Miami New Times recently conducted an interview with SLAYER lead vocalist and bass player Tom Araya. The brief question-and-answer session follows:
Miami New Times: How does it feel to be opening for MARILYN MANSON?
Araya: I don't have any problems with it. We really don't have a preference. If we're coheadlining and the other band prefers to close, we say, "Sure, if you want to follow us, that's fine." We have no arguments. All we want to do is play, and we are the best, period. So you better be fucking good. I know of MANSON; I'm familiar with some of his material. It should be an interesting lineup.
Miami New Times: Will Dave Lombardo be drumming on this tour?
Araya: Yeah. I don't understand why people would think any different.
Miami New Times: Well, he left SLAYER in 1987, returned in 1992, left again....
Araya: He does other things. One of the stipulations is that he can do other stuff, but when it comes to SLAYER, he gives 100 percent. I think that some of his other projects are really cool. I like FANTÔMAS [with Mike Patton and Buzz Osborne].
Miami New Times: A lot of people consider SLAYER a satanic band.
Miami New Times: The rumor for a while has been that you are actually a born-again Christian.
Araya: [Manic laughter] First off, I was born once [more laughter]. When you use the term born-again, it is because you found something that you lost, right? I haven't lost anything. I was born and raised Catholic, so it's in my blood. I don't go to church.... I was born and raised Catholic, which is about the extent of my religion. My parents made one request, that I have my first Holy Communion.
Miami New Times: You had a Holy Communion?
Araya: Believe it or not, I had my first Holy Communion. I am not an atheist; I believe in God. But my religion ends there. I have my own personal belief system that is so strong it allows me to do what I do. I don't have to worry about going to Hell because of SLAYER, you know? Everyone has a personal belief system and believes in life somehow.
Miami New Times: Do you recommend any books that might help us understand Tom Araya's belief system?
Araya: [Laughter] I recommend anybody go to a bookstore, go down the self-help or new-age section, and just walk those aisles. See what book jumps out at you; there's a good chance it's a book you need in your life. That's basically how I find the books that I read. I just walk down the aisle, look at titles, glance at covers. You just happen to pick one up.... If it does something for you, great; if not, you just keep looking.
Miami New Times: You frequent the new-age section?
Araya: I like anything that captures my attention: new-age, religion, philosophy. True crime books are my favorite; there are a lot of brutal ones. They already have new books about that Virginia Tech dude.... He outdid himself — sort of a re-enactment of what happened at Columbine a few years ago.
Miami New Times: What are your hobbies?
Araya: Besides SLAYER, which is a full-time job, I raise animals. I have a ranch in Texas. My wife takes care of the animals when I'm on tour. When I get home, I become a ranch hand. I have cows, chickens, dogs, pigs, ducks....
Miami New Times: Tom Araya's farm?
Araya: I raise the cows for personal consumption. I just started a herd of nine cows. These are meat cows to be eaten, not to be milked.
Miami New Times: Are you going to slaughter these cows yourself?
Araya: No. It takes a lot of work and I am not prepared for that. I don't have a slaughterhouse.
Miami New Times: Do you wear a cowboy hat?
Araya: Not yet [laughter].
Miami New Times: What type of music do you listen to?
Araya: My favorite records would surprise people. I love "Graceland" by PAUL SIMON. I am a huge fan of THE BEATLES. I like THE EAGLES, CAT STEVENS. I grew up listening to Sixties music: JANIS JOPLIN, HENDRIX, THE DOORS, YES, THE WHO. I grew up listening to all that shit. I listen to everything, even the great sounds of the Seventies. Bands like BOSTON and VAN HALEN. That was when metal started getting heavy.