Part II. Diabolus In Moscow

First of all, Tom, let me congratulate you with your first visiting Russia.

I’m in ore! I am in ore that we are here! I can’t believe I’m in Russia.

You didn’t even believe you would play in Russia one day, did you?

No. I am glad we are here, but, like I said, it was like «Wow! Russia! Moscow, Red Square!»

Do you know you have a lot of fans over here in the realms of the Post-Soviet Empire?

Yes. I am quite aware of that, actually. There’s a few people that we met in other countries who said: «You know, we are from Russia. You have a lot of fans here in different states that once were Soviet Union,» you know. We are finally here, friends, he he! We are finally here and I hope we’ll meet at the show! May be next time around we will play in all the republics in Russia.

Your latest album «Diabolus In Musica» is extremely different from the albums you have recorded so far. What made you record such an usual album. How did fans and mass media react on it?

The media, everybody accepted it. I was surprised. Even critics liked the album. So I was very surprised everybody was behind the bad. Why we did this record? Because that’s how it came out, ha ha! We wrote material... ‘cos that’s how we do every record. We write material and we share the material and say: «What do you think? Sounds great!» That’s basically how we write songs. We don’t plan them out, we don’t sit and say: «This is what we wanna do». It’s more like: «You like this? Yeah, sounds great!»

Weren’t you afraid that people wouldn’t appreciate your experimenting?

No. We wanted to show everybody what hardcore is about. That’s another reason why we did a hardcore album. That’s why we did a punk album. ‘Cos that’s what we all about. And it’s still our music, it’s still there. You just can’t keep making the same record all the time, you know. I mean you can’t be making «Reign In Blood» album all the time. You have to grow up. And our music still has fast things. This album is faster than «Divine Intervention» album.

OK, Tom, what was that «growing» for you this time?

Vocals is the only difference. The newest thing we have done is the vocals. Everything else has been the same. We haven’t changed SLAYER music at all. We changed the style of my singing, how I sing. At live I sing with the mike stand. And in the studio I would sing with a mike stand. This time around I held mike in my hand. And tried different things, tried to capture different things. We also put effects in my voice just to change it a little. To give it something new and different. That is the only difference.

You played in Poland recently. How did you like the show? I heard there was an incident...

The Poles are pretty crazy. But the memory I have of Poland is not a very good one. The second time we played in Poland - all our stuff got stolen. Our personal items got stolen. I mean the crowd is great. The show we would put on in Poland was amazing. Really good shows. But the only memory I have is the fact that they ripped off, they stole personal items, clothing. That’s was like the second time we played in Poland. Recently we insisted on a stronger, better security. That was just for backstage area where our dressing room was. And even we had that, there were still kids coming to our dressing room. We were like: «Where did you come from?» We had to shoot them out of the room, it was a private room. We said: «We need a privacy, give us a privacy!» So, there’s no sense of order. Bit it’s a great place to play, ha ha!

Would you like to play in Poland once again?

Yeah, we’ll play there again, ha ha!.

Fifteen years have passed since the release of your first album. What has changed since then? Are you tired of playing music for so long?

Nothing’s changed. It’s all the same. Music business is still the same - it sucks, ha ha! I don’t know, we are not tired. The best part of it is the stage time. But everything else sucks. The travel - ‘cos you’re always traveling, you can’t see anything. You are here not to see the sights, we are here on tour, we are here to play. So, I have no any complains about not seeing anything. I just have complains about traveling all the time. Flying really makes you tired. And if it’s not a plane, it’s a train, if it’s not a train - it is a bus, if it is not a bus - it is a car. Constant movie all the time. That’s what tiring.

Not so long ago you signed a deal with Sony Music, one of the major labels in the world. Basing on the fact, some people might believe you now prefer thinking of the commercial side of your music rather than to pay attention to the music itself...

‘Cos we signed with Sony Music? We didn’t sign with Sony. We are still part of American Recordings. American Recordings signed a deal with Sony Music. We just happened to be fortunate enough now to be a part of Columbia that was working on our record. So, that’s how we got involved with Sony. It was through American Recordings. That’s not a sell out. We are still making the same music. Sony is working really hard to put the band to another level. But we are still doing well what we have always done, man.

SLAYER are still considered to be the best thrash metal band in the world. Can we, your diehard fans, still believe in you and hope that you will always be the symbol of the real thrash metal, the symbol you have always been?

We plan to do that for as long as we can. Yeah, we are always gonna be SLAYER. You grow with age, you grow with time but it’s always gonna be SLAYER! I promise...

Dmitry Basik

December 1998