Live Chat with Tom Araya of Slayer
Before his tracking session at a studio in North Hollywood California, Tom Araya Stopped into ESP to do an On-Line chat to help us celebrate the launching of our new site and to talk to fans about the new CD and the Unholy Alliance Tour which starts 06/06/06. There were many great questions and what was supposed to be an hour, turned into more than a two hour event. Check out the transcript from that day and see what Tom had to say. The chat went so well that we decided that we will start to do this on a more regular basis, so be sure to check back in on who will be the next guest on the ESP forum.
ESP Josh: Do you prefer big shows, medium shows, or clubs?
Tom: I prefer all shows. Big shows are cool, because there are so many people. Little shows because they are more intimate.
tsinthegame: Well here goes: I've always wondered how the relationship between Slayer and ESP started. Did ESP approach Slayer or vice versa?
Tom: ESP was working with Kerry and Jeff already, I walked in and met with Matt and the rest was history. A few years later I had my own line.
Boinz: Good afternoon Tom, welcome to the board, quick question, when do you think the new album will be complete, i know its up to all the band members, but i must say i am looking very forward to a kickass slayer album.
Tom: Soon I hope. So am I.
lt1z: Tom- What can we expect for the new album sound wise. A mixture of the Bostaph years and Lombardo years?
Tom: You can expect it to sound like Slayer!
Mr West: So Tom, Slayer is widely know for their agressive fast paced music. As most of us know, a new album is in the works, can we expect some "classic" Slayer sounds in this album? Or is Slayer experimenting with different sounds? Possibly a mix? Thanks in Advance. P.S. If possible, will we get a sneak peek of the new music in the upcoming tour?
Tom: Yeah. Classic Slayer and there will be some new elements in there, there always are.
slayerrr: Hello Tom. It's Baran from Turkey. (You know me from this summer) When you will come to Turkey? (or a europe tour) also Hi says Mehmet and Anýl from Turkey.
Tom: Europe will be sometime in the fall. No set dates for Turkey yet.
HelloFromTheGutter: My Question is; What inspired you to change vocals lately? I've noticed they are much more scream-oriented. I think they're quite good now as well, but why did you change out of the clearer sounding vocals?
Tom: The screaming wasn't by choice. If I had it my way I would have sang some songs differently.
jaxadam: what do you like best about working with ESP, and do you think they've still maintained a high level of workmanship over the years?
Tom: Great @#%$ guitars or else I wouldn't be here. They have maintained their quality.
knuckleheadjcz: Tom, Is Rick Rubin producing this album? If not who is & why did you choose to go with them? Thank you.
Tom: Rick Rubin is the executive producer, because he is our guy with the bick bucks and signs the checks. As far as producing we are going with Josh A.
Slayer disciple666: Hi, Tom!!! What is your favourite Slayer song to perform?
What was your first own bass guitar?
Could you tell me some titles of the new songs or the title of the upcoming album?
What are you (with Slayer) going to do after the US tour?
Are you (with Slayer) going to tour Europe (especially Finland) again soon?
Tom: Dead Skin Mask' would be a favorite to perform. My first bass was a Paul McCartney replica. 'Jihad', 'Eyes of the Insane', 'Cult' are the names of some of the new songs. After the tour, I will going to Disneyland! We should in Europe at the end of the year.
Sjuge: What's your favorite beer and how do you take it? Ice cold, cold or just cool?
Tom: I like to drink my Corona's cold at 45 degrees with a shot of crown.
Demon Child27: Hey tom, how do your ESP basses compare to your previous ones?
Tom: The quality and playability, I love the neck. I like it, its a great sounding bass! Just don't submerse it in blood.
ESP Josh: Since 2000, what has been the best band you have toured with.
Tom: Everybody. If we don't like the band musically, we won't tour with them. Some of the bands we've toured with are great musically, but if they're assholes we don't talk to them. Chimaira was a really good band. The Pantera guys were a really good live band.
martijua: Tom, I've been a fan since way back from the beggining. My first Slayer show was when I saw you all play a show here in San Antonio at a place called 'La Villa Fontanna' where it was (L.A.) Slayer vs. (S.A.) Slayer back in the early 80's....now thats a long long time ago. I'm glad that you all are still putting out music and touring for us fanatics who are rabbid for Slayer.
If you could only pick one, What is your favorite Slayer album?
Tom: Seasons is my favorite album. I was very heavily involved with that album. I was allowed to participate.
ReignOfDeath: What is the craziest thing a fans made for you?
Tom: A kid who was a blacksmith's apprentice, created a hand made pentogram for me, forged in fire.
EETFUK ESP: What are your biggest influences?
Tom: My wife's 34 double D's!
Boinz: Mr. Araya, quick question, if somehow Slayer hadn't happened, and instead it split up, what do you imagine yourself doing for a living?
Tom: I would be a respiratory therapist which is how i financed the first album with Kerry's dad.
Demon Child27: What do you enjoy doing offstage? Any hobies?
Tom: I enjoy going home spending time with my kids and my farm animals.
bigwillie: Tom, as you guys have aged, how have you retained your angry edge both on the albums and in the live shows? It has to be more than just a product of our modern day environment I'm guessing.
Tom: Because its in my blood! I wouldn't be able to do it if it wasn't in my blood. RIGHT!!!
Andy RV: Recently on British TV the was a documentary on Death metal. One of the subjects brought up was about people who listened to Slayer turning into Satan worshippers and hurting/ murdering people due to the music and what the lyrics read. What was the effect this had on Slayer? And what are your views on what happened with some fans turning into Satan worshippers? Take care, Andrew.
Tom: Couldn't give a shit.
hammer666: Hey Tom. Do you remember how you guys dealt with nerves before playing live back in the early days. Me and my band are playing friday, and we could use some professional advise
Tom: Try throwing up, that works.
PapaHett: As a youngin' who did you look upto (Music Wise)? What age did you begin to play bass? Did your parents support the decision?
Tom: I began playing bass when I was about 9 or 10. I grew up with 60's radio and listened to everything. My main influence would be the Beatles.
emg32: Hey Tom, I've read that you are fascinated with serial killers and write alot of your lyrics about serial killers. Has this always been a fascination of yours? Do you feel that it is a outlet for you and helps you write better lyrics due to your fascination of the subject? Thanks
Tom: Yeah! Movies inspire me, books that I read, news articles, stories, Stephen King. 'Interview with the Vampire' was a big one that influenced me to write At Dawn They Sleep.
metalhead456: Hey Tom, i was just wondering why you decided a while ago to change from playing bass with your fingers to using a plectrum? did you one day just decide you preferred using plectrums or was there another reason behind it?
Tom: It was suggested during 'Reign in Blood', the attack was better and the notes were more clear with the pick.
Ptak: Hey Tom! Greeting from Denmark! Do you have any advice for upcoming musicians? I wonder if you could recommend some speed techniques for me, I'm stuck there at the moment.
Tom: The only advice that I can give is be pesistent. Don't let anyone tell you that you suck. You have to do it for love. Otherwise you won't make it. You can't be doing it for a big pay day. You'll find yourself out in the street, talking to yourself, and pushing a cart.
donting101: What do you think of jeff and kerrys guitar soloing?
Tom: I don't.
martijua: Tom, I missed work to be online for this chat, Can you ask the mod to speed it up ? :)
Tom: No one asked you to miss work for this, dummy. Dave's doing the best he can.
Hrellir: Ever played around with a five string bass to try out new sounds or any plans to?
Tom: No not really, but I have thought about it.
legendofdeathwalker: Have you ever had lessons or are you just naturally gifted with an ESP in your hands and a microphone in your face
Tom: Self-taught and I scream in key if you call that a gift. But in reality I bought a chart and memorized the music notes.
xXFarBeyondMetalXx: Hey tom, whats your favourite city to play in the US ?
Tom: In no particular order I like New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago to name a few.
arnoldplanken: Hey tom, how does slayer write songs, i've got a couple of demo's from jeff, but are the songs always made this way, or do you guys just jam a bit around all the time (like when your on tour and have nothing to do)... ?
Tom: Where did you get Jeff's demos from?
abc123: What do you do in the half hour before a big show? And can you describe your thoughts and sensations in the instant you walk onstage and see the crowd pumped up ready to see you.
Tom: "I hope I don't @#%$ up. I hope I don't @#%$ up. I hope I don't @#%$ up"...
bodom578: how did the slayer eagle come about?
Tom: Rick Rubin and us broke out with an SS war metal book and we took the eagle and put the two images together. It was cool!
ElectricClown: Hey Tom, One Quickie...what would is the hardest slayer song to play and sing?
assuming it's Dittohead, what is the second hardest to play and sing? and another if i may... are you still as entertained playing life as when you first got big with Slayer? greetings, Dave (iceland)
Tom: They are not all easy. But 'Piece by Piece' would have to be the one. With age come experience. You get a little bit better at your playing as you get older. I'd probably be good if I practiced alot.
Lord Of Repulsion: Can i have some advice on how to deal wiht someguy if he thrwos a twix bar at you while you are on stage?...What would you do?
Tom: You're talking candy? I'd unwrap it and eat it or save it for later.
5711: What was going through your head the first time you stepped out to a major audience? What feelings went through you? I imagine it must be something awesome!! Cheers, Andy
Tom: The only thing that went through my head was, "@#%$..." and "Hope I don't @#%$ up. I hope I don't @#%$ up..."