Members of ANTHRAX, LAMB OF GOD, LIFE OF AGONY, TESTAMENT, MINISTRY and TYPE O NEGATIVE are among the musicians who have paid tribute to SLAYER as part of The Aquarian Weekly's special article celebrating the iconic thrash metal's career.
ANTHRAX bassist Frank Bello said: "I've known these guys since the eighties, and over the years, ANTHRAX and SLAYER have toured together so many times, we've all become genuine friends. We grew up together as musicians, and we've just become closer and closer over the years. When we're on the road, we hang out at the shows and on days off, I'll have breakfast with Tom [Araya] or dinner with Kerry [King], hang out with the crew or Mike LaTronico, their tour manager. I know their families and they know mine. These are really good people."
He continued: "I'll miss standing at the side of the stage trying to make Tom laugh — which he never does during a show. I'll miss the 'after-show hangs' in SLAYER's dressing room with Kerry doing shots from his Jägermeister machine. Nobody can drink like Kerry King can, so I always asked for a 'half shot,' which came to be known as the 'Bello shot.' One thing I won't miss is having too many 'Bello shots,' and spending way too many nights on the floor of the bathroom in our bus. ANTHRAX played our last shows with SLAYER last month in South America, and I remember watching their set from the side of the stage thinking, 'I'm only going to see them play this song two more times after tonight.' And then the next night, 'This is the second to the last time I'll ever see them perform this song.' And when I see them at Madison Square Garden [on November 9], it will be the last time I ever see them play those songs.
"With SLAYER and ANTHRAX, our techs, our bus drivers, truck drivers — for so many years — it's been a family. And it's hard to say goodbye to your family."
Earlier this year, Bello said that he believed SLAYER would come out of retirement to play more "Big Four" concerts with METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX.
"I think if you ring up my friends in SLAYER [and tell them], 'We're doing the 'Big Four,'' I think they'd play some shows," he told the Graspop Metal Meeting. "I think they would work it out. I think [they would come out of retirement for it]. The 'Big Four' is special enough that we all rise to it. I would hope they would do that. I mean, I would certainly try to talk them into it."
Frank previously told RadioactiveMike Z in a separate interview that the members of SLAYER have been talking about pulling the plug on their career "for a while. I know these guys pretty well; they're good friends of mine, specifically Kerry," he said. "And they've been talking about that for quite a while. And I'm actually surprised that it came now, [and] I'm kind of bummed."
Bello added that he understands why SLAYER would want to retire from touring after spending so many years on the road.
"This touring stuff, it's pretty grueling," he said. "As much as people think it's like a dream [job], the best part about it is the show. The rest of it, the traveling… And, thankfully, we have buses and all this nice stuff. But being away from you family — we all have families — being away from your family, all that stuff comes into play. And the wear and tear — it's not as easy as it used to be, but I understand it."
Earlier this month, SLAYER kicked off "The Final Campaign", the seventh and final leg of its farewell world tour. This last hurrah started at the ExploreAsheville Arena in Asheville, North Carolina, and will see the band taking its goodbye bow at the Los Angeles Forum on November 30. Accompanying SLAYER for this last ride are PRIMUS, MINISTRY and PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS performing a vulgar display of PANTERA, who are supporting on all dates.
SLAYER's final world tour began on May 10, 2018 with the band's intention to play as many places as possible, to make it easy for the fans to see one last SLAYER show and say goodbye. By the time the 18-month trek wraps on November 30, the band will have completed seven tour legs plus a series of one-off major summer festivals, performing more than 140 shows in 30 countries and 40 U.S. states.