Slayer frontman says Am I Evil doesn’t represent thrash giants and confirms guitarist Hanneman won’t return for big US show

Tom Araya

Am I evil? No I'm not: Tom Araya

Slayer frontman Tom Araya refused to appear with Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax on the Big 4 live jam of Am I Evil because he doesn’t think the song represents the spirit of the thrash giants.

The moment fans had been waiting to see since the movement began in the early 1980s took place at Sofia in Bulgaria last year and was broadcast to cinemas across the world.

It was part of the first-ever Big 4 shows, where all four bands shared the same stage in a series of summer festivals across Europe.

The only member of Slayer to take part in the rendition of the Diamond Head track was drummer Dave Lombardo, who’s explained in the past that his bandmates don’t enjoy jamming with other musicians.

But now Araya reveals he had another complaint. He tells the LA Weekly: “When they told me they wanted to do Am I Evil, to me it just didn’t represent the Big 4. It didn’t represent what we do as bands. We play heavier than that.

“Metallica’s song The Four Horsemen was what I was hoping to hear. If they’d said, ‘Hey, we want to do that,’ I would have been on it. It’s very representative of the bands. That’s what we’re doing – the four horsemen are riding.”

Araya adds that if he should be invited to another mass jam at the Big 4′s first-ever US show tomorrow night, and the chosen track is The Four Horsemen, “I would have a different reaction – oh yeah.”

The bassist and singer is cautious about jamming at the best of time, admitting: “I’m not a fan. I don’t want to go onstage and fuck somebody else’s set up.”

Meanwhile, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who’s recovering from an attack of flesh-eating disease necrotising fasciitis, was keen to appear at the concert in Indio, California – but he won’t make it, and will be replaced as before by Exodus axeman Gary Holt.

Araya says: “Jeff’s healing well enough to play his guitar. He has two tender areas on his arm that cause him pain when he plays, but he’s eager to get back on the road with us.”

Holt has committed to making himself available until Hanneman is ready to return. When the Exodus man wasn’t available earlier this month Cannibal Corpse guitarist Pat O’Brien played the stand-in role. But Slayer’s Kerry King admits Holt is their preferred option: “Gary’s a no-brainer. When I was getting ready to ask him, my only fear was he would say no. He’s perfect – I’ve known him for 25 years.”

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