The big story in the metal blogosphere this week was a shocking revelation that someone in Slayer may or may not be a Trump supporter. To all this I say, yeah, no fucking shit.
Believe it or not this picture was posted by me Tom Araya on 1/20 cause I thought it was funny … I was amazed at the comments about the picture some positive some negative more amazing was in 2 hours there was 10,000 likes … But i never would have guessed that there where so many snowflakes commenting their distaste for the new president. Like him or not he is the president … woke up the next morning and found someone had deleted the post … can some one please explain why…?
The news came in breathless from every major music outlet across the Earth. Tom Araya posted a poorly photoshopped image of Donald Trump into an ancient Slayer promo pic to Instagram, accidentally deleted it because he’s an old person who is not good at computers, denigrated “snowflakes” for taking offense to the image, left a shitty homophobic joke, and then the band attempted to walk the whole thing back with a non-apology saying to Rolling Stone:
“As was verified by Tom, this was his post, is not something the band would have posted if asked, and does not belong on a Slayer social page,” the band tells Rolling Stone. “We all have our personal opinions, some of which we have voiced in the past, but Slayer has never endorsed any political party or any candidate, and the band intends to keep it that way.”
This led to a litany of outrage across blogs and social media. Most direct of all was Stereogum’s spicy hot take titled simply, “Fuck Slayer“. Why in the world would a professional metal writer find any of this surprising? Slayer has been one of the biggest and most notorious metal bands since the 1980s. Every detail of Tom Araya and Kerry King’s activity has been obsessively documented for more than 30 years and nothing has ever indicated that the pair have ever held on to a single progressive political ideal. Let’s review some details.
Go back to 1994 and listen to Slayer’s Divine Intervention. Track 4 is a little ditty called “Dittohead”, a paean to Kerry King’s perceived lack of justice in America. For those unfamiliar, “Dittohead” was a slang term briefly used in the 90s to describe fans of extreme right-wing radio show host Rush Limbaugh. In this interview from 1995, Kerry revealed that he and Jeff Hanneman were big fans of Rush Limbaugh. This excerpt kinda says it all:
ORTEZA: What other aspects of the conservative agenda do you support?
KING: If anybody ever puts on an initiative for a flat tax rate, I’d be the first in line.
ORTEZA: You don’t agree with those who say a flat tax demonstrates an unwillingness on the part of the well off to help the less well off?
KING: That’s bullshit. I mean, Rush said it best: “Penalizing the achievers.” Why should I get penalized for learning how to make money? I didn’t have all the opportunities. I didn’t have scholarships. But you don’t hear me bitching about fucking having to sit in the gutter. I got off my ass and did something with my life. That’s what being an American is about, not sitting on your ass and letting the rich people pay for you. It’s about getting off your ass and accomplishing things.
Bootstraps! Just a few years later, Slayer dropped Undisputed Attitude, a collection of cover songs. Included was a cover of Minor Threat‘s “Guilty of Being White”, a song Ian MacKaye wrote as a teenager about being on the receiving end of a racially motivated ass beating. Slayer’s cover changed the lyrics in the last chorus from “Guilty of Being White” to “Guilty of Being Right”, which kinda just takes a big ‘ol shit in the punch bowl for the song’s original intent. The band explained that they thought racism was “ridiculous” at the time.
For decades Slayer have printed the iconography of Nazi German Wehrmacht on every scrap of their merchandise to market their brand with a ruthlessness that rivals the masters of selling out, KISS. There are few places on Earth that you can travel without being within easy reach of Coca Cola or a Slayer t-shirt. The band’s aggressive capitalistic streak would easily be defined as Republican.
Tom Araya, the band’s iconic bassist and vocalist, has spoken openly about his devout catholic faith. The Vatican is explicit in disapproval over birth control, abortion, and divorce, issues that that fall directly in line with evangelical Christians, a notoriously Republican voting bloc. In other news, old people tend to hold more conservative political beliefs. And the dudes in Slayer are fucking old.
Apropos of nothing, here’s a pic of Jeff Hanneman, the deceased lead guitarist of Slayer and Gary Holt, his replacement:
The most likely scenario is that the dudes in Slayer are either Republicans or apolitical with right-wing beliefs. It sucks when you discover a band you like has political views that oppose your own, but I find it slightly baffling that the music writers of the world are shocked by this Trump Instagram incident. Nothing the band has ever done would indicate that they would be sympathetic to the poor or any marginalized groups. Donald Trump and his new administration is aggressively fascist but you’re woefully misguided if you’re counting on a group of 50-year-old millionaires to resist the new American nightmare.