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Tom Araya

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Tom Araya (born Tomás Enrique Araya June 6, 1961 in Valparaíso, Chile) is the vocalist and bassist of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Araya’s family moved to the United States in 1966, and at the age of eight picked up the bass guitar, playing Beatles and Rolling Stones songs with his older brother, who played the guitar. Araya was employed as a respiratory therapist in the early 1980s, using his earnings to finance Slayer’s debut album Show No Mercy. Much of Araya’s lyrical content is about serial killers, a subject he finds interesting.

Araya was born in Valparaíso, Chile as the fourth child in a family of nine. At the age of five, his family moved to South Gate, California. Rumors circulating the internet state he left because of “political unrest”, Araya denied this claim; “that happened in ‘71 and we were already in the United States by that time.”

Araya’s older brother played the guitar, leading Araya to pick up the bass guitar at the age of eight. The two played Beatles and Rolling Stones songs, inspiring his musical interest. In the early 1980s, Araya’s eldest sister suggested he enroll as a respiratory therapist. Araya’s father stated he either find a job or enroll in the course. Araya enrolled in a two year technical course, learning about air mixture ratios, drawing blood, and how to intubate.

In 1981 Araya was approached by Kerry King, who asked Araya join his band Slayer. Araya accepted, using his earnings as a respiratory therapist to finance the band’s 1983 debut album Show No Mercy.[2] Araya requested that the hospital allowed him time off for Slayer’s first European tour in 1984, Araya was denied; “We need you to come in today.

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