Slayer's Tom Araya Ponders What Band Has the Craziest Fans at Mayhem Festival

Categories: Q&A, Show Preview

Luke Holwerda
Slayer's Tom Araya performing in 2010.
See also: Slipknot, Anthrax, Motorhead, and Slayer Unite for Mayhem Fest
See also: Why Isn't Slipknot's Corey Taylor Listening to Metal?

American thrash-metal band Slayer can easily be called one of the greatest metal bands of all time.

Their 1986 album Reign in Blood is considered to be the foundation of death metal (averaging a breakneck speed of 220 beats per minute), and they are credited as one of the "Big Four" metal acts, alongside Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax.

Luke Holwerda
Slayer's Tom Araya performing in 2010.
Everything about the band screams intensity. Drummer Dave Lombardo uses two bass drums instead of the double kick on a single bass drum, and has been dubbed the "godfather of double bass" by Drummerworld. Guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King's signature dual guitar solos are aggressive and fast and chaotic, but also melodically twisted. And most of all, the band delights in bucking convention: Slayer's controversial lyrics and album art, often concerning religion, warfare, serial killers, and Satanism, have sparked lawsuits and album bans, but the band laughs off ideas about "worshiping the devil."

Since their debut album in 1983, Slayer has released 11 studio albums and scored two Grammys, but it's all come with struggle, judgment, sweat, and blood. And, curiously enough, spider bites. Guitarist Jeff Hanneman hasn't been able to tour with the band since 2011, due to a flesh-eating disease, necrotizing fasciitis, that doctors attribute to a an encounter with an eight-legged aggravator. Surely, damn arachnids everywhere are dealing with the wrath of metal heads. Hell hath no fury like a detained guitar god's fans.

But they still rock the stage, and the Valley will have a chance to hear them when Slayer comes through town on Friday, July 6, for the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, alongside Slipknot, Motorhead, and Anthrax.

Up on the Sun sat down with Slayer's lead vocalist/bassist, Tom Araya, to talk about who has the craziest fans, the Slayer album new fans should hear first (it's not Reign in Blood), and how he keeps his faith on the road.

Up on the Sun: What is Slayer currently working on? I saw somewhere that you guys are wrapping up writing on new music.

Tom Araya: It's a two-sided thing, like a two-song single that we plan on releasing. That's what we've been working on, and we're hoping it gets released while we're touring on Mayhem. We just finished it up in Dallas.

So is Exodus guitarist Gary Holt is still filling in for Jeff Hanneman this summer? How is Jeff doing?

Gary Holt is filling in for Jeff, who has let us know that he didn't feel he was prepared to perform live, at least for an extended period of time, which is usually over an hour.

I was at the Big Four in Indio, and it was fantastic to see him up there, playing on stage.

Yeah, that was a great show! I missed jamming with him last year. I wish he would get better. We need him, period. He's a big part of this band. I'm sure fans appreciate the fact that we're out there playing, but I'm sure they'd appreciate it more if it was all the members. I feel the same way they do.

Location Info


Ak-Chin Pavilion

2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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I think you'll find it's "you're". As in "You are" welcome. Mutt.


I see you made the corrections.  Your welcome. "Now go get your shinebox."


Lauren,  There is a difference between 'then' and 'than'.  Learn the difference.  Analgrammarcop

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