Tom Araya: 'I Have to Remind Myself That Jeff's Not Alive Anymore'

"There was never any doubt he was coming back from my perspective," says Slayer singer.

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Singer/bassist Tom Araya of Slayer recently discussed the band's future plans and the extent to which the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman still affects him. While chatting with Billboard, Araya remembered some of the tough moments from the latest tour, singling out the encore moment when the band dropped the banner with Hanneman's name. "Everything was fine until we would drop the banner," he said. "I had a tough time maintaining control at first. I mean, even though he wasn't part of our live performances for the past two years, there was hope. There was always the possibility and chance he'll be coming back - there was never any doubt he was coming back from my perspective. "So when we got the call [that Hanneman had died] it was like, 'Holy s--t! It's permanent now,'" Tom continued. "And still, every now and then I have to remind myself that he's not gonna be back. This is how it is. I have to remind myself that he's not alive anymore. That's hard." When it comes to the band's future, Araya noted that Slayer are "at a point where we're obviously going to have to do a lot of communication and figure out where we want to go." "Three weeks after [Hanneman] died we were back on the road," the bassist said. "A lot of stuff was put together in advance, so we're meeting our contractual obligations, in a sense. We've never really had an opportunity to really sit down and discuss what we're feeling and where we are and where we want to go. Jeff was a big part of the band; some people are just now realizing that, but I've always known it." Tom concluded, "So Kerry and I have a lot of thinking to do, a lot of talking to do and we haven't been in a place to do that yet" During a separate LA Weekly interview, Kerry King pointed out that the decision to continue came as a difficult, yet necessary route. "At the end of the day, this is my job," he said. "I have to earn money for myself, my bandmates, and my crew."

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    I don't understand why people are getting upset and surprised by the fact that these people see their band as a job. They've made a living on their music for 30 years, isn't it natural to see it as business? Slayer are not Metallica, they are not economically independent and have to sustain their JOB. I don't think any of you would want to start working at an office after 30 years of touring and recording music. I think they should do whatever they want to do, if the fans don't like it they're not forced to be any part of it.
    they earn money so that's a job... and a good job
    True enough that they are in the business and they need money like any job this process takes hard work. When fans see the "business" label they think its soulless or the cash cow. I don't see it that way, I see Slayer as a passionate and gruesome thrash band. They definitely have meaning behind their songs, the songs aren't just hammered out bullshit to make the radio slots. People should know the difference between pop and genuine music.
    I agree with you, I don't think any of the band have really contributed that much to music outside of Slayer, so this band is the only one they have and I can understand why they would want to keep it going.