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No, Tom Araya did not pee into Cronos' mouth when Slayer and Venom toured together

Tom Araya and Cronos
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images, Leslie McGhie/WireImage)

Pitching pioneering, Satan-hailing, NWOBHM Geordie hellraisers Venom alongside Californian thrash upstarts Slayer and Exodus, 1985's Ultimate Revenge Tour (aka the Combat Tour) has passed into heavy metal history: indeed, in 2017, US metal mag Decibel placed it at number one on a list of the Top 100 Metal Tours of All Time. 

Part of the March/April '85 tour's infamy stems from possibly apocryphal tales of debauched behaviour involving the three bands, the most notorious of which centres around an alleged violation of tour bus etiquette from Slayer frontman Tom Araya wherein he is accused of pissing in Venom frontman Cronos' mouth during a particularly drunken post-show party. It's an anecdote which speaks to the feral, out-of-control, violent energy of the early thrash scene, or rather it would do, if Cronos himself hadn't shot the story down.

“That story has been twisted so many ways,” Cronos said with a sigh when asked to verify the story. “I’ve heard, ‘Tom Araya stuck his dick in the guitarist’s mouth’ and ‘Tom Araya tried to fuck the bus driver’s ear’…

"Here’s the truth," he says. "A gig got cancelled, so we let Slayer stay on our bus as they had nowhere to sleep. Then Tom got really drunk and pissed himself. I got annoyed, so I fucking headbutted him and knocked the guy out.

"The next morning he came in with a black eye and was all apologetic, like, ‘Sorry, I was out of order.’ I said, Not a problem, man. It’s metal!”

Sorry if this revelation has spoiled anyone's day. By way of an apology, here's a nice reminder of the mayhem which ensued when the tour took over New York disco mecca Studio 54, for one night only.

Paul Brannigan
Paul Brannigan

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.