SLAYER's Tom Araya and Kerry King have announced that drummer Paul Bostaph has rejoined the band on a full-time basis. Bostaph will be behind the drum kit beginning June 4 when SLAYER kicks off the first leg of its 2013 international tour in Warsaw, Poland. EXODUS' Gary Holt will continue to fill in for fallen guitarist Jeff Hanneman.
SLAYER's 2013 itinerary will have the band playing 35 dates that will include headline shows as well as a number of major summer festivals in Europe, Eastern Europe and South America between June and October.
"Paul's a great drummer and a good friend, and we're very happy that he's decided to rejoin the band," said Tom Araya. "We're still pretty numb from the loss of Jeff, but we don't want to disappoint our European and South American fans, and we need to begin moving forward... Having Paul back in the band makes that a whole lot easier."
"I'm very excited to be rejoining SLAYER," added Bostaph. "We spent a very intense ten years of our lives together, had a lot of fun, made a lot of great music, so for me, this feels like coming home."
Bostaph was SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band — the gold-certified "Divine Intervention" (1994), the 1996 punk covers album "Undisputed Attitude", "Diabolus In Musica" (1998), "God Hates Us All" (2001) that received a Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance", as well as the DVD "War At The Warfield" (2001), also certified gold. In addition to SLAYER, Bostaph has been a member of FORBIDDEN, EXODUS, SYSTEMATIC and TESTAMENT.
In a 2003 interview with the San Francisco-based Internet music magazine Perfect Pitch Online, Bostaph broke his silence regarding the real reason he left SLAYER in December 2001. An official press release issued by the SLAYER camp had listed a chronic elbow injury as the reason for Bostaph's departure while a number of people had speculated that he left the band in order to join SYSTEMATIC. According to Paul, however, his reasons for leaving were purely musical.
"I didn't leave SLAYER because of an arm problem, and I certainly didn't leave SLAYER to join SYSTEMATIC," Paul told Perfect Pitch Online. "I was ready to go. It was nothing personal towards anybody in the band, it was just my time to leave. Musically, I wanted to do something else. And in terms of the problem I had with my arm, I re-aggravated an old softball injury by lifting up a laptop at the airport. That happened right at the beginning of the tour, and it never had time to heal. But even at that point, I was considering moving on from the band."
He continued: "SLAYER's a great band, and I had a lot of fun playing with them, but I have to feel like I'm taking chances musically.
"The first time I left SLAYER, I did [a project called] THE TRUTH ABOUT SEAFOOD — sure, it never got signed, but I enjoyed it a lot. SLAYER took my drumming to a new level, but there are also other levels of drumming that I haven't even touched yet. I want to become a more eclectic drummer."
Original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo sat out the band's recent Australian tour due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).
Pictured below: Paul Bostaph at public memorial celebration for Jeff Hanneman on May 23 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California (photo credit: Stephanie Cabral)