1988. California. Thinking about my first time, thinking about the ocean 25 years back, a room, the gorgeous faux-beach-spiritual and her place: one room, a kitchen table with one chair and a bed. And on that bed, being introduced to a few firsts as a teenager. In between the first—a healthy bong rip—which now just makes me laugh because it became such a rare occurrence in my life, and the third, sex—which also makes me laugh for the same reason—I was introduced to Slayer on the FM radio. Some kind of thrash metal hour in San Diego. Later, when I would see them live, I would watch the insane, hair-farmer culture thrashing around possessed, which was fine, but I wondered if they got the genius of Slayer, the writing, the speed and placement of sounds in the album Reign In Blood, speed and grace to the likes of which I wouldn’t hear again until I heard the track Sugar Coated Sour by The Dillinger Escape plan. Anyway, this isn’t a fucking music review, it’s about how I considered Slayer to be Mozart for the 20th century. It made enough of an impact on me to throw their name into a couple of works of mine, debuting in March of Time and Skin:
“I asked her to tell me her life story. Halfway through it, my forehead lifted from my skull, stretching the skin above my brow. Then it stopped, shook the skin loose and the skin ballooned softly. All of the people in my life were released from my brain, and they hung there lightly. All of their words and movement slowed down to the energy of ghosts floating through me, through my chest. I heard bits of her story, but I really heard the music on the radio next to her. It was technical and evil. I wanted ask her who it was but the DJ came on and said it was a block of Slayer.”
25 years later, in a motel in Arizona while on a book tour, I pound coffee and listen to South Of Heaven and write this post. Also, more than happy to read this review.
Listening to Slayer because they never get old, reading a good review about one of your books, keeping an eye on the pool outside while on the road promoting another book, is a feeling I can only describe as surreal, regardless of the long and weird road taken to get here. Few precious things need not be forgotten in my mind, and things like this that make the cut laugh me through the dark and light ages.