Mark Eglinton of The Quietus conducted an interview with SLAYER vocalist/bassist Tom Araya on Tuesday, September 1. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Quietus: Isn't it difficult being a responsible father while singing about some of that challenging subject matter?
Araya: No, my kids are fans of the band — they've seen the band live. Our album covers, they've seen all that and know all that, and, you know, they're two separate worlds. It's like you when you've got your daytime job and you do your work, then you go home and you're with the kids. It's no different for me. Even when I'm out on the road, they come with me; it's no different. They know that the minute I'm on stage I'm in SLAYER and I'm playing and singing. But I come off the stage and I'm Dad. They kind of have a grasp of what's going on or the extent of the popularity of the band but they know me as Dad and don't know me as anything else.
The Quietus: How did the tour with MEGADETH go? And was there any evidence of a rift between SLAYER and Dave Mustaine?
Araya: You know, I ran into him on two occasions, but when you see someone, and if you're a human being, you respect them and treat them as human beings — they're another living person. Other than that, the only thing we shared was that we did those four shows together. You know what I mean?! Nothing's really changed for me about him; I'm just waiting for him to open his mouth. [Laughs]
The Quietus: What is the burning issue between MEGADETH and SLAYER?
Araya: There isn't really a burning issue. The thing is he talks a lot of shit — then he apologizes for it, then he continues [talking shit]. Did you see [METALLICA's documentary] "Some Kind of Monster" [which features Mustaine in a scene with METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and "performance enhancement coach" Phil Towle]? That should give you some kind of idea how he is!
The Quietus: In hindsight, would you have ever radically compromised your style for commercial gain? It must have been discussed?
Araya: We've never discussed it and it's something we'd never do. And we haven't. Let's put it this way: when we did "Divine Intervention", this was the last conference we ever had with a record label where they sat us down and sold us the idea of how they wanted to do "Divine", and how they were going to do this with the cover... and all these different ideas for the album. Then one guy looked at us and said, "But we need a hit song." And we said, "But you've got eleven songs, and if you can't find a hit in one of them than you're shit out of luck because that's what we're giving you." So we're like saying to them, "Right, you write the fucking hit song and we'll record it." That shut the guy up and that was the last time we had any kind of meetings like that! [Laughs]
The Quietus: So monetary success is not a driving force?
Araya: No, it's not really. Well, it would be nice to have monetary success, but we're not going to go out of our way to try to achieve that — we're going to be SLAYER and you're going to like us for what we do. We're going to make you buy a million records!
The Quietus: Is the controversy spotlight off SLAYER nowadays given some bands have taken things somewhat further and appear to mean it, too?
Araya: I don't really think about it and I don't really care. Even if we were getting the attention and now we're not, it doesn't really matter. If we've got protesters, I don't care. Someone says they don't like it, I don't care. No one has to like us and they're more than welcome to hate us.
The Quietus: How do you replace the huge adrenaline that SLAYER must give you when you're at home and away from the band?
Araya: Home's a sanctuary. Peace and quiet is what I want there. You know it doesn't take much to get the adrenaline going— we're in SLAYER! You start playing the music and you get a rush so there's no shortage of adrenaline. You recharge the batteries and I enjoy that kind of tranquility. I don't realize how much noise goes on around me until I get home and sit outside listening to the trees. Silence... just quiet.
Read the entire interview from The Quietus.