Elliot Levin of the NY Hard Rock Music Examiner recently conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
NY Hard Rock Music Examiner: So we're less than a month away from the "Big Four" at Yankee Stadium here in New York City. Are these "Big Four" shows, whether the ones here in the U.S. or the European ones, any different from any other SLAYER concert from your perspective? Do you have to prepare or play any differently?
Tom: Well, we're talking about four groups that have been around for 30 years, to some extent, and it's a gathering of four tribes, you know what I mean? To me it's pretty special and it says a lot about the music that the four bands created and we're a part of, that we've lasted this long and to some extend are still going strong.
NY Hard Rock Music Examiner: Are the shows themselves, the setlists, the production, any different from a regular SLAYER show?
Tom: Well you know what it is? It's a competitive edge everyone wants to outdo the other band. And so the result is you get four bands playing really, really good trying to outdo each other. To me it's more of a friendly competitiveness... Whether they want to admit it or not, we all want to go out there and beat the other bands. But I think it is special, because as a fan of this music, I've always wanted to see these four bands play together. We tried to do this in '90 with Clash Of The Titans, so it's a very special thing.
NY Hard Rock Music Examiner: When you play a city, do you look forward to hanging or sightseeing, or do you just get in and out?
Tom: Whenever we're doing a show in the city, I prefer to just come in and out, because when you're out and everybody knows you're in town, everybody's looking for you. I guess I'm somewhat of a private person, and I like it when no one knows I'm there. I would prefer to walk the streets without a million it's not a million, but to me it feels like a million people. There might be ten people that recognize me in a given day, but for me that's too many. I would prefer to be a private guy, whenever I go into town I would prefer that SLAYER wasn't doing a show and no one would be looking for me. I always wonder if my life was like Michael Jackson's, where everywhere I go people are always hounding me, I understand how people end being reclusive. I think I would end up being that way. I wouldn't want to go out because I wouldn't have to deal with that. And it's not that I hate the fans, it's just that I don't need that, you know what I mean? Some people need that, but I don't, I need my privacy, I would like it if I could go somewhere and be invisible. It's bad enough my life consists of living in a fish bowl when I'm out on tour, I don't want to be in that fishbowl when I'm living my life.
NY Hard Rock Music Examiner: SLAYER is kind of the standout band in this group you guys have never tried to do radio songs, or soften your sound like the other bands. Do you feel you bring something unique to these "Big Four" shows?
Tom: Yeah, like you said, we're the only ones out of the four that never really had a radio hit. We became a part of radio because radio added a metal hour, and that's how we were able to make it on the radio. I think out of all the bands, we hit the radio waves because of "Metal Shop", and that was the reason why we made it on the radio. Not because of our hit songs, or our love songs, or our slow melodic songs. The one hour a week, for that one hour a month.
NY Hard Rock Music Examiner: Can you name your favorite METALLICA, MEGADETH, and ANTHRAX songs?
Tom: Meh. I like the first three METALLICA albums, "Kill 'Em All", "Ride The Lightning", and "Master Of Puppets".
NY Hard Rock Music Examiner: Do you have a favorite song off of those, though?
Tom: I guess "Battery" would be one of them. ANTHRAX, I'm familiar with some of them but I don't really have a favorite tune. ANTHRAX is more on a personal level they're all great guys and I get along with them on a personal, human level, and they got great songs, but they're more on a personal level; they're good guys. As for the MEGADETH dudes, I've gotten to know the new drummer and guitar player; they're really nice guys. I've had a going relationship with David Ellefson, who is also a really nice guy, and I've gotten to know him. And, Mustaine... well. (laughter). So I guess "Peace Sells" is my favorite song. And the METALLICA guys, I've kind of gotten to know them, Robert [Trujillo] is an old friend from SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, who hasn't changed at all, and he's a really sweet guy. The opportunity to play, and to get to know them, is really good and I'm just glad it finally happened.
Read the entire interview at NY Hard Rock Music Examiner.