Mitchell Peters of Billboard.biz recently conducted an interview with Scott Sokol, SLAYER's booking agent at Pinnacle Entertainment for the past 15 years.
Asked if there were ever discussions about taking a break from touring after the May 2013 death of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman, Sokol said: "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 [Hanneman's replacement] Gary Holt [of EXODUS] 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."
Sokol also spoke about how SLAYER's live show has changed since Gary Holt joined the band to replace Jeff Hanneman. "I don't think they've really missed a beat there," he said. "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."
Regarding whether there are plans for the band to record some new material soon, Sokol said: "They're definitely working on new music. More things will be revealed in the coming weeks."
SLAYER's 25-date fall 2013 North American tour kicks off on October 22 in Anchorage, Alaska. GOJIRA and 4ARM will provide support on all dates.
It was announced on May 30 by SLAYER's Tom Araya (bass, vocals) and Kerry King (guitar) that Paul Bostaph would be behind the drum kit for the remainder of the band's 2013 international tour.
Bostaph was SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band — the gold-certified "Divine Intervention" (1994), the 1996 punk covers album "Undisputed Attitude", "Diabolus In Musica" (1998), "God Hates Us All" (2001) that received a Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance", as well as the DVD "War At The Warfield" (2001), also certified gold. In addition to SLAYER, Bostaph has been a member of FORBIDDEN, EXODUS, SYSTEMATIC and TESTAMENT.
Original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo sat out the band's Australian tour in February/March due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).