Ahead of their final tour, Slayer launched a docuseries that will look back on their nearly four decades of aggression. The first installment focuses on the band’s formation and early years.
“I found [guitarist Jeff Hanneman] auditioning for another band at some warehouse,” recalls guitarist Kerry King, who adds that he was in high school when the band came together. “He was playing songs I know on the guitar sitting at a desk. And I was like, ‘Hey, are you in a band?’ And he wasn’t. So I said, ‘Would you like to get together and see what happens?’ … We just put it together and it stuck.”
King also recalls some of his jobs before the thrash-metal firebrands formed, including working at a pet shop and on a mini-golf course. “I was one of the people who does stupid shit that nobody else wants to do,” King recalls. “I was there for about a month, and some dude said, ‘Cut your hair’ and I said, ‘Suck a dick,’ and that was about the end of it.”
Life at the time was similar for vocalist-bassist Tom Araya. “My life consisted of school, helping my dad and wanting to play music,” he says. “So after I graduated high school, I had a part-time job [at a company that made emblems for uniforms] the previous summer and I was just going to work there because it was a summer job but they said they’d hire me as a full-time worker. I was just making money to help support my habit of music.”
The band’s second guitarist Gary Holt, who replaced founding Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman after his death, recalls how he discovered the band in the early days of his band Exodus. And drummer Paul Bostaph, who replaced founding drummer Dave Lombardo – and left the band after a contract dispute in 2013 – talks about how he discovered the band when he was playing at a party with the band Forbidden.
“There was a boombox in the living room … and I was talking with somebody, into this conversation, and I just heard this sound coming from the other room,” the drummer says. “And I was like, ‘Excuse me. I’ll be right back.’ And I walked over to the stereo and I stood right in front of it. … I thought to myself, ‘This just changed everything.'”
A North American leg of Slayer’s final tour kicks off on May 10th. Lamb of God, Anthrax, Behemoth and Testament will be joining them on the trek.