Slayer interview – Eye Weekly (7.29.10)

July 31, 2010

Geeks, sportos, motorheads, dweebs… everybody loves Slayer. EYE WEEKLY’s Chris Bilton tracks down the band in Quebec to find out why the original masters of thrash are more popular than ever

QUEBEC CITY — It’s never just “Slayer”; it’s always “fuckin’ Slayer!” As an expression, it’s the perfect summation of what it means to be a Slayer fan, especially when yelled in the vicinity of one of their concerts. The name of the band alone carries with it a certain set of images and associations — Satanic pentagrams, combat-helmeted demons, vaguely SS-styled lettering, the most brutalizing thrash metal to come out of the 1980s — and yelling “Slayer” is enough to let any other metal fan know that you mean business. But adding the expletive is a kind of fanatical declaration: both vulgar and impassioned, and thoroughly committed to showing total disregard for societal norms.

Case in point, there’s already an Urban Dictionary1 entry on the phrase, and it’s a phenomenon that, for some, extends past the concert venue into everyday life. (Also, “Fuckin’ Metallica” has far too many syllables and “Fuckin’ Anthrax” too much consonance right in the middle of the phrase — “Fuckin’ Slayer,” on the other hand, just rolls perfectly off the tongue.)

Fix the TTC – Eye Weekly (2.17.10)

March 2, 2010

Why the TTC should get liquored up: what Toronto’s transit system could learn about customer service from the LCBO. A cover story for EYE WEEKLY in conjunction with Ed Keenan’s Mau Mau-ing the Track Slackers.

Ad Hawk Activism – Eye Weekly (10.7.09)

October 21, 2009

Rami Tabello has won a lot of battles in his guerrilla war against illegal billboards — and, soon, city hall will have his back

Riding with Rami Tabello when he’s on illegal-billboard patrol is a harrowing adventure. Acceleration comes in brief, block-long bursts. Equilibrium-shifting U-turns are a regular occurrence. No gap in traffic seems too tight for him to squeeze his red Mini through. No amount of honking deters him from creeping through an intersection in order to observe the distances between two rooftop signs, and his four-way flashers get heavy use.

He drives like a man on a crusade, and behaves like one too: an anti-hero operating above the law to bring down the companies who have covered Toronto in illegitimate advertising.

Stick Tabello in a City Hall committee room, surrounded by councillors, billboard lobbyists, concerned citizens and public-space advocates and he’s less brazen, but equally driven. Normally clad in a black leather jacket and button-down shirt, which add to the crisp GQ stylishness of his perpetually shaved head, Tabello looks, if not out of place, a little too intense for something like a public consultation.

Still, there’s a reason the city’s licensing and standards chair, Howard Moscoe, considers Tabello a public hero, and why he occasionally defers to him during meetings about billboards. That’s because for two and a half years, Tabello has been doing, in his spare time and at his own expense, what a whole city department gets paid to take care of — and he’s been doing it better.