Here is an exclusive interview of JT and G (the creators of the "National Day of Slayer" or "NDoS") for Spirit Of Metal, Draven's World and The Dudes Bar Radio.
Who are you and where do you come from?
JT: I'm one of the Directors of the National Day of Slayer Task Force. I'm American, and I'll leave it at that. This project isn't about me or the other creators, it's about Slayer and a national metal holiday.
G: I am a Slayer fan, from Texas. That's the external part. Internally, I am someone who believes that life should be endless adventure and joy, and that we should not be afraid of Darkness and death because they are part of what is necessary to create the best thing ever, which is life. I like Slayer because they have that same energy and their songs tell epic tales of conquering fear and exposing the feral spirit within us all. Nature is smarter than humankind and its silly morality. Wars, doom, Evil, etc. seem awful but they are necessary. Without night, no day. Without violence, no peace. Without war, too many useless people pile up. And Slayer rocks.
What was your original motivation when you created the "National Day of Slayer"? When did it become international?
JT: It started out as intentional from the start. Many Europeans (and a lot of Americans) don't realize that our country has a government-sanctioned National Day of Prayer every year. It started in earnest during World War II. It's not government sponsored, but many Presidents publicly endorse it (except Obama, which is one of a handful of things he has done right). I wanted to have a high-profile response to these self-important Christians who spent money on billboard advertisements proclaiming their special little day, and a parody called National Day of Slayer seemed ideal.
G: Remember how when you were a kid, teachers and parents tried get you to think we as a species could all "just get along"? Yeah, it was a lie. Our society is breaking up into different groups because people have different beliefs and want to live in different societies. By race, religion, political orientation and even personal habits (drugs, sex, martial arts) people are fragmenting away from the mainstream. We saw every other possible group get recognition, but metal gets ignored because people do not understand that choosing this music means choosing a philosophy of life that is incompatible with the mainstream. It was also sad to see such majestic, powerful, and Intense music failing to get the recognition it deserved. So if the Christians can have a "National Day of Prayer," the Muslims can have Sharia law in Minnesota, black people get a whole month to commemorate their great Deeds and even mothers get their own special day, why can't we have a Slayer holiday for all metalheads worldwide to celebrate our culture?
Why did you choose the band Slayer specifically?
JT: Well, first because of the obvious name similarity (to the "National Day of Prayer"), but also because Slayer remains a pillar of the metal genre. They're a band that everyone can agree on, in principle at the very least. We needed to pick something that the entire hessian culture could get behind, and it has always been Slayer.
G: Slayer is like a mascot for metal and also an example of the best that metal offers. When people think of metal, they imagine Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead and now, Slayer for the late 1980s-1990s version. Slayer was unlike any music that came before it. It is more extreme but also less human-friendly, more like a robotic war machine stalking the land on Satan's command. Nothing else sounds like Slayer no matter how many people steal their riffs. Very few bands even approach the intensity of their first five albums. If you want a band to represent the best of heavy metal, it's Slayer.
I guess you're very happy that Slayer officially endorses the NDoS. How did that happen?
JT: We are very proud, yes. I never dreamed they'd actually take notice, but then again I also didn't expect this event to become an actual phenomenon. I credit the good people at KROQ radio in Los Angeles for making Slayer aware of it. They caught onto it the first year we did it and made a big deal out of it on the airwaves. It was a very important first step. Actually meeting the band and being guests at their show was one of the single best experiences as a metal (and Slayer) fan.
G: The Slayer guys are very generous, and contacted us through their publicist to offer support, AFTER they gave a couple interviews in which they mentioned the site. We later got to meet them; they are not filled with false humility but are clearly people with a mission who speak their minds plainly, so this was a great honor. Like most people who have purpose in their lives, they were able to understand what we were doing and recognize how important it could be. We are very grateful for this and of course, for the two decades of quality music!
Are you aware of any special event that was organized in the past years or that is organized this year to support the NDoS (in the US or anywhere else)? Were you surprised by the response you had towards the event?
JT: We get photos and stories from people all over the world every year who support it in large and small ways. They have parties, concerts, and even vandalism efforts. And yes, I was very surprised that anyone took us seriously and made it a part of their lives.
G: We didn't know what to expect. To us it was clear it was important, but sometimes important things get buried for centuries before someone wakes up and notices. But every year that NDOS has occurred, people have organized local celebrations. Right now we're aware of New York, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Lansing Michigan, Austin Texas and Asheville, North Carolina who are having their own NDOS events. We were glad to see this kind of response. I'm not sure if we were surprised, since we thought NDOS was such a great idea, we kind of expected the world might understand!
Are you aware of any incident that occurred during the NDoS?
JT: There's an ever-growing list of "bad" things that have happened on account of NDoS. The first and most notorious was the vandalism of a Catholic seminary in Rochester, New York. Two guys spray painted Slayer lyrics, inverted crosses, and pentagrams all over the exterior. They even vandalized the steps where Pope John Paul II consecrated the grounds! It was fantastic. But yes, every year we get kids from many different countries who go with the vandalism recommendation. They spraypaint cemetaries, mosques, churches, synagogues, and even odd places like grocery stores. It's all fair game on the National Day of Slayer!
G: There were a few incidents of public SLAYER logo painting, and possibly a church or two received some instruction in how to worship Slayer, but otherwise, no one died. That's the kind of party I like: lots of mayhem, and no one dies before the cops get there.
What do you say to people who don't understand the point of the NDoS, or people who would prefer another band than Slayer?
JT: We ask that they please see the forest for the trees, first and foremost. And if they don't want to listen to Slayer, then they can replace it with any metal band they like (except Megadeth) and still celebrate the first and only metal holiday. Raising the profile of hessians as a cultural movement is our primary goal.
G: If people want a holiday for another band than Slayer, I think they should start one. I can't think of a band more emblematic of metal than Slayer. Even great bands like Saint Vitus, Motorhead, Deicide, Asphyx, Demilich, Incantation and Pestilence, who deserve national monuments in their honor, aren't as much a symbol of metal and what it is to "be metal" as Slayer is.
Which Slayer song/album are you going to listen to in priority today (06/06/11)?
JT: It will be a mix, as usual. I will probably go heavy on both Live Undead and South of Heaven (which is actually my favorite Slayer album). "Angel of Death" will be in there, of course. It's quintessential.
G: I always start Slayer listening sessions with Haunting the Chapel, and after that I'm going to listen to Live Undead and a couple live bootlegs I really like because of their intensity, then walk through Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits (which I can practically re-create from memory) and then hit my favorite, South of Heaven. After that, it's the classic Reign in Blood and then their Decade of Aggression 2CD live set.
This year is the fifth year of the NDoS. Is it going to last forever?
JT: Of course. It is meant to be permanent, regardless of whether or not our President agrees to declare it. Metalheads have never relied on the status quo to make things happen, so that's not a problem for us. People who think National Day of Slayer was only for 6/6/06 aren't looking at the big picture. Metal is 40 years old now, and it's officially generational. Do we want to be recognized or not?
G: Slayer need recognition as an important part of the culture shared between members of the human species. They have made some of the best metal of all time, and it grasps a healthy spirit that seizes the day and makes the most of life. More people should appreciate this and if Slayer's philosophy were made part of our everyday lives, people would be happier or at least less bored and bitter. Every person has something to learn from Slayer, and Slayer represents metal at its best, and Slayer is awesome, so we want to have NDOS every year that other people are willing to celebrate with us. And when they stop, it will just be us in a field somewhere, cranking Slayer and firing shotguns!
Do you have any specific statement you'd like to address to the french Slayer/NDoS fans?
JT: I'd like to hear from more of you, especially if you have any photos of Slayer parties or "actions" that you did to celebrate. Remember, in the USA it's the National Day of Slayer, but for the rest of the world, it's International Day of Slayer, and it counts just as much! Don't go to work! Listen to Slayer!
G: Hails to the people of the land of Massacra! Never forget how good early Massacra was. Along with early Sepultura and Bathory, it's one of the few bands that can touch Slayer for intensity. Final Holocaust and Enjoy the Violence should be taught in every French school, if they are not already. Loudblast and Supuration (S.U.P.) are really good too.Every time I have been in France, people have been very nice to me even though my French language is terrible. Just send more bands like Massacra!
Now it's time to listen to all your Slayer CDs, and if you don't have any at hand right now, tune in to The Dudes Bar Radio that should air Slayer tunes all day long!
So, I guess the NDoS should get a little more attention in France this year. Have a great Slayer day!
Draven, the journalist who conducted this interview, has also posted this interview in French on his blog, as an article in English and as a dicussion news topic on the comprehensive Spirit of Metal webzine.
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