McHank’s Column #6 – I Will Never Not Love Slayer McHank’s Column #6 – I Will Never Not Love Slayer

Slayer, man.

Today is June 6, 2012, and June 6 has been “Slayer Day” since six years ago, you know, 6/6/6 was the date. But that’s baloney. That’s right, I said baloney, and I don’t give a darn if I go to heck for using that language.

“Slayer Day” is a REAL holiday as far as I’m concerned, and I started celebrating it at some point in the late 80’s. It doesn’t fall on the same day for everyone, and it doesn’t fall on the same day every year.

It happens when they roll into your town. Even if you’re not a Slayer fan, if that’s even possible, well, my first piece of advice is that you become one. But if you can’t do that, just do this. When you hear that they’re playing, go to the parking lot of their concert. You will see that there’s a true, communal celebration going on. People yelling either “SLAAAAAAYYYYYYERRRRRRR” or “FUUUUUUUUKKKKKKINNNNN SLLLLLLAAAAAYYYYYERRRRRR” and expecting, and usually receiving reciprocation. You’ll find cars of all kinds blasting either Slayer or something that has taken its inspiration from Slayer. I don’t partake in this particular ritual, as my one superstition involves listening to the band I’m going to see on the same day as they’re playing. (My friend Ben Heiderich and I saw Jawbreaker at the Warfield opening for the Foo Fighters. We listened to them that day, and that night they started playing a rare, then unreleased track, “Shirt”, but Blake broke a string and they stopped and didn’t start again and a few months later they broke up, so it’s our fault that they broke up and we’ll never live that down.) Additionally, Slayer is one of the few bands where you can be excused for wearing the band’s shirt to the band’s show. If you watch 80’s footage of Slayer, usually at least two members of the band are wearing their shirt, too.

I remember that my cousin, Tino, was WAY into metal and we’d dip our toes deeper and deeper when we were kids, and Slayer seemed to be at the very deep end of the metal pool, where there were piranhas. When we crossed over into that deep end, we didn’t want to wade in shallow metal waters again.

Slayer has been around a long time, and while they’ve made a change here or there, more or less, they’ve stayed stylistically the same. There was the beginning learning curve, not that they weren’t making the darkest, or coolest, or heaviest music possible at the time; but just as Superman was once Superboy, they had to learn to harness and focus their powers. By the time their record, Hell Awaits, came out, they were about ready to graduate. It was focused, throwing fireballs, fast and brutal. But as soon as the next album, Reign in Blood, came out, well, now, even if you’re not a metal fan, you probably know that they went from having their bachelor’s degrees in metal to being professors of PhD levels of thrash. I know, death metal bands have been around a long time and they’ve maybe broken Reign in Blood’s tempos, or written lyrics that were more disturbing, or whatever. But they didn’t swing and swagger like Slayer.

I think that swing is exactly what keeps us all coming back to Slayer. We all love the speed, but the way they break that speed up is essential. And not to discredit Paul Bostaph, who did an admirable job of taking Dave Lombardo’s seat, Paul just isn’t SLAYER. Slayer’s grooves are rooted in Dave’s playing. This is especially apparent on the album, South of Heaven. Where they slow down, and Dave plays with all the space that’s given to him. Kerry and Jeff have said they learned to play by watching what each other was doing, and that’s why they have that amazing distinct style that other bands have tried to imitate, but nobody can. Tom sings and screams in a way that’s distinctly metal but has taken a lot from early punk. No other singer I can think of has that same cadence. I don’t think you can replace any member of Slayer, and have the same magic.

So celebrate Slayer today, but don’t let today be your only day. I will never not love Slayer.

On that last video, it’s got the guitars stripped out until the very end. I love it. So berserk and brutal!



3 Responses about “McHank’s Column #6 – I Will Never Not Love Slayer”

  • AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  • Rob says:

    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
    See how we reciprocate a fellow Slayer fan’s triumphant howl? Just enough for my Slayer loving soul to say to another Slayer loving soul, “Hey brother. We have a fraternal bond. And Slayer is our glue.”

  • Charles says:

    SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!! SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
    SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
    SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
    SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
    SLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYEEEERRRRRRRR!!!!!!!