Slayer: Reign Date
GW It seems like there’s a lot of wah pedal on the solos
HANNEMAN I used it on a few leads, and Kerry used it on all of his.
KING We used Zakk’s new pedal [the Dunlop ZW-45 Zakk Wylde Signature Crybaby Wah]. It’s got a real dirty sweep.
HANNEMAN That thing kicks ass. Endorsement for that!
GW What other gear did you use?
KING Pretty much the same stuff that was on God Hates Us All. I used my B.C. Rich guitars, and Jeff played his ESPs. And we both had our [Marshall] JCM800s.
GW The song “Jihad” opens with a series of fingerpicked doublestops. It’s a very different sound for you.
HANNEMAN That’s me, and I’m picking with my thumb and forefinger. It’s something I started doing at soundchecks on the last tour.
GW It’s got an Angus Young–type of vibe.
HANNEMAN Angus does that?
KING He stole it from Jeff!
GW The lyrics to that song deal with terrorism, but through the eyes of a terrorist. Why did you approach it that way?
HANNEMAN We don’t preach to people about right or wrong. If I’m gonna write a song about 9/11, it’s gotta be from the terrorists’ point of view. That’s what we do in this band.
GW It reminds me of the lyrics to “Angel of Death” [from Reign in Blood], in which you detailed Nazi atrocities without explicitly condemning them.
KING I actually made that same connection. After hearing “Jihad,” I remember thinking, Great, now we’re gonna be answering for this one!
HANNEMAN But as with “Angel,” we’re not endorsing anything. It’s just not an “anti” song, either.
GW Slayer has made a career out of writing pointed and controversial lyrics. Has there ever been a case where someone within the band hasn’t felt comfortable with what was being said?
HANNEMAN Oh yeah. It comes and goes. But at the end of the day, people realize it’s just entertainment. I mean, we are Slayer. It’s not like we’re gonna go write about what a nice day it is.
KING I remember that Tom had a problem with the lyrics to a song I wrote, “In the Name of God,” [from Diabolus In Musica] and he went to talk to Jeff about it. And it’s like, “C’mon man, you’re in Slayer. You’re the antichrist—you said it yourself on the first album!” You can’t draw the line like that. Whether he agrees with it or not, he didn’t write it—I wrote it. So you have to say, “Well, it’s just a part of being in this band.” Now Jeff and I, we don’t give a fuck. If Jeff wrote something I had a problem with, I would never even raise a fucking finger. I’d be like, “Fuck yeah, let’s do it! Gonna piss someone off? All right!”
GW It’s nice that after all these years you can still manage to piss people off, not to mention get a charge out of it. As a band, it seems you’re currently functioning at as intense a level as you ever have and being recognized for it.
KING I think this is our second wave of big popularity. The first was probably around 1990, ’91, during Clash of the Titans [a package tour co-headlined by Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax]. That was probably the high point. Then we just did our thing for the next 10, 12 years. I was noticing bands like Disturbed and Godsmack getting more popular. And I was like, there’s gonna be
another heavy revolution right after this because people are gonna get over this and want something heavier. And that’s what’s going on now. Plus, we’ve got Dave back in the mix, so it’s like one of those “stars are aligning” things. Now is our time again, so we’re gonna make the best of it.
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