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Slay Ride

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A glimpse into the life of the family man!

Yeah, dude! I have two beautiful kids. Five and eight. They've had the honor of being to a Slayer concert. Actually their first ten or fifteen shows. My son was a month old when we had him by the side of the stage, out by the monitor board.

With earplugs?

Yeah. Earplugs with cannons. He slept through the whole thing. My little girl -- she's a well-seasoned Slayer fan. They request it and run around.

More than Raffi?

Yeah. They enjoy it. They enjoy Metallica, Pantera. They enjoy that music because we've exposed them to it. Country too. My wife's a country fan.

Is there a kind of music that Slayer fans would just be astounded to know that you listen to?

I listen to everything. I surf the satellite dish out here. There's one station: the Heart Attack. It's serious radio. Other than that, there's some good music out there. It's been a while since something's really caught my ear. Like Sting's Dream of the Blue Turtles. That's a great album. Another one like that, I just walked into a record store and heard, was Joe Jackson's Jumpin' Jive. And recently Ry Cooder put together an album [Mambo Sinuendo] with a lot of Cuban players from Buena Vista Social Club. That's awesome. It reminds me an awful lot of the traditional music from Chile, where I'm from.


Viña del Mar. It's on the coast, directly across from Santiago.

So you grew up hearing Chilean folk music?

Yeah. But my memories of that are here in the states -- my parents playing music from the period when they left. You know a true Chilean if he recognizes a song and starts singing to it, because it's such a national thing. I guess it's a part of my culture.

What's the biggest misconception people have about Slayer?

The obvious one: the Satan stuff. I'm not here to fault anybody. And I hate to say this, but Christ came and taught us about love. About doing unto others. That was his preach: Accept each other for who we are. Live peacefully, and love one another. Period.

Do you believe in God?

I believe in a supreme being, yeah. But He's an all-loving God.

Can you see how people might miss that message in your music?

Yeah. And I don't fault them for that. Songs are open for interpretation, you know? It's like we can both be looking at a flower, but the information that we absorb is different about that flower.

But Slayer is not about spreading the love.

Slayer's about what we enjoy. Putting together some really cool songs. Like on God Hates Us All. There's some really good stuff in there lyrically that just blows my mind. That's something that intrigues me about what I write. The serial-killer stuff is like, 'What thought process led you to this?' It's like everyone has been asking for a sign. The Twin Towers were a fuckin' sign! Actually [September 11, 2001] was the release date of God Hates Us All. We did a midnight signing at a Tower Records. They had over 3,000 kids there. We were supposed to fly out the next day and start a tour in Europe.

Any prophetic lyrics on that album?

Yeah. On "Disciple": "Pessimist, terrorist targeting the next mark/Global chaos feeding on hysteria/Cut throat, slit your wrists, shoot you in the back."

Did that make you feel like Nostradamus?

For a nanosecond, dude.

What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't in a notorious speed-metal band?

I don't know. At the time that this happened, I was working as a respiratory therapist. I think I probably would've stuck with something like that. Or maybe even emergency medicine or like a MedEvac or a physician's assistant. Being able to help and fix people, to me, was pretty cool. When I was working at the hospital, I was part of the blue-code team. I was a resuscitator.

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John La Briola