Slayer Might Be Ready To Admit That It’s Too Loud, They’re Too Old
Are the thrash-metal kings Slayer ready to hang it up after closing out their 2008 tour schedule? Well, probably not directly after the tour winds down; they have an album coming out in 2009–their tenth–that will satisfy their contract with Rick Rubin’s label, American Recordings. But given that frontman Tom Araya told the UK metal site Thrash Hits that “seeing a 50-year-old man headbanging on stage would make [him] cringe” and he’s about three years away from that milestone, the day when Slayer hangs up their pentagrams might not be all that far off. Can you imagine a world without Slayer? You may have to. We all may have to.
You were quoted a while ago as saying that after the next Slayer album you would have to discuss whether to continue as a band, but your guitarist Kerry King has downplayed this comment. What’s the truth? Are you really going to talk about winding up the band? Yeah. Let’s put it this way, this is the final record of our commitment with Rick Rubin. When we first signed a deal with him back in 1986, we never sat down and said, ‘How long do you guys want to keep this together?’ We signed the deal and we’ve just been doing records since. Then, by the time we did Seasons In The Abyss (1990), our third record with Rubin, we had a manager [Rick Sales] who did a really good job of renegotiating an entire new deal for 10 records. We just continued making records, with no game plan other than ‘We’re gonna do a record and then tour’, ‘We’re gonna do another record after the tour’ and so on.
So if you’ve never said to each other, ‘What are we going to do after our final album?’, when will that conversation happen? I don’t know. We’re working on new ideas now just so that people can have a taste of what’s coming. Kerry and Jeff are putting together ideas, so what the end result of this next two and a half months is, I don’t know. Once we’ve put together new material, we can get together and discuss our future plans.
Are you in a position financially where you could retire? I don’t know. I would think, to some extent, that I’m a little better off than most people, but as far as being secure? Maybe. But you know what, life will always be good. I don’t fear it. I’ve been very grateful for everything that I’ve gotten.
Is it because of your age that you’re thinking of hanging it up? Seeing a 50-year-old man headbanging on stage would make me cringe. If I was watching that, I’d think, ‘Dude, you’re a little too old for that, aren’t you? You’re gonna fall off!’
Well, Godspeed… oh, wait.