Rob Fitzpatrick of U.K.'s The Guardian recently conducted an interview with SLAYER members Tom Araya (bass, vocals) and Kerry King (guitar). A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Guardian: Do you ever do rubbish shows?
Araya: "Oh yeah. The first one's usually rubbish. You come off and look at each other and say, 'You know what, I sucked!' We have to start straight off at 150% and go straight to 200%. If we start at even 148%, we're fucked. If we're not all together from the off then half of us will never catch up."
The Guardian: You must sound bloody awful if you're not together.
Araya: "We do, yeah! That's exactly how we sound. We have a new song called 'Psychopathy Red' which is pretty intense, the first verse was great, but then I lost the intro to the second verse and I couldn't catch up at all. I had to lose that whole verse and just wait for the third. To be honest, it wasn't long to wait and no one will notice anyway."
On whether there is any truth to the rumors that SLAYER is planning on retiring soon:
Araya: "We don't know yet. I know this much: being away from your family so much doesn't get any easier. I've been married for 15 years. I have a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son and I want to make up for the all the time I wasn't there. I have nieces and nephews I've barely seen. This life demands so much of you, personally and physically. I honestly don't know how I did the first 15 years of SLAYER. How did I get so fucking wasted then play every fucking night? Then, immediately after playing, do it all over again. How the fuck did we all do that?"
The Guardian: Are you as fearless as you were at 20? Do you want it all as much?
Araya: [pauses for a long time] "Er …" [pauses again] "Wow!" [takes another 10 seconds] "It's not so much 'Do you still want it?' as much as a question of 'How much more are you willing to take?' There's so much shit that goes on behind the scenes, not just the bureaucratic bullshit that goes on with the label or with touring, but the other, bigger stuff. It's the four different personalities in the band trying to get along. Sometimes we clash, that's normal. But after 28 years you do wonder if you've grown together or apart."
On what he thinks is the greatest record ever made:
King: "That's a real sit-down-and-a-cognac question, isn't it? VAN HALEN's first record is amazing. Sure, it's rock'n'roll, but it introduced the world to what the electric guitar could do. SABBATH's 'Sabotage' is very, very heavy. AC/DC's 'Powerage', JUDAS PRIEST's 'Stained Class', some MAIDEN too …"
On what he has learnt about human nature after nearly 30 years on the road:
King: "I've learnt what not to say. Why set someone off? Some bands can't get over something someone said 15 years ago and split up, but when we go home, we just scatter. I don't need to call them. After all, what am I going to say?"
Read more from The Guardian.