On their joint “American Carnage Tour,” Slayer and Megadeth are headbanging like it’s 1990.
Commemorating the landmark “Clash of the Titans” tour, both thrash metal bands took part in during 1990-91, each group is playing its then-current album — Slayer’s “Seasons in the Abyss” and Megadeth’s “Rust in Peace” — in their entireties. And Slayer bassist Tom Araya credits his tourmates with the idea.
“That was something Megadeth had been doing already ... and they wanted to know if we’d jump on board and do (an album) also,” Araya, 49, explains. “And we were like, ‘Sure, we’ll take one for the team.’ And especially (‘Seasons in the Abyss’), we’ve played a lot of the songs live. It’s a really great album.”
Slayer guitarist Kerry King, who briefly played in Megadeth during the late ’80s, adds that, “To come back 20 years later and see how important those records were, still are, is cool — weird, but cool. If I had to pick a second record to do after ‘Reign in Blood,’ this was definitely the one I wanted to do.”
Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine, meanwhile, says that revisiting the Grammy-nominated “Rust in Peace” has given him not only a fresh perspective on the album but also on his own growth as a human being during the past 20 years.
“Obviously I’m a lot older,” says Mustaine, 48, who this year published “Mustaine,” a frank and revealing autobiography that details his role as a founding member of Metallica, his struggle with drugs and his born-again Christianity. “Back then I was just really a miserable young man who was living on his own and trying to scratch out a living. That record was like the turning point for us.
“The things that interested me and affected me back when I wrote (‘Rust in Peace’) don’t affect me as much, if at all, now. But I still love playing the music. I love playing the aggressive stuff and walking away from playing those songs and seeing people shaking their heads and going, ‘How do they do that?’ That’s really fun for us.”
Slayer and Megadeth also staged a Canadian Carnage tour earlier this summer, and both were part of a Big Four metal tour of Europe with Metallica and Anthrax. And they’re buoyed that Metallica’s Lars Ulrich has hinted the combination could repeat in other parts of the world next year.
“When we were out there,” King, 46, says, “any time I got a chance to talk to Lars I was like, ‘Dude, we’ve got to do this more. We’ve got to go everywhere! It’s so cool, everybody deserves to see it.’ Everybody had such a good time. The toughest thing is the logistics of it all; if everybody is on board, I think it’ll happen.”
The “American Carnage Tour” with Slayer, Megadeth and Testament, takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, at Joe Louis Arena, 600 Civic Center Drive, Detroit. Tickets are $39.50, $29.50 and $10. Call 313-471-6606 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com.
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