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In mourning, Slayer revisits the old school on latest tour


Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013

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It's been 30 years since Slayer released its first album, "Show No Mercy."

But on its current North American tour, the group is showing plenty of love for its old school fans.

The thrash metal troupe is currently on the road playing a set culled from its first five albums, on which Hanneman was the primary songwriter. Singer-bassist Tom Araya says he suggested the idea to guitarist Kerry King earlier in the year and laughs that subsequently King "he sent me the text and said 'I'm thinking about doing this old school stuff,' and I said, 'Yeah? That'll go well.' And it sounds better now -- you know what I mean? We've got 30 years of practice, so after 30 years of practice, you better sound...better, right?"

Slayer is also using the shows to play tribute to Hanneman, including a backdrop backdrop that features the guitarist's name written out like the Heineken beer logo that Araya, 52, says is an emotional part of each show.

"When we started back out, it was hard for, like the first week of the tour," the bassist recalls. "Everything was fine until we would drop the banner; 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...It's permanent now.' 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."

Araya says he and King are planning to talk about Slayer's future after the current tour later this month. Some material, with Hanneman playing on it, has already been recorded for a follow-up to 2009's "World Painted Blood," but Araya isn't ready to predict what might happen.

"We're at a point where we're obviously going to have to do a lot of communication and figure out where we want to go," Araya says. "There are decisions the two of us need to make as a group. Three weeks after (Hanneman) died we were back on the road, so 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. So Kerry and I have a lot of 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."

Slayer and Gojira perform Saturday, Nov. 16, at the Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $39.50-$59.50. Call 313-961-5450 or visit www.livenation.com.

Web Site: www.livenation.com

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