An Interview with Jeff Henneman from SLAYER!
Ozzfest 2004, the heavy metal caravan that's going all across the USA this Summer features the almighty Slayer, among others, & I was lucky enough to score an interview with the quite guy in the band, mr. Jeff Henneman. Do I really need to hype this anymore? You know who he is, so here's the interview as it happened!
Rock N Roll Experience: How's Ozzfest been so far for you?
Jeff: It's been great, it's always great every time we play it, it's just fun, it's a good time. The only thing we don't like is we don't like playing in the sunshine, but it looks kind of gloomy today so it'll be alright.
Rock N Roll Experience: How do you like Superjoint Ritual as opposed to Pantera?
Jeff: I haven't heard that band yet, I've heard Damage Plan...they (Damage Plan) are pretty cool, but I haven't heard the other one (Superjoint Ritual).
Rock N Roll Experience: You haven't watched Phil Anselmo's set yet?
Jeff: No, I haven't had a chance, we were doing alot of stuff, we just recorded a DVD, we've been listening to stuff, looking at pictures, doing stuff, so I haven't had a chance to walk around yet.
Rock N Roll Experience: How was the DVD shoot? I heard that you had fake blood dumped on you at one point
Jeff: Yeah, during "Rain in Blood", it's pretty cool, we're gonna try to see about doing it regularly, because we had fun with it.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you watching any of the 2nd stage acts on this tour?
Jeff: I haven't seen anybody, I haven't seen Priest or nothing yet, but it's a long tour, I've got plenty of time ha ha ha.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you a Slipknot fan?
Jeff: I liked their first record alot, I thought it was really good. Their second one was pretty good & ....but their first one was really good.
Rock N Roll Experience: How many guitars do you take on tour with you?
Jeff: about 6, because we have a couple of different tunings, so we always have to have a back-up for each tuning incase you break a string or something you can just switch guitars really quick.
Rock N Roll Experience: What's your touring guitar rigg like?
Jeff: The same thing I always use, A Marshall with a VOX EQ & that's pretty much it, it's really simple
Rock N Roll Experience: When you write music with Kerry King, how does your stuff differ from Kerry's?
Jeff: I think (Dave) Lombardo summed it up years ago, He said "Kerry writes fast stuff & Jeff writes fast stuff & moody stuff", so I guess I write a bit more moodier than Kerry does.
Rock N Roll Experience: Especially out of like all the heavy bands, Slayer is the one that never really changed
Jeff: Yeah, we just like what we are doing, there's no reason to change, so, we still enjoy what we are doing, so f**k it!
Rock N Roll Experience: What did you think of Metallica's progression?
Jeff: I guess you could say we saw it coming, because even back in the day when they were heavy as f**k, Lars was into some kind of new wave bands & he was always talking about that kind of crap, so you can see it coming, but I don't know, we listened to punk & stuff like that & we are not listening to metal or whatever, so there was no reason for us to change.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you see the Metallica "Some Kind of Monster" documentary?
Jeff: No I haven't. I heard Mustaine got really pissed or something, I'll have to check it out.
Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of Dave Mustaine finding God after he got sober?
Jeff: I don't know ha ha ha, all I know about him is I used to like his guitar playing alot, I liked his first few records, of course I liked his stuff when he was in Metallica & I liked his solo's because they were like really technical, but they had an anger to them with a little over the edge type of sound, but his last few albums were just too commercial for me, but personally I think the guy is a little out of his mind, but I get a long with him.
Rock N Roll Experience: How bizarre was it to see the opening band for the Clash of the Titans tour, Alice in Chains, get bigger success wise than all of the headlining (Slayer, Megadeth, Anthrax) bands?
Jeff: Well they are more commercial, I mean they can appeal to a much wider audience then lest say our music can, but I just think they had alot of balls, they opened with a song that wasn't even on their album, & it's one of their mellowest songs & every night they opened with it & I can't remember the name of the song, but it's really mellow & laid back & I said to them, You're playing infront of all these metal fans & this song's not even on your album, it's mellow & that took alot of balls & I thought it was kind of cool ha ha
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you enjoy touring with Alice In Chains?
Jeff: Yeah, they were cool guys to hang out with.
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you expect Layne to overdose & die?
Jeff: Yeah, when he was on that tour with us he was completely straight & then we heard he went back to using again & it seems like with that (heroine) it's only a matter of time
Rock N Roll Experience: Did you have any drug problems?
Jeff: Well me & Tom (Araya) & some of my friends, we used to really be into cocaine & like one day Tom was dropping me off at home & I think it was 7 or 8 in the morning & I think it was after 2 days of staying up & he's driving & I'm shoving shit up his nose & I'm taking stuff & this can lead to only death or something, this is going too far, so I quite & he quite & I think he (Tom) just smokes pot now & I drink & that's about it, we quite, because I was taking pills & doing all of that shit & it was just like one day, you know what, it's enough!
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you still into the German Nazi stuff heavy?
Jeff: I'm not as much as I used to, a long time ago, my Dad fought in WW 2 & brought back a bunch of medals & shit from dead Germans & I started looking at it & I started reading books about it & I just got into their uniforms & some of their battle tactics, we use the same kind of tactics nowadays that they invented a long time ago & I think about 1990 was when I got out of it, but I've got some uniforms & stuff like that. Me & Lemmy (Motorhead) used to talk about our collections all of the time & I guess he got his ripped off or something, but not so much anymore, I kind of got out of it.
Rock N Roll Experience: What did you think of Metallica's ST. Anger?
Jeff: I didn't like it ha ha ha, it wasn't angry enough ha ha
Rock N Roll Experience: What did you think of the departure of Jason Newsted?
Jeff: I can't really comment too much on him, because I think I gave up listening to their records after Master of Puppets, after that I was like ahhhh & trailed off, I don't even bother listening to the new stuff, but I did listen to St. Anger because the hype was that it was gonna be heavy as f**k, so I listened close & was like, no its not ha ha ha
Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of the new metal bands that have no guitar solo's?
Jeff: I don't know, I don't listen to alot of new stuff, there's not alot of bands that I'm really into right now, I'm going back to old school stuff, like Slipknot was probably the first record I got excited about in a long time.
Rock N Roll Experience: What are your plans after Ozzfest?
Jeff: We go to Europe with Slipknot & then we are going to do a Jagermeister tour as soon as we get back, we've got like 5 days off then we start another US tour.
Rock N Roll Experience: How do you keep from burning out with a tour schedule like that?
Jeff: I don't know ha ha ha, I have no idea, because I get burnt out from hanging around the same people all of the time, but you just gotta find ways to tune people out sometimes ha ha.
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you married?
Jeff: Yeah, I've been married for like 7 years or something like that.
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you like life better on the road or home?
Jeff: I like them both, because I keep both worlds separate, I don't bring my wife on the road, so when I go home she's like all brand new again & it's like WOW! I haven't seen you in a while! & then I go back on tour & I haven't seen the guys in a while, so it's like HEY!, what's happening.
Rock N Roll Experience: Your wife never asks to come on the road with you?
Jeff: We've been playing for like 20 years & she's came twice ha ha ha
Rock N Roll Experience: Is it better that way?
Jeff: Yeah, it works for us, we're still together, so....
Rock N Roll Experience: Any of the other guys take their wives out on the road?
Jeff: Right now Kerry's got his & Tom's got his, but it's not always, it's just like once & a while
Rock N Roll Experience: Do you like playing small clubs?
Jeff: I love playing small clubs compared to Ozzfest...I like doing Ozzfest because it's like a big party, everybody's hanging out, but I love, I mean I think our music is made for small clubs because you sweat & the people are right in your face, like here at Ozzfest are people are way over there (far away), but yeah, clubs are fun!
Rock N Roll Experience: What bands are you hanging out with on this your?
Jeff: So far, nobody yet ha ha ha, but I'm kind of pacing myself
Rock N Roll Experience: Are you gonna jam with any other bands on the tour?
Jeff: No, I don't do that, I'm totally into Slayer & I figure if I start picking up the guitar with some other band then Slayer is done...I'm loyal like that
Rock N Roll Experience: What do you think of George Bush Jr.?
Jeff: He's alright...I lean to the right a little bit in politics, obviously not the religious reich, because I'm an Atheist, but he's alright.
Rock N Roll Experience: Who are you voting for in the upcoming election?
Jeff: I don't know if I'm gonna vote or not, but if I do, it would probably be for Bush because I don't know shit about Kerry.
Rock N Roll Experience: When is the new Slayer CD coming out?
Jeff: I think we are gonna go in January, we were trying to get it out this year & it turned out that way because Rick Rubin is changing distributors again like always & we figured why do the record now & have it sit on the shelf.