SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya recently spoke to Gary Graff of Billboard.com about the band's plans for the remainder of the year after it wraps its run on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in early August. "We'll probably get together and start writing together and start making a new album," he said. "I think after [Mayhem] we'll just go back to the drawing board and take a look at what we've got and start putting it together. These days we're a bit more like, 'Let's see what comes out.' We don't chomp at the bit like we did in the early days. You just sort of have to let it happen and see what the end result is, and hopefully we'll like it...Everything we've done as a band has been like that — 'Wow, let's do it.' We know the outcome is going to be good."
Regarding the status of guitarist Jeff Hanneman — who in January 2011 contracted necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused by a spider bite, and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and intense rehab since — Araya said, "Jeff's had a long ordeal. He's working on his playing ability, and that's something that's gonna take some time. He's working on strengthening his arm and his ability to play. He can play, but it's not for an extended period of time. Like anything else when you have some kind of not only muscle damage but nerve damage, it takes a bit for a lot of your functions to come back. They're not going to come back and easy and quick."
He added, "On this [latest tour] more than others it's dawned on me that he's not there. The audiences have been very favorable, capacity crowds, really good. I just kind of look out and think, 'Jeff, God, where are you? You worked 30 years for this. You should be here.' He should be enjoying this part of his career. I can't wait for him to (be back)."
EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt is filling in for Hanneman on SLAYER's summer tour, which kicked off at the end of May at All Tomorrow's Parties in England.