In a brand new interview with Daily Emerald, SLAYER guitarist Gary Holt and drummer Paul Bostaph were asked if it is getting easier to play thrash metal after three decades or if age has started to affect the intensity with which they can perform. Holt said: “Easier? I have really bad back issues. I have an inversion table in the other room that I have to hang up on several times. I’ve had two epidurals. Any woman who has ever had a child, I know your pain. Not the actual childbirth, but actually having four needles put into your spine, it really sucks, but I will do whatever it fucking takes to keep doing this. I get onstage and I’m not going to half-ass anything. I’ll stop doing this when I feel I can’t do it at the level I demand of myself.”
He continued: “The older I get, the more I want to show people half my age how this shit is done, and make them look tired. The only difference is I walk off stage and start gobbling more ibuprofen, then I go hang upside down and call my back doctor and they’re riding skateboards down the street or whatever, but I still feel I can do this at a very high level, so I’m going to continue.”
Added Bostaph: “Honestly, we don’t have a problem playing fast. As a matter of fact, I play better fast now than I did when I was younger. That’s part of what I was saying earlier is that when I was younger, I could play fast, but shit, I listened to the first record I ever did, and I played way too fast. But now I can control the tools that I have and speed is not a problem. We can play fast, faster. We can play so ridiculously fast if we wanted to that it would make the songs sound like a trainwreck. Speed is never an issue. It’s the control of speed that is a tool we all have. We’re not slowing down in that respect.”
Holt went on to say: “I mean there’s things that I was able to do better younger, things I do better now than when I was younger. Some things are related to just thirty years of repetitive motion on your knuckles and they’re a little bit crooked and enlarged and arthritic now, but there’s certain things that when I was younger, I listen to now and I go, ‘Man, that was fucking really good. Let me try to do that. Wow.’ There’s things that I do now that were hard for me then and they’re much easier, mostly right-hand-based stuff. My right hand is stronger, my left hand is, you know, it gives me that… ugh [shakes hand in the air] sometimes, but you know, you just motor through it.”
Regarding how SLAYER has s managed to keep going through the decades without breaking up, Holt said: “I don’t think any of us know how to do anything else other than play heavy metal, thrash metal, and do it well, be it SLAYER or EXODUS, or any other project. It’s what I do. I don’t know how to do anything else. Why would I walk away from any of it? And I think it’s the same for Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] and Tom [Araya, SLAYER bassist/vocalist] and Paul. What else are we going to do? You get to play a sold-out show with a pole in the middle of the stage in front of a bunch of people who are going to go nuts, or I could go to trade school. I’d rather be here. It’s kind of an easy choice.
Added Bostaph: “I totally agree with Gary, and the other thing I think would be that when you’re traveling and you’re around each other all the time… We have a relationship and the longevity part of it is not pushing each other’s buttons. We’re out here to play music. Within this band, I think it has always been that, that’s been my experience. I think that’s what adds to it. You just don’t push each other’s buttons. Go home. Do your own thing, but when you’re here, let’s play some music because it’s supposed to be fun.”