We’ve all heard countless stories of labels forcing bands into producing material that resonates with a wider audience, even if it alienates their original fan base or compromises integrity. Some bands follow through, some manage to stick to their guns and find their own paths that lead to longevity and greatness.
In 1994, thrash metal legends Slayer were put in a pretty tricky situation – the band were asked to write a hit for mainstream radio whilst working on their album Divine Intervention. Despite having written some of the most captivating and iconic songs within the genre, Slayer’s music isn’t what most would describe as being “radio-friendly”.
Rick Sales recalled to Loudwire that a label executive made the decision, fresh off the success of Metallica’s ballad-ridden, radio rock Black Album.
“He said, ‘If you can deliver me one song that we can get on the radio, we can change the future. It’ll change everything,’” recounted Sales.
Guitarist Jeff Hanneman wasn’t too happy with the suggestion, responding immediately with, “hey, we’re making a Slayer record here, and if you can get it on the radio, great. And if you can’t, fuck it.”
Sales praised Hanneman’s concern with maintaining the band’s integrity, saying “Jeff was always like, ‘Hey, I’m not changing for anybody,’ and the rest of the band were all completely lockstep in agreement on that. They were always concerned about, and maintained their integrity.”
Earlier this year, Slayer announced their final world tour and break up after 37 years as a band. There’s still no word on whether the thrash metal act will bring their show to Australian shores one last time, however, earlier this year former Soundwave organiser AJ Maddah shared that a “ridiculous metal package” would be coming to Australia this year, featuring a headliner who hasn’t visited for 5 years that isn’t Metallica. Sounds pretty damn positive to us.