Nobody Thinks Slayer Is Really Going to Retire
Slayer are in the midst of what they're calling the Final World Tour. But many of their friends and contemporaries are skeptical about their plans to call it quits. That includes Frank Bello, who has a front-row seat to the band's dynamics as a member of the tour's opening act, Anthrax.
“We have toured a lot with these guys and we are lucky and fortunate to be on this tour,” he told the Post-Journal. “Despite what it is called, I don’t think this will be the end of the road for Slayer. Slayer is a way of life, not just a band.”
Back in January, Slayer told fans that they would be giving up the road after one last trek around the world, something they'd been hinting at since 2016. "After 35 years, it's time to collect my pension," bassist and singer Tom Araya said. "When we started off, everything was great, because you're young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. At the level we're at now, I can do that. I can fly home when I want to on days off and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn't able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they're both older and mature. So, now I take advantage of that. It just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. Thirty-five years is a long time."
Rob Zombie doubts that Araya and his bandmates will be able to accept the change in their life that comes with retirement. "They think they wanna be home and have a life," he said on Canadian radio recently. "After two years, they're gonna go cuckoo and they're gonna be back on the road. That's what we're all built for: We're all crazy and we need to do this. And I don't know why. And I don't see any retirement, ever. We'll keep going until we can't go anymore."
Former Pantera singer Phil Anselmo is similarly dubious, and even thinks their announcement was motivated by a desire to sell more tickets. "Put it this way: There's a lot of bands that have claimed they're doing one last tour," he told Revolver. "It's called smart business, to a degree. So, I'll believe it if it happens."
The first North American leg of Slayer's tour began on May 10 and ran through June 20; their second string of dates, which commenced last week, runs through Aug. 26, when Slayer plays the SAP Center in San Jose. After that, all that's left on their calendar is a five-week tour of Europe in November and the first week of December, and a stand-alone show in Mexico for October. Without having ever specifying an end date, it's possible that they could add another North American leg or two in the future.
They could also consider a reprise of the 2010-11 Big Four concerts, which members of all three of the other major thrash metal bands are hoping for. Shortly after Slayer's announcement, Megadeth's Dave Mustaine tweeted, "I hope for at least one more Big 4 Show before the end of Slayer’s final tour. It just wouldn’t be right. Anyone else with me?"
He later suggested that Metallica didn't have to be involved. “If Anthrax, Slayer and Megadeth all wanna do it," Mustaine said, "and Metallica doesn’t, then what do we do? The Big Three? I’m sure that a lot of people would like to see that, and that may be what it is. You know, you may end up having it be the Big Three plus No. 5, if we have Exodus play with us.”
In April 2017, Bello came out in favor of the idea. "We're ready," he said. "All the other bands that were involved will tell you it was one of the best things that ever happened for them. Just the camaraderie, and for the fans, that was a good value for your buck to see the four bands that grew up together in the scene. I think that was a great idea by Metallica. We're all friends and we all get along really well. I think Metallica knows that we would all be in on it again because it was such a great experience. So many people are asking for it and every interview asks about it. They want to see it and we'd love to be part of it."
Bello added that it was Metallica's call, and Kirk Hammett, a few months prior, revealed that he would love to make it happen. "Even though we haven't announced any 'Big Four' dates in the future of anything like that, I personally see it happening again in the future," he said. "I don't know when, but I do see it happening in the future. I mean, I see those shows as kind of like a celebration — a real celebration of each other, and a real celebration of the music that we all make, and a real celebration of the audience embracing [what] we've done. And why not have more of that?"