Slayer frontman Tom Araya insists that guitarist Jeff Hanneman is still a member of the band and that he hopes he is working on new music.
The frontman suggests that speculation over Exodus’ Gary Holt joining full-time has been fueled by the band’s internal communication problems.
Slayer’s Kerry King recently said he’d be “okay” if Holt replaced spider-bite victim Hanneman on a permanent basis. Earlier this week Holt himself said he’d never consider the move if it meant he’d have to quit his own band Exodus.
The issue has been made more complex with the absence of drummer Dave Lombardo over a contractual dispute.
Asked if they themselves in a “then there were two” situation, Araya tells Andrew Haug, “It’s not really two – Jeff isn’t in the picture but he’s part of the picture. It’s taking him a lot longer than he even thought, I think. He can play, he can work out material, but it’s surprising him that it’s taking as long as it is to get back. Even though no one’s seen him, Jeff’s still part of the band.”
While King has mapped out material for Slayer’s next album just in case Hanneman doesn’t contribute, Araya is optimistic. “We’re hoping that he does have something – that’s what he says.”
The doubt can be explained by the way the band members keep in touch. “The communication in this band has never been a really good one,” the frontman reports. “We communicate every now and again. Sometimes we never even return each others’ calls – and that’s for no other reason than we’re lazy. There’s no other reason.
“I’ll send a text and I’m aware he’s probably read it; he just hasn’t replied. It’s the same with me – he’ll send me something and I might reply. I might not. It might be two months later. That’s how it’s been.”
The band have laid down two tracks for the follow-up to 2009′s World Painted Blood, and hope to complete the album before the end of the year.
John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews spoke with Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan. Portions of the interview appear below.
RI: Do you think at this point that whole lead singer conversation is sort of a dead issue? [Singer] Johnny [Solinger] has been on enough albums and played enough live shows that I would hope people have gotten the point.
Rachel: I agree. Johnny’s been in the band for almost 14 years I believe people understand that he’s the lead singer of Skid Row. It’s pretty obvious. These EPs will be the third album, so to speak, that we’ve put out with Johnny. Granted, there has been a lot of time between each one but really, it was like that with the first two albums as well. That’s just how we work and that’s part of the reason we’ve decided to release a series of EPs instead of one full length record. Johnny is here to stay and if people aren’t getting it by now, they are probably never gonna get it. I mean, I know people who still won’t listen to AC/DC because Bon Scott isn’t singing (laughs) which is just absolutely ridiculous but….true.
LRI: I heard Snake on Eddie Trunk a few days back clarify a few of the reunion rumors that were kind of floated out there last year which was nice because one of the things that is consistently mentioned by bystanders is that you were the lone holdout of the reunion and everyone else is on board. Obviously you can give me a “No comment” and I totally understand, but I still want to ask you directly for those fans who continue to claim this. Is there any truth to the sentiment that there is some exclusive beef that is is strictly between you and him?
Rachel: I’d really rather not talk about him but I can say I think everybody has a beef with him honestly. I know what it’s like from this side, meaning Snake, Scotti and myself and I know all of our feelings towards that but we just choose to ignore his comments because it really doesn’t matter.
LRI: So the release schedule is every six months, have you already started recording tracks for United World Rebellion, Chapter 2?
Rachel: Haven’t started recording the second one, we have some songs and we will probably work some on that in between dates this summer. We’ve already got a few written but we need to write a few more. So, we’ll get that done and then immediately start demoing them and that type of thing.
LRI: Do you ever miss those hardworking days of sweating it out in those North Atlantic club years prior to being signed to Atlantic??
Rachel: No, they’re fond memories but to actually go back and do it?? No, I kind of like where I’m at now (laughs) instead of living in an apartment above a crackhouse. I lived in Long Branch, New Jersey next to a train station. It was just bad…..after I left, the roaches and mice probably were looking for a nicer place to move into because it was just that bad.
Cheap Trick will celebrate the 35th anniversary of their legendary Budokan, Japan performances with a pair of special concerts. The first show will be scheduled for April 28th at the John Varvatos Bowery boutique in New York City.
“I’m proud to host this momentous show for my friends Cheap Trick at my Bowery store which is celebrating its own 5th anniversary this month,” says designer John Varvatos, a favorite among rockers like ZZ Top and Jimmy Page.
The second anniversary performance will happen on April 30th at the El Rey in Los Angeles, Calif. where the band will perform the exact April 30th, 1978 Budokan set. This show will air live nationally on AXS TV.
1978’s Cheap Trick At Budokan is the album that catapulted the band to mainstream success with cuts like I Want You To Want Me and Ain’t That a Shame finding a permanent home on American radio. The live album hit the #4 on the Billboard Top 200 and went triple platinum, and Rolling Stone has since called it one of the top 500 albums of all time.
Ruben Mosqueda of Metal Titans spoke with Anthrax bassist Frank Bello. Portions of the interview appear below.
Ruben: You guys have been on the road for a longtime. If I recall correctly you’ve been playing live shows prior to the release of Worship Music which was released in September of 2011.
Frank: It’s been a crazy run—you’re right it’s been over two years now. We played our first show the day before the album’s release September 13th of 2011 or something like that. We played the ‘Big 4’ show at Yankee Stadium—so it’s been quite a run for sure. We weren’t going to do another run but ‘Metal Alliance’ came up with this killer package and here we are. We’re having a blast. We’re doing the entire ‘Among the Living’ record and the shows are either selling-out or close to it. It’s a really nice thing.
Ruben: When will we be hearing some new original music from Anthrax? I know the fans are chomping at the bit. You’re locked into this Metal Alliance tour then I’m sure you’ve got some festival stuff in Europe. What’s the tentative play for writing sessions?
Frank: (laughs) You sound like my manager you know that?! (laughs) We have a South American tour after Metal Alliance and the offers just keep coming in. Like you mentioned we have a European festival run this summer then we’ll get deep into full Anthrax writing mode in September. You can see that we’re getting the itch to write new music. Guys are starting get ideas recorded which is how it all starts.
Ruben: In this cycle of interviews for the promotion of Worship Music I’ve been fortunate enough to speak to everyone in the band some twice that is with the exception of Scott (Ian). The guy has been illusive but when I catch up with him it’ll be killer. I spoke with Rob (Caggiano) on a couple of occasions and the two times I spoke to the guy he seemed genuinely stoked about being in Anthrax, the ‘Worship Music’ album and touring. Then a few months ago he up and quit the band. There was a recent quote from Rob where he said something to the affect that he wasn’t all that into the music? He certainly fooled me. I saw a couple Anthrax shows on this tour and he looked ‘into’ it.
Frank: I love Rob. I’m at a point in my life where I just want people to be happy. If you’re not happy somewhere then move on. I think people would assume that there would be some animosity but there isn’t. I don’t feel that way. I feel very fortunate that we have Jon Donais from Shadows Fall stepping in on guitar. It’s all good, I love Rob we’re still friends. If you’re not happy somewhere then move on. I thought he had left to do more production but then he joined Volbeat. That’s a great band. We’re all good like I said earlier I just want people to be happy.
Ruben: From an outsider’s perspective it didn’t appear like you guys hit the panic button when Rob decided to leave the band. If I recall the dates were announced and the tour was booked. Did you guys freak?
Frank: Not at all. We had Jon available and we know him well—it was a no brainer. At this point in our career we don’t panic because we’ve been around the block a few times. We know things will be fine because we’ve been there before. I guess it’s our New York mentality. Panic? It’s not even in our vocabulary.
Ruben: Rob was with you guys for over a decade. Have you thought at all about a replacement at this point?
Frank: Yeah he was in the band for 11-12 years. No, not at this point. Jon’s playing with us and we’ll see how this goes. I don’t think anyone’s even thinking about that right now. We’re having a great fucking time man. We’re getting well with Jon he’s a fantastic guitar player and we’ll just see how it goes when it comes to writing for the next record. We’ll approach the next record who we’ve done records in the past. Charlie, Scott and I will head into our rehearsal space and bang out some song ideas—that’s how it starts.
Ruben: You stepped aside from Anthrax for a little bit and watched someone take over your role in the band. How weird was that for you?
Frank: Well as you know I went on and played with Helmet for a couple of years. We needed a break from each other. I think that made us stronger as a band. That was a great time for me in Helmet—I had a blast and I just love those guys. Page (Hamilton) is a great guy and Johnny Tempesta played drums. I think that experience made me a better person and a better bass player and all of the above. It made me realize that I’m a lucky guy and that I love playing bass. Then the reunion with Anthrax happened and that was great. Here we are now, it’s been non-stop fun since. It was a fun time man, it was all positive. Joey Vera one of my best friends was playing bass in Anthrax. When I was on tour with Helmet I actually went to see Anthrax with Joey playing bass in the band. I had a day off and I took in the show, it was a blast. It was absolutely amazing to see them. It was just needed thing—that’s all.