SLAYER fans out there that have an opinion, and it’s 50-50. They can live with those opinions. Some of the things that people have said are a little upsetting. But like I said, some SLAYER fans have already made up their mind, so they can live with that. [laughs] We’re going to do what we’re doing. Me and Kerry [King, guitar] have a lot of communicating to do as far as how to move forward and what we should do. We haven’t really had a chance to do that because a lot of this stuff was already set up. A lot of these tours were booked almost a year ago. We’re just going forward and finishing up what we started. Once we get an opportunity to sit down, we’ll communicate on how to move forward.
Metal Assault: In this current lineup of the band, you’ve brought back Paul Bostaph as the drummer. Was he an automatic choice or did you actually have to go through the whole process of trying to figure out who the drummer was going to be?
Araya: For me, it was obvious. As soon as the issues with Dave [Lombardo] started coming up, to me, it was an obvious decision and I was the one that brought that to Kerry and Jeff‘s attention. Paul was in the band for quite a long time and did four albums with us, really great albums. So to me it was a no-brainer, and Jeff and Kerry seemed to agree. So I’m glad he’s back because he’s an awesome drummer, a really great songwriter and helps put the songs together really well. And on top of it, he’s a really good guy. I’m not good with strange people. [laughs] It’s one of the reasons why Gary [Holt, guitar] is playing with us, because I’m not hip on strangers and people I don’t know.
Metal Assault: Right, I was going to ask you about him as well. The fact that he actually filled in for Jeff for a period of almost two years before Jeff passed away would have made it a little easier for you to get used to having him next to you on stage instead of Jeff?
Araya: Yeah, it has, but I knew Gary. I had the pleasure of meeting Gary 33 years ago. That was the reason why I didn’t have an issue with him sitting in for Jeff. I had an issue with someone sitting in. I didn’t like the fact that we were going to bring someone we didn’t know or I didn’t feel comfortable with. But when Kerry said, “What about Gary? Maybe we can ask him.” I was okay with that, because Gary is someone I knew. When I first met him, and from what I knew of him, he was a really nice guy. So I said, “OK, I can deal with Gary. Gary‘s good!” So we asked him to see if he would do it, and he was more than happy to. That just made the whole transition a lot easier, for me at least.
Metal Assault: Is this going to be the lineup that records the next album?
Araya: That’s something that me and Kerry are going to have to sit down and talk about. But Gary has been sitting in for a while so I’m sure he’ll be involved somehow if we move forward and complete this record we started a few years back. But he’s an obvious choice. It would be kind of dumb to have done all this time with him and then find someone different, you know what I mean? But like I said, me and Kerry will have to sit down and communicate our thoughts as far as that goes. I know Kerry has expressed his thoughts as far as Gary sitting in, but it’s something the two of us will have to talk about. But it’s like Paul; it’s an obvious choice.
Read the entire interview at Metal Assault.