Slayer’s Tom Araya, Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir + Exodus’ Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza Talk 2014 Tour + More
This interview was a real treat, because not only did we nab an exclusive roundtable discussion with Slayer frontman Tom Araya, Suicidal Tendencies vocalist Mike Muir and Exodus vocalist Steve 'Zetro' Souza, but we got to experience the brotherhood shared between the three musicians first-hand.
We'll be putting up multiple stories from our hour-long conversation between the three legends, but first off, the unholy trinity of musicians talk about their upcoming joint U.S. tour that kicks off Nov. 11 in Oakland, Calif. Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus' upcoming string of dates acts as an extension to a handful of shows they shared earlier this year, and in this interview, it's easy to see why they wanted to turn it into a longer run. We also asked Zetro about the brand new Exodus album, 'Blood In, Blood Out,' with Tom Araya praising the track 'Salt the Wound,' which features Metallica's Kirk Hammett.
Check out our epic conversation below!
Thank you guys for coming together for this discussion. This is awesome. Obviously, it's super exciting that you guys all get to play together again. This question is for Tom and Mike: Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus; you guys toured together earlier this year, but unfortunately you only go to play a couple of shows. Did they leave you wishing you had time to hit more cities?
Mike Muir: You know, it was one of the ones that because I know everybody and I know the crew, it was really cool. It's been twenty-something years since we played together and we see them a few times at festivals and things like that, but it was like 'BAM!' It was over. It is true, you sit there and you go, "Wait a second, this is the last show?" - especially when you're used to touring.
Tom Araya: Yeah, yeah. We barely get started and then it's over. I have to agree with you. And when it was over, I mean, immediately we had phone calls saying, "Hey, listen, we're thinking about setting up another tour, we'll make it a full blown tour," and we're like, "Yeah!"
It was really good, everybody got along. The best part about that tour, the short tour that we did, was that everybody grooved. I think that made the decision so easy to go like, "Yeah! F--k, let's put on a good tour, let's put on a bigger tour. Then, just the response that we got, just an overwhelming response all over the place and how everybody was so excited that the three bands got together and were doing that. It was just an exciting and short little run. I think it was kind of cool though, because we did a short run and now after the short run, it's like everybody was anticipating the follow-up to it.
A buddy of mine said, "Hey, somebody just posted this picture," and I'm not sure if you're familiar with the picture, Mike. It was a group shot.
MM: Day in the Green?
TA: Yeah, yeah that one. Day in the Dirt! [Laughs] He wanted me to comment on that picture and someone had said, "You know, 30 years to this day…" and I'm like, "Holy s--t! That's a long time, isn't it?"
MM: Wow, yeah. It's a scary thing because I didn't think I'd live to be 30, you know? Not to be dramatic or whatever. One of my favorite things, you know, you sit back and remember; my dad used to always say, "You can say whatever you want, but just think about what you say, because sometimes it will come back at you." I remember as a kid, I was at a punk rock show and there was a band that we went and saw and I remember someone was asking about how it was. The band was somewhat famous at that time and I said, "Man, there's nothing worse than seeing an old punk rock band going through the motions." [Laughs]
TA: [Roaring laughter]
MM: That's one of the things I've always kind of said to myself. And I remember that because I don't want to be that band and I think that's one of the things about the tours, you get a lot of numbers and you sit there and go, "Wow," but the "wow" is when people go to the show and they go, "Damn!"
It's great when kids says, "Wow! This was a great effing show! Man, I can't believe how good it is!" It's one thing for people to go because they love the band, but it's another thing to make people fall in love with you again. I think that's what this tour is.
This question is for all three of you: If you could all pick one more band to join this tour, who would it be?
TA: I'd have to say Testament.
Steve 'Zetro' Souza: Good one, wow.
MM: Definitely. Exodus should be opening, but you add another band that's really good before them and it's almost too much.
[Tom and Zetro laugh]
TA: I would have to agree with you, Mike. Three? Three is crazy. Four is lunacy. [Laugh]
MM: The good thing is, everybody is excited when they get there early. It's a great package, that's the whole thing. Four would be like the shows that people are just beat up at the end, because it's too long.
TA: This one, they get beat up at the beginning. [Laughs]
[Mike and Zetro laugh]
TA: There's really no break, there's no time to go out and get popcorn and take breaks.
So this one is for Zetro -- and Tom and Mike, if you guys have something to add, that would be great. Listening to the new Exodus record, it is absolutely amazing. I totally love it. Your vocal approach is so damn fierce and so intense.
SZS: I appreciate that, thank you.
I think it's your fiercest vocal approach to date. Do you agree? How would you describe it?
SZS: Can I say I'm a cantankerous old man still? Still pissed off, you know?
If you want. [Laughs]
SZS: I mean, Gary Holt, I can just read his lyrics and I know this man. Even though this is my third stint, my third tour of duty back in Exodus, I think this is the strongest effort yet, and to me, my favorite effort out of everything. From 'Pleasures,' 'Fabulous,' anything we've done in the past -- 'Tempo of the Damned' -- I think that to me, every song is just completely in your face. Here we are: Gary and myself are 50 and we're still killing it, coming out as strong and as fierce as ever and I think that's what's so great. Everybody's really honed their craft and I really appreciate your comments because I feel the same way as well.
TA: I listened to the song with Kirk Hammett on it...
'Salt the Wound.'
TA: Yeah, that was f--king amazing. I was like, "Oh my god, this is f--king really, really good. I haven't really had the opportunity to hear the full record, but my brother played that one song when it came out.
SZS: It's right up your alley Tom, it's right up your alley. You know you have the man [Gary Holt] playing with you, so you know what he's capable of. I really only wrote, lyrically, one song on the record and everything was pretty much written by Gary; just really angry, pissed off, awesome riffs, awesome lyrics.
TA: You know, it's funny, because he doesn't really come across like that. [Laughs]
SZS: He's Satan, you know what I mean? [Laughs] Offstage, he's really serene: "I'm going to my room, I'm just going to chill and watch movies." Then he gets onstage and turns into this mad man banging his head and turns into a monster, which I guess is what he is.
TA: It's what he is. It really comes from the heart. That's why I think we felt that everybody gripped so well.
SZS: Yeah, I have to say this about Gary: He's doing the double-duty [Exodus and Slayer]. I go, "Are you ready for it?" and he had his smile on. The whole tour he's smiling - a couple times smiling with a little bit of pain, but great attitude. He was probably enjoying it more than anyone else and the thing is, he took it very serious and you could tell. He has, pretty much, the toughest gig. You gotta love what you're doing to be able to put that much effort and obviously have pride, and everybody's got a lot of pride.
TA: Doing this for as long as the three bands have been doing this, you have to love it. You can't just go up there and not love it and do it, you know what I mean? It shows.
MM: All of us singers, we've all been through something health wise or out of the band or you're coming back in and it's like, you're not coming back in the band at 50 to sing and try to live off the past, you know what I mean? Me and Tom had health things and stuff. You don't do that unless you sit there and go, "I want to be here". You know? I've always found that when I'm in some place where you can tell people don't want to be, it's not good. You sit there and you appreciate it; you're glad. When you're fifteen years old, going to a show, [you'd never know that when] you're getting around 50, you'd still be doing it. [Laughs]
TA: I don't think about that until I pass a mirror. [Laughs]
[Mike and Zetro laugh]
TA: You pass a mirror and you go "F--k!" [Laughs]
Stay tuned for more segments with Tom, Mike and Zetro from our exclusive interview with the trio. To check out the full list of Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus tour dates, click here.
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