Slay Ride

Slayer is older, wiser, and still reigning in blood

Q: With earplugs?

A: Yeah. Earplugs with cannons. He slept through the whole thing. My little girl -- she's a well-seasoned Slayer fan. They request it and run around.

Q: More than Raffi?

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A: Yeah. They enjoy it. They enjoy Metallica, Pantera. They enjoy that music because we've exposed them to it. Country too. My wife's a country fan.

Q: Is there a kind of music that Slayer fans would just be astounded to know that you listen to?

A: I listen to everything. It's been a while since something's really caught my ear. Like Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles -- that's a great album. I just walked into a record store and heard Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive. And recently Ry Cooder put together an album [Mambo Sinuendo] with a lot of Cuban players from Buena Vista Social Club. That's awesome. It reminds me an awful lot of the traditional music from Chile, where I'm from.

Q: Santiago?

A: Viña del Mar. It's on the coast, directly across from Santiago.

Q: So you grew up hearing Chilean folk music?

A: Yeah. But my memories of that are here in the States -- my parents playing music from the period when they left. You know a true Chilean if he recognizes a song and starts singing to it, because it's such a national thing. I guess it's a part of my culture.

Q: What's the biggest misconception people have about Slayer?

A: 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.

Q: Do you believe in God?

A: I believe in a supreme being, yeah. But he's an all-loving God.

Q: Can you see how people might miss that message in your music?

A: 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.

Q: But Slayer is not about spreading the love.

A: 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.

Q: Any prophetic lyrics on that album?

A: Yeah, on "Disciple": "Pessimist, terrorist targeting the next mark/Global chaos feeding on hysteria/Cut throat, slit your wrists, shoot you in the back."

Q: Did that make you feel like Nostradamus?

A: For a nanosecond, dude.

Q: What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't in a notorious speed-metal band?

A: I don't know. At the time that this happened, I was working as a respiratory therapist. I think I probably would've stuck with something like that. Or maybe even emergency medicine or like a MedEvac or a physician's assistant. When I was working at the hospital, I was part of the blue-code team. I was a resuscitator.

Q: Have you ever jumped down from the stage to save the life of a hyperventilating Slayer fan?

A: No. I think the music does that. The music kind of cures me too. Just high energy, you know what I mean? To be able to create that energy and maintain it for a long time gets you going. And it's a good going. We got an aerobics class going for an hour and a half every night.

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