Update (12/12): Slayer's manager released the following statement on behalf of the band concerning Rick Rubin:
"With Jeff’s tragic passing and Slayer’s eventual hectic touring schedule over the past several months, there has been a bit of mutual 'holding off' on jumping into any new long term recording commitment. It is true that Slayer is currently out of contract, as they delivered their final required album to American Recordings some time ago.
"Rick Rubin began a new distribution agreement with Universal last year and American/Universal absolutely has made a significant proposal to re-sign the band. Both parties had been in substantial negotiation over that proposal at the time of Jeff’s passing; and in fairness to everyone, a little space has been given on all sides in terms of closing any new deal.
"We are excited about the possibility of re-signing with Rick Rubin’s venture, and are also considering several other options that have been presented since the previous long term contract with American expired. The band has been taking much needed time to regroup and consider their various options for the future, and looks forward to a new beginning, wherever that may be."
Just because Slayer hasn't released an album since 2009's World Painted Blood doesn't mean they haven't been writing and recording. Fuse caught up with the thrash metal godfathers backstage before a recent show at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden to discuss new material and new members.
On Recording a New Album
"We started the process," says frontman Tom Araya. "The question is, how do we continue that? We've already discussed that aspect of if we are going to continue that. Now it's how." "Once Jeff got injured, that's when i said, hey I don't know if this guy can come to the party," adds Kerry King. "I just started working a lot harder to get not just five or six songs, but I have to approach this like I'm doing everything. That's why I'm sitting on 14 or 15 songs."
On the New Album's Sound
"We've got a ton of songs," says King. "I've got seven lyrical songs pretty much done. We're not even signed to a record label right now. If we were on American, I'm sure Rick Rubin would be in the mix." "I asked our manager to reach out to him," adds Araya. "No response. That's kind of sad."
On New Guitarist Gary Holt
"Gary's been sitting in for a while now," says Araya. "We wouldn't have been able to do this without him. To continue on at doing it with him, we're indebted to him."
Check out the video above to hear the band also discuss the return of drummer Paul Bostaph after more than a decade.