This past Sunday (23), Elliott Fullam of Little Punk People conducted an interview with Slayer frontman Tom Araya at the Electric Factory in Philadelphia, PA. The California thrash legends released their overall twelfth studio album Repentless back in 2015, a follow up to 2009’s World Painted Blood. It’s the first album released following Jeff Hanneman’ death, making Araya and Kerry King the only original remaining members. Despite the band being on tour right now with Behemoth and Lamb of God, this interview doesn’t make it seem like Araya’s having all that much fun.
Fullam brought this subject up, asking Araya about the group making new music:
“I don’t know. When we started doing this… when I started doing this, I always wanted to be in a band and play music. And then I ended up hooking up with four guys that were like-minded, just like me, and we clicked. And then we just started playing and jamming, and then we started writing our own stuff and jamming. Next thing you know, someone says, ‘Hey, I wanna do a song. I wanna do a record.’ And we just kept doing that. Thirty-five years later, I find myself in a place where I never thought I’d ever be. I never really once thought about ever being where I am. And it’s a business. And that was something that I really enjoyed doing because I loved it, and it slowly somehow turned into a business. It wasn’t about making music, [it was about] the business of making music. So what I’m leading into is that we had Jeff [Hanneman], who passed away a few years back. We never really had our business matters taken care of, as far as the membership and the band and all that stuff. That’s something that me and Kerry [King] are, at the moment, in the middle of getting all that squared away. So as far as the next record, apparently we did record a bunch of songs, and we finished the songs for this album, and there was, like, another six or seven songs. We’ll see. [Laughs]”
Later, he was asked if he thinks about Hanneman while performing:
“Yeah, yeah, because I look over and I see Gary [Holt] playing, but, yeah, I think about him. Especially when we do songs that me and him co-wrote. Me and him were collaborators — we wrote a lot of songs together, me and Jeff. So there’s a lot of songs that we play where it’s, like… And then this new album [2015’s Repentless], it was kind of a collaboration between me and Kerry, but not. [Laughs] That’s a clue. [Laughs] That’s a clue right there; I just gave you a big clue. But, yeah, I think about him a lot. Especially when we do… ’cause we always end our set with ‘Angel Of Death’, and that’s a tribute to him. So, yeah, I think about him. You just wonder… You always think about how you wish you could have or should have done things different that went on towards the latter period of his life. In hindsight, you always wanna do… you think you should have done more, and that’s how I feel: I feel like we could have, or I should have done more to help him.”