Interview: Slayer Drummer Talks Jeff Hanneman’s Loss ‘Not Being Easy To Deal With’

On July 21st 2015, Rockstar’s Mayhem Festival came to Holmdel, New Jersey. The fest had several big names, though the highlights were Jungle Rot, King Diamond and Slayer.

Jungle Rot put on a crushing death metal performance and got the pit going. Their setlist only contained six songs, but they made the most of their short set.

King Diamond was the most hyped act of the year and had the biggest crowd of any band that day. The theatrical set mostly consisted of songs from King’s classic albums. It got even better halfway through when he covered the Mercyful Fate classics “Evil” and “Come to the Sabbath” with Slayer’s Kerry King on guitar. The set then ended with three songs from King’s most popular album, Abigail. 

However, the final band of the night was none other than Slayer. Slayer started their set with several of their 2000’s songs including the three singles from their upcoming album Repentless. The second half of the set was all older songs including the popular tracks “Raining Blood”,”South Of Heaven”,”Hell Awaits” and “Angel of Death” as well as deep cuts like “Chemical Warfare”, and “Ghosts of War”. The band’s energy was great and the sound was spot on.

During the fest, Alternative Nation was able to catch drummer Paul Bostaph for an in person interview. We discussed the band’s upcoming album as well other topics related to his body of work.

Tell us a little about your upcoming album Repentless.

We all have different opinions on the album since we are all different people. It’s the first album we have done without Jeff as well as the first album I’ve been on since God Hates Us All in 2001. The whole time I was in the studio, Jeff was on my mind. He was a big part of the band and I feel I lost a friend. We still haven’t let things settle… that type of thing is not easy to deal with.

I noticed the three singles released for far,”Repentless”, “As Stillness Comes” and “Implode” are pretty different. Which one would you say represents the new album the most?

I wouldn’t say that one any of those songs represent the whole record at all. The different between the three represents diversity in the record. Each song on this record will have a different intensity. Some songs are darker then others. The three songs released show that it will not be the same thing on every track.

I see Mayhem Fest is going well so far…

Mayhem Fest is awesome! Unfortunately, I have not been able to see any of the bands on the second stage. The second stage is normally not very close to the main stage and we usually get here too late to catch those bands. I really enjoy sharing the stage with King Diamond. I’m a huge Mercyful Fate fan and love his solo stuff as well.

Your set list for this tour starts off with mostly newer tracks, then goes into an all old school block. 

Kerry normally puts our set lists together so you go him to thank for that. You also have to put into consideration that we have a new album coming out and have new songs we want to share with the fans. Also, when we tour, we can’t play the same songs all the time. We love adding songs people won’t expect to the set, but sadly we also have to sacrifice popular ones to do this. We will not be playing “Seasons In The Abyss” on this tour. That’s a song we love to play and I know people would want to hear it, but in its place we are playing “Ghosts of War” to change things up.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vm2-25OVX0c&w=420&h=315]-

On the negative reception of Diabolus in Musica: I don’t agree. I love that album. They are a lot of great songs on that record. “Bitter Peace” is one of my favorite songs that Slayer has done. They are a bunch of things we did different on that record, but I feel its a good record.

On drumming for Slayer, Exodus, Forbidden and Testament: I never though I’d be playing drums in four different bands. To say this is a childhood dream come true to play for any one band I was a fan of… I’d say yes.

On the Judgement Night soundtrack: The big idea behind this movie’s soundtrack was to put metal bands together with rap artists. Playing with Ice-T was a lot of fun. He came in very intense. I loved it! It was my first time playing with Slayer, my first time working with Rick Rubin, and Ice-T was involved. It was a blast!