Earlier this year, we learned that, because of years of headbanging, Slayer frontman Tom Araya had to undergo radical neck surgery. The procedure repaired the damage, but there was some bad news: Tom can no longer headbang. Imagine that? One of headbanging’s pioneers can no longer engage in such rocking out. It’s sad and a reminder to all of us that we’re getting old.
Slayer’s Kerry King says Tom’s medical woes have not affected him one iota. I asked him if he’s adjusted his headbanging activities since Araya’s surgery. “Fuck that, dude,” he tells Gunshyassassin.com. “If it ain’t broken, I ain’t fixing it and I ain’t worried about.”
King says that Araya’s injuries were not all self-inflicted, because he had been involved in some “crazy car accidents.” But Kerry is taking precautions. “As I get older, I warm up more and more before every show, to hopefully avoid stuff like that. I’m still doing the same show I always have, though.”
According to King, he knows what he’s doing. “I mean, we do do this a lot more than the fans. It is our job, so we were probably doing it 500 percent more than the average person, having to do it at shows every night. At a very young age, I started preparing for the worst. Because nobody knows what’s going to happen if you headbang for 30 years. I’ve been doing it and I’m lucky so far, so I will keep doing what I’m doing — warming up.”
Speaking of getting old, I asked Kerry about this year, a tough one for metal fans. We’ve lost several significant figures, including Peter Steele of Type O Negative, Slipknot’s Paul Gray, Avenged Sevenfold’s The Rev, and Ronnie James Dio. What would he tell the metal community at this sombre time.
“I knew most of those people, but Ronnie was a tough one,” King says, sadness in his voice. “He was 60-something, on stage, kicking ass ‘til the day he died. That was tough. My first thought was, ‘What are Tony and Geezer going to do now?’ The other [deaths], I’m not saying everybody killed themselves, but they liked to entertain themselves a little extra. So I think the moral of the story is watch your vices.”
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