That one of the worlds biggest hard rock bands would release it’s own wine is remarkable. That Slayer, widely considered one of the worlds hardest and non-compromising metal acts, now have a Cabernet Sauvignon of their own - the Reign In Blood Red - on the market is nothing short of unique. Available at Swedens Systembolaget since late spring, the band have got a lot of attention for the high quality red wine. When the band visited Sweden to headline the Gothenburg based Metaltown Festival this summer, we met up with their charismatic vocalist and bass-player, Tom Araya, to discuss great wine moments and the bands approach to wines.
Considering the amount of artists releasing wines recently; Why do you think musicians are embracing and have discovered wines and drinks?
I don’t think they have discovered them! Hahaha! Seriously, I think musicians have always been drinking and sharing a good wine. It is, I hate to say this, another form of vice. A good wine has many qualities, I think. If drunk moderately it is healthy, and good for your heart. Musicians have always had wine around them, but noone has really got into the tastes of wine. Growing up, my dad drank a lot of wine, so I got a taste for, and learned how to enjoy it. He spoke a lot about flavors and differences in tastes of wine. Also our manager Rick Sales is a big wine drinker, he goes to a lot of wine tasting classes and he’s taught me about the qualities of wine. I don’t know why musicians drink wine though. I know Amadeus Mozart, the classical composer drank a lot of wine, and I guess that’s where the connection started, hahaha!
What did you think of your Cabernet Sauvignon when you tried it?
When I heard the idea of a Slayer wine, I tasted the wines they suggested for us. To be honest, I was a bit sceptical at first before I tasted it, but once I tried it, I thought “you know what, this is actually really good. A really fruity and round type of flavour for a red wine.” It’s very flavorful and tasted awesome!
It’s been well received in Sweden…
That’s cool, but you know, I think it’s a good wine. I got a bottle for my brother who’s a big wine taster and he loved it. He gave it thumbs up, and he tastes a lot of wines. When they asked if I’d like to try it I was skeptical at first, but it smelled good and when I drank it there was none of the bitter, strong taste and dry mouth feel you can get from bad wines. I’m glad it’s got a favorable response, as it’s a good wine.
Have you had any major wine moment, in the way one could experience listening to a great album or going to a great concert?
Well, one moment would be, when we got to taste this wine for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect really, and felt “oh, really..?” It was none of this ‘let’s take a bottle of whatever, stick a label on it and call it our wine’, but a really good wine on it’s own. Apart from that, I can’t really say I have had a ‘wine moment’. You know… I did have wine-moments but I don’t recall them. There was a time when I put away a lot of wine, but I don’t remember those. I don’t know if you could consider them wine moments though… hahaha!
The wine you released is an American Cabernet Sauvignon. You’re from Chile, so would you be looking at putting out more wine and from Chile?
I hope so. Our manager will go out and buy wines from Chile and send me a couple of bottles. Through him, I’ve tried some chilean wines, which I have liked a lot. I got asked about bottling some Chilean wines, but when they asked what wines I’d like to have, the only Chilean wine I could think of was the Black Cat, the Gato Negro. They asked if I’d tried the Concho Y Toro, and I said sure, I have. I like them a lot. We’re thinking about doing something with them, and that would be awesome… Chile produces some great wines, and I’d love to have something from there as a future Slayer-wine. They’ve got some amazing white wines, which would be cool to do something with.
Speaking of white wine - Have you got any favorites?
I tasted a few good white wines, and I like the Pinot Grigio from Chile. I was asked to come up with a quote for some wines in Chili; there was a guy holding up a rack of ribs and a bottle of wine, and I suggested “Are you chilin’ or grillin’”. Not sure if they’re going to use it though… They could go with “brown bag or glass?!” hahaha!
Have you been considering any other drinks to launch?
If we would do anything more, it would evolve around the drinks we enjoy as a band. Schnaps is one, tequila and vodka others. We’re fans of Sambuca as well! We’re not big on our whiskies, though I personally enjoy a Crown Royal. Kerry is really into the Jägermeister thing, so he kind of sponsors them…. he might suggest a Slayer - Jägermeister collaboration. A Slayermeister, though I’m not sure how you’d get that. But right now we’re focussing on the wine.
Will this be available in the US or other countries?
Yeah, I can definitely see that happen. I wouldn’t know about the logistics of how to get something like that to work, but there’s been a great response as it’s such a good wine. The key is making sure that it’s a good wine, and I think it would do great in the states. I think there are serious wine drinkers who would be surprised about the quality of the wine. Maybe they’ll discover the band after tasting the wine, hahaha! Having met the folks behind Brands for Fans, we saw that they are proper wine people and know what they’re talking about. It’s a good product and it feels good to have a bottle of wine that isn’t just a label on some bland bottle, but a well produced Cabernet Sauvignon.
Time flies, and we leave Tom and the band to prepare to completely pulverize the 20.000 strong audience in Gothenburg. The show is magic and both audience and reviews wax lyrical of the bands performance afterwards. With a wine to match the musical strength of the band we will keep that experience with us for a long time to come.
Check also out Slayers cool merch under "merch"...