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Drummer Jon Dette Reflects on Playing With Slayer Again, Shares Future Plans

Drummer Jon Dette is an iron man of drumming. How do we know this? Well, he performed with both Slayer and Anthrax at this year’s Soundwave Festival. Playing drums for Slayer is a workout in and of itself but to also fill in for Anthrax? Who has that kind of stamina? Clearly, John Dette does.

In a video chat with Heavy Metal Hill (seen above), the onetime Testament kit minder Dette recalled his double duty stint. He was on tour with Anthrax and was already pretty fluent in their music. The same goes for Slayer, who tasked him with filling in for Dave Lombardo when he was ousted. He had less than half a week to practice for that gig but having previously played with Slayer and being a fan who was incredibly familiar with the music helped his preparations.

“I had three days to rehearse with them before going to Australia to do that tour,” he said. “But I had known the songs for years, and [since] I [previously] played with Slayer back in the ’90s, I was very familiar with playing those songs. And when I listened to them again, it was like riding a bike; it was like I’d never forgotten [how to play it].”

He compared playing with Slayer two decades ago to doing so now, saying, “Obviously, people grow, people change and mature, and obviously, in the case of Slayer, their music has done the same. They’ve matured as people, I’ve matured. I mean, I’m a different person today than I was at 25, 26 when I was originally in the band. I think that things are much more — despite what’s happened with Slayer in recent years — they’ve become much more relaxed as people and maybe not so uptight with things. I think when I joined the band back in the ’90s, it was kind of a tense time for them. There was a lot of things going, not only with their camp internally, obviously, with drummer changes and things like that, but also the music industry.”

“I think that our experience onstage now that we just had was such an amazing experience,” says Dette. “Just because we all knew each other, and it was almost like a reunion, so to speak. It was a reunion under such unfortunate circumstances, but under those circumstances, an amazing result happened. So it was just an honor and privilege to be part of their history again.”

Dette’s return was brief as Slayer went a different direction with their drummer position moving forward. As for what we can expect for his future, Dette says he may work with Anthrax again. “It’s possible I will be working with Anthrax again later this year. So if that happens, I’m looking forward to that. That will keep me busy for the next several months.” He also has a project call Animetal USA, which is a Japanese anime-themed outfit that also features Rudy Sarzo on bass.

Next: See the Latest on Slayer's Drummer Situation

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