We’ve all gotta start somewhere, right?
The magic of the original Bay Area thrash scene might feel like lightning in a bottle from the outset, but it’s important to remember that all of these bands started out as troops of rabid headbanging fans first.
It’s this genuine love for all things fast and heavy coupled with a youthful exuberance (and maybe just a little bit of alcohol) that sparked the movement that would set the benchmark for great heavy metal to this very day.
To their credit, these bands have always championed their influences. As the collective status of Bay Area thrash grew, the scene used the opportunity to highlight and platform those who came before them. Just look at Metallica’s Garage Days or Slayer’s Undisputed Attitude for confirmation of their reverence toward those who came before them.
There’s possibly no greater display of pure love and fandom than when a good old-fashioned high school band covers your songs. Sure, these bands are just learning how to play their instruments. Yes, they are almost always unlistenable.
Indeed, most of them don’t have enough original songs of their own so they pad their sets with covers. It’s important to remember that those very cover songs are what inspired these kids to pick up their instruments in the first place. It’s the kind of reverence that religions are created around.
It should come as no surprise that Slayer’s Tom Araya started out in one of these very high school cover bands. What is surprising is that WE HAVE FOOTAGE!!!!!!
We don’t know the name of the band but it’s Tom on vocals, his brother John and Dimitri Galegos on guitars, Al Messi and Jake Alvarado on drums. The first two tracks are covers of Scorpions’ “Blackout” and Mötley Crüe’s “Looks That Kill” from a 1983 performance at Bell High School in Los Angeles.
Sadly, the footage cuts out before Tom can announce the band’s name and they presumably launch into a Quiet Riot cover.
The footage then shifts to a rehearsal video featuring segments of the band tearing through AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell,” Judas Priest’s “Breaking The Law,” Dio’s “Rainbow In The Dark,” and another rendition of “Looks That Kill.”
The band is not half bad and Tom sounds GREAT behind the mic. Given the time listed, this footage is from right around the release of Slayer’s landmark debut Show No Mercy, and it’s pretty amazing to hear a lighter side of the legendary frontman.
Check out the footage below: