Continuum Books has published D.X. Ferris’ first book, 33 1/3: Reign in Blood. It is part of Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, a growing collection of volumes about and inspired by classic albums, from the Beach Boys to the Beastie Boys. Slayer has been a leading heavy metal band for over 25 years; this is the first book about the group.
At Village Voice Media’s Cleveland Scene, Ferris is clubs editor and an entertainment reporter. He writes a weekly news column, features, previews, and reviews. He freelances for Alternative Press. His writing has appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Decibel magazine, Ohio Magazine, and the St. Mary’s Enterprise, among others.
Widely considered the greatest heavy metal record, Reign in Blood was produced by future Grammy winner Rick Rubin and issued on the world’s premier rap label, Def Jam, at the height of the thrash movement. Rubin went on to work with Johnny Cash, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the Dixie Chicks. It was his first rock record.
Before writing the book, Ferris solicited questions from fans. Researching the project, he conducted over 80 interviews. Twenty insiders from the group’s record company recount making and promoting the album. To demonstrate the band’s transcendent appeal, the author interviewed over 50 musicians and artists (47 made the final cut), who argue for Slayer as one of the greatest rock bands.
Ferris says his approach was “very much a reaction to the state of music writing. It’s an undisciplined and unregulated field. In music books, you commonly learn as much or more about the author as you do about the subject. And many music writers see using sources, statistics, and quantifiable facts as a weakness. Real music journalism is rare.”
Reign in Blood was made with the help of people who would become some of the biggest names in the business. Interview subjects include Rubin, engineer Andy Wallace (who would later mix Nirvana’s Nevermind and produce Jeff Buckley’s Grace), and Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons. Musicians from Tori Amos to Henry Rollins (Rollins Band, Black Flag) weigh in on the record. L.A. Ink star Kat Von D and visual artist Paul Romano discuss the record’s hallmark cover. Profiles of all the key players make the story accessible.
“Writing the book, I had two goals in mind,” explains Ferris. “First, I didn’t want to be the guy who screwed up a Slayer book. Second, I wanted present the story in a way that’s compelling to both rabid Slayer fans and to NPR listeners who love pop music, but have never lost a shoe in a mosh pit.”
David “D.X.” Ferris is the son of medievalist and Chaucer scholar Sumner J. Ferris, who observed acts of unattributed quotation and paraphrasing in John Gardner’s controversial 1977 book The Life and Times of Chaucer. He has two degrees from California University of Pennsylvania.
Ten Reasons to Read 33 1/3: Reign in Blood — ESPECIALLY If You Don’t Care About Heavy Metal
1) The first career-long profile of Andy Wallace, engineer of Reign in Blood, mixer of Nirvana’s Nevermind, and producer of Jeff Buckley’s Grace. And what he sees as their common thread.
2) How thrash band Megadeth directly inspired iconic rap group Public Enemy.
3) The first in-depth look at how the thrash heavyweights fit in with their labelmates at Def Jam, home to L.L. Cool J, Slick Rick, and the Beastie Boys.
4) Producer Rick Rubin’s thoughts on Reign in Blood‘s role in his growth from rap producer to Grammy-winner renowned for his work with Johnny Cash, Justin Timberlake, and others.
5) A look at how Dave Lombardo’s native Cuban culture still informs extreme metal’s most influential drummer.
6) An examination of thrash metal as a worthy and distinguished genre, with ongoing influences as far-reaching as punk as hip-hop.
7) Previously unpublished pictures by photographer Glen E. Friedman, who’s taken recognizable shots of Fugazi, Public Enemy, Dogtown/Z-Boys skaters — and Slayer’s South of Heaven photo.
8) A compelling, exhaustively sourced argument for Slayer as not just the greatest thrash or metal band, but as one of the greatest rock bands ever, period.
9) For the first time, songwriter-guitarist Jeff Hanneman talks about his original (and totally killer) idea for “Raining Blood,” one of metal’s most badass moments.
10) The first detailed account of visual artist Larry Carroll’s creation of the classic album cover.
For more information about 33 1/3: Reign in Blood, contact Claire L. Heitlinger, Publicist, Continuum Publishing:
cheitlinger (at) continuum-books.com
And visit MySpace.com/RIB333