Tom Araya Explained

Tom Araya
Background:solo_singer
Birth Name:Tomás Enrique Araya Díaz
Alias:Balong de Cagayan Carajo
Birth Date:6 June 1961
Birth Place:Viña del Mar,
Instrument:Bass, vocals
Genre:Thrash metal
Occupation:Musician, songwriter
Years Active:1981-present
Label:American, Def Jam, Metal Blade
Associated Acts:Slayer
Notable Instruments:ESP Tom Araya Bass Guitar Model

Tom Araya (born Tomás Enrique Araya Díaz June 6, 1961 in Viña del Mar, Chile[1]) is a Chilean musician, best known as the bassist and vocalist of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Araya is ranked fifty-eighth by Hit Parader on their list of the 100 Greatest Metal Vocalists of All Time.

Araya was employed as a respiratory therapist in the early 1980s and used his earnings to finance Slayer's debut album Show No Mercy. Much of Araya's lyrical content is about serial killers, a subject he finds interesting, first making his lyrical contribution to 1985's Hell Awaits with the track "At Dawn They Sleep".

Early life and career

Araya said that he "grew up in a neighborhood that was pretty gang-oriented."[2]

Araya's older brother Cisco played the guitar, leading Araya to pick up the bass at the age of eight. The two played Beatles and Rolling Stones songs, inspiring his musical interest.[3]

In the early 1980s, Araya's eldest sister suggested he enroll as a respiratory therapist. Araya's father stated he either find a job or enroll in the course. Araya enrolled in a two year technical course, learning about air mixture ratios, drawing blood, and how to intubate.[3]

In 1981, Araya was approached by Kerry King, who asked Araya to join his band Slayer. Araya accepted, using his earnings as a respiratory therapist to finance the band's 1983 debut album Show No Mercy.[4] Araya requested that the hospital allow him time off for Slayer's first European tour in 1984, Araya was denied; "'We need you to come in today.' They’d call me at 5:00 in the morning and wake me, 'Someone’s not coming in, we need you to come in to work.'" After a month of not turning up to work the hospital stated they would fire him; Araya replied "Well, I guess I’m fired."[3]

In 2000, Tom played bass guitar and shared lead vocal duties with Max Cavalera on Soulfly's song 'Terrorist', off their album Primitive.

Araya resides in Buffalo, Texas on a ranch with his wife Sandra and two children, daughter Ariel Asa Araya (b. 11 May 1996) and son named Tomas Enrique Araya, Jr. (b. 14 June 1999).[5] He helps his wife run the farm, including looking after five cows and chickens, and often sings country songs to help keep his "singing chops up".[6] Araya and his wife are fans of scary movie remakes; such as The Amityville Horror and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The two allow their children to watch the movies, making it clear to them that it is just a movie when they ask “Is this real?”[7] In 2006, Araya underwent gall bladder surgery, which made alterations to The Unholy Alliance tour. Originally set to launch on June 6, the tour was postponed to June 13. Araya was also unable to finish the vocals for a song entitled "Final Six", which was to be included on Slayer's 2006 album Christ Illusion; later released in the album's special edition.[8] Araya took his children on the tour stating it is "kind of cool to expose them at such a young age. My first concert, I was, like, 17."[5] one of his quotes is "We have been fortunate, fortunate enough to have lasted as long as we have because a lot of bands don't last that long."

On January 7, 2010, Slayer announced on its official website that "Back surgery scheduled for Slayer's Tom Araya, band's tour plans cancelled through April. Slayer camp working hard to reschedule dates for later this year." As Araya is known for his aggressive style of headbanging, he began experiencing back problems while the band was on tour in Australia/New Zealand/Japan in October 2009. Araya had an Anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. On March 12, 2010, Metal Hammer magazine had an interview with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo about Tom Araya's recovery. Lombardo stated that "“He’s recovering extremely quickly and really well. He is just moving forward and doing all the treatments and post operation stuff that he has to go through. He’s doing good.”[9] On May 20, 2010, Slayer confirmed that they would play two songs on TV for Jimmy Kimmel Live![10]

On June 3, 2011, Araya received the keys to the city of his birth, Viña del Mar, Chile.[11]

Religion

Unlike his Slayer bandmates who profess to being atheists, Araya is Catholic.[12] In an interview, Araya expressed his belief that "...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." When asked if he believed in God, he replied "I believe in a supreme being, yeah. But He's an all-loving God."[13] Araya explained that he has a "really strong belief system," and Slayer's words and images will "never interfere with what I believe and how I feel.... People are not in good shape to where they have to question their own belief system because of a book or a story somebody wrote, or a Slayer song."

Araya commented about the misconception of the band labeled as Satan worshippers, "Yeah, yeah I think that’s one of the biggest misconceptions towards the band, but next to that just the fact that we’re normal." If guitarist King writes a good song, Araya puts his beliefs aside, "I'm not one that's going to go, 'This sucks because it's contrary to my beliefs.' To me it's more like "This is really good stuff. You're going to piss people off with this.'"[14]

Lyrics

Araya’s interest in serial killers inspires much of his lyrical themes, including the songs titled "213" about Jeffrey Dahmer and "Dead Skin Mask" about Ed Gein.[15] [16] "Why? I’m trying to see where these guys are coming from so maybe I’ll understand. It’s always kind of intrigued me…"[3]

Araya wrote the lyrics for the Grammy winning song "Eyes of the Insane" from Slayer’s 2006 album Christ Illusion. The lyrics were inspired through an article in the Texas Monthly about the casualties of war, and soldiers experiences in having a tough time coping with physical and psychological trauma. Araya states "At points in their tour of Iraq, they need help and the military tends to ignore that, they kind of brush it under the mat and hopes it goes away. They try to make everything seem hunky dory and fine and dandy, when in actuality there is a lot of stuff going on that people can’t handle. There’s a lot of soldiers coming home with mental anguish. And the sad part is, we heard about post-traumatic stress after Vietnam and the first Gulf War and the military seems to want to wipe the slate clean with every new war."[17]

Family

Araya has a brother, Johnny Araya, who plays bass in the melodic death metal band Thine Eyes Bleed

Equipment

Araya endorses Ampeg amplifiers[18] and ESP-guitars which are currently marketing Tom Araya signature basses.[19] He was one of the first bass players to have a signature ESP bass series.

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Rockaxis - Interview with Tom Araya . Keko Paralta Casanova. Rockaxis.com. 2008-02-25.
  2. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=AASB&p_theme=aasb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EAD8C9855C06B73&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM "Slayer's metal music gains popularity"
  3. Web site: Exclusive! Interview with Slayer vocalist/ bassist Tom Araya. Brian, Davis. KNAC.com. 2005-01-04. 2007-01-26.
  4. Web site: Live chat with Tom Araya of Slayer. ESPguitars.com. http://web.archive.org/web/20060509030337/http://www.espguitars.com/news/news_tomchat.html. 2006-05-09. 2007-01-27.
  5. Web site: A feel-good, family side to Slayer's heavy-metal assault. Nailen, Dan. The Salt Lake Tribune. 2007-01-25. 2007-01-28.
  6. Web site: Slayer attracts a new generation of fans. Glessner, David. MySA.com. 2006-06-22. http://web.archive.org/web/20070929104356/http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/stories/MYSA062306.WK.slayer.5106915.html. 2007-09-29. 2007-01-30.
  7. Web site: LiveDaily Interview: Tom Araya of Slayer. Gargano, Paul. livedaily.com. 2007-01-25. 2007-01-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20070205223956/http://www.livedaily.com/interviews/LiveDaily_Interview_Tom_Araya_of_Slayer-11402.html?t=1. February 5, 2007.
  8. Web site: Slayer Frontman Undergoes Gallbladder Surgery, Band Reschedule Early 'Unholy Alliance' Dates. Blabbermouth.net. 2006-05-10. 2007-01-09.
  9. Web site: Dave Lombardo: "Tom Araya Is Recovering Extremely Quickly. metalhammer.co.uk. http://www.metalhammer.co.uk. 2010-03-12. 2010-05-27.
  10. Web site: Jimmy Kimmel Tonight. Slayer.net. http://www.slayer.net. 2010-05-20. 2010-05-27.
  11. Web site: Tom Araya Receives Keys to the city of Vina del Mar. Slayerized.com. http://www.slayerized.com. 2011-06-06. 2011-09-28.
  12. http://www.celebatheists.com/wiki/Slayer
  13. Web site: Westword interview with Tom Araya. La Briola, John. Slayersaves.com. http://web.archive.org/web/20040803215618/http://www.slayersaves.com/interviews_tom2.htm. 2004-08-03. 2007-01-26.
  14. Web site: Slayer likes bad-boy image. Feniak, Jenny. Jam.com. 2007-01-26.
  15. Web site: Interview with Slayer. June 15, 2009. Stannard, Joe. Plan B. Frances Morgan. http://web.archive.org/web/20061217140905/http://www.planbmag.com/content/view/440/42/. December 17, 2006.
  16. Web site: Jeffrey Dahmer. ohiohistorycentral.org. 2007-01-30.
  17. Web site: Songs About God and Satan - Part 2: An Interview With Slayer's Tom Araya. Atkinson, Peter. KNAC.com. 2006-05-03. 2007-01-26.
  18. Web site: Artist Profile - Tom Araya. Ampeg. 2010-11-11.
  19. Web site: The ESP Guitar Company :: Tom Araya Signature Series. Espguitars.com. 2010-11-11. http://web.archive.org/web/20101102060845/http://www.espguitars.com/basses_tom.html . 2010-11-02.