SLAYER frontman Tom Araya recently spoke to the Denver Westword about his band, his voice, prison letters, child rearing, God, world music and exploiting Satan for fun and profit. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Westword: Do you still get letters from incarcerated people?
Tom Araya: "Yeah. They're pretty out there. It's like 'Man, dude, maybe it's a good thing you are in jail.' They're genuine letters. I know that they're kids. It's great that SLAYER inspires them to carry on. There's hope. Which is really odd to be saying. People say that listening to SLAYER has helped them along in crucial parts of their life. I've gotten letters from Marines and different branches of the military. They're pretty trippy, too. Actual accounts of them in Iraq listening to SLAYER while they're doing what they do. I'd like to think that it's the music giving them aggression and strength. It kind of recharges your batteries. It's like some of these athletes that we've met listen to SLAYER to get 'em pumped up. Mostly in hockey and football."
Westword: What's the biggest misconception people have about SLAYER?
Tom Araya: "The obvious one: the Satan stuff. I'm not here to fault anybody. And I hate to say this, but Christ came and taught us about love. About doing unto others. That was his preach: Accept each other for who we are. Live peacefully, and love one another. Period."
Westword: Do you believe in God?
Tom Araya: "I believe in a supreme being, yeah. But He's an all-loving God."
Westword: Can you see how people might miss that message in your music?
Tom Araya: "Yeah. And I don't fault them for that. Songs are open for interpretation, you know? It's like we can both be looking at a flower, but the information that we absorb is different about that flower."
Westword: But SLAYER is not about spreading the love.
Tom Araya: "SLAYER's about what we enjoy. Putting together some really cool songs. Like on 'God Hates Us All'. There's some really good stuff in there lyrically that just blows my mind. That's something that intrigues me about what I write. The serial-killer stuff is like, 'What thought process led you to this?' It's like everyone has been asking for a sign. The Twin Towers were a fuckin' sign! Actually [September 11, 2001] was the release date of 'God Hates Us All'. We did a midnight signing at a Tower Records. They had over 3,000 kids there. We were supposed to fly out the next day and start a tour in Europe."
Read Tom Araya's entire interview with Westword at this location.