Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe pays tribute to Slayer: the “new ‘Free Bird'”

ABC/Randy HolmesSlayer will kick off their farewell tour tonight in San Diego, and Lamb of God will help the thrash legends say goodbye as the trek’s opening act.  Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe realizes that some fans are upset that Slayer is hanging it up, but he understands the band’s decision.

“[Vocalist/bassist] Tom Araya‘s had neck surgery and stuff,” Blythe tells ABC Radio. “He’s sacrificed a physical part of his body to this career, and it’s, like, ‘Dude, let the man relax. They put in 30 years. Let ’em chill.'”

Still, Blythe is plenty emotional about the end of Slayer. The first time Lamb of God played Europe was when they opened for the “Raining Blood” rockers, and Blythe remembers one show in London as a career highlight.

“I’m in a different country, never been to England before, there’s all these people who know our music, they’re responding, we’re opening up for Slayer,” Blythe recalls. “I look over and I see [Slayer guitarist] Kerry King standing side stage, and he’s got some Jägermeister and he’s got a shot for me, and I’m like, ‘Wow! This could be my life!'”

As a more of a punk than a metalhead, Blythe feels that, out of the Big Four thrash bands — Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax — Slayer is the “most punk rock.”  But no matter what genre of music you like, you’re probably familar with Slayer.  According to Blythe, Slayer is the “new ‘Free Bird.'”

“You play a show, and people used to yell ‘Free Bird!’ to be funny or whatever, or seriously, and now it’s ‘Slayer!'” Blythe says.

“Slayer’s nowhere near the bill,” he laughs. “They’re in South America playing with whoever they’re playing with, and you’re in Japan, and someone’s gonna yell, ‘Slayer!'”

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