Kerry King Talks New Slayer Album, Fans + More
Let's talk about the new Slayer album. Do you feel at all sentimental while recording a Slayer album without Jeff Hanneman?
I don't think that's the right word. I don't know what the right word is, but sentimental wasn't it. I mean it was odd for sure, the weirdest thing was not having my other song writer, not my other lyricist, because all three of us write lyrics, but me and him write all the music so that was weird, that was the weird part. I didn't have my other musical guy to bounce ideas off of.
You guys are playing festivals this month and headlining the Mayhem Festival this summer. Camaraderie or conquer? Which one is your attitude while playing a show?
Conquer, by all means. Do I have friends here? Absolutely. They don't stand a f---ing chance.
Bands that have gone on tour with Slayer say it's a scary thing to do. Your fans are unforgiving.
I suppose, yeah. I think more so now than the early days they are more acceptable to quality music, which is cool because I used to hate to watch friends just get pummeled. I remember on Clash of Titans, Alice in Chains were opening and they got destroyed by the fans and they were awesome. They are super awesome. I was out there almost every day and it would put me out to see gallon jars of s--t being thrown onstage and they manned up and dealt with it. That was their trial by fire.
You have to accept that this stuff will happen.
Well, I kinda of get it for that one because it was a thrash metal fest and they are hard rock at best but they are a great band, they put out good music. It was unfortunate, but they took it in stride, they were cool about it. We were talking about it last night. That's why it's fresh in my mind.
Slayer are almost a whole genre of music unto itself. What makes this band command such enormous respect?
I think that is a question for the fans, but I can try. Because if I say it, it sounds like I'm a jackass, you know? I mean the way I put it and I don't compare, I have made this comparison a million times. I don't think we are AC/DC, but I compare us to AC/DC because if you are an AC/DC fan you know what the record is going to sound like, you know you are going to like it, you know you are going to see them play, you know it's going to be awesome. I think Slayer has done that throughout our history and I think metal more than anything is a more camaraderie based fan band kind of thing and I try to make myself available if I'm out in public. It's always okay to come take a picture, shake my hand unless I got a mouthful of food or something. And I think that people get that this isn't how I dress backstage, this isn't how I dress if I go to f---ing Burger King. I get made up to be onstage in leather because I still think people should have heroes and I don't think my hero dresses like this, I think my hero is a different image so to speak, it's different than your everyday life.
What aspects of everyone's playing on this record make the new album quintessential Slayer?
It's awesome. It's so silly to say that because every musician since the dawn of time says their new record is awesome, but the record is really awesome. It's cool, I'm very proud. Tom [Araya] did a great job, [producer] Terry Date did a great job, Tom's vocals sound amazing, guitars sound amazing. The drums sound amazing. I think it took a long time. We are six years deep in the World Painted Blood, but I mean I hate to throw adversity around but we had some adverse f---ng years before we got together, we got one of Jeff's songs on it. I don't know what to say, it's heavy. It's fast, it's spooky and it's awesome.
Will you be playing the new songs on the Mayhem Fest this summer?
I'm pretty sure we will be doing stuff that you might have heard. I'm not sure if we'll be doing "When the Stillness Comes," because it really matters if I can fit that into the set to where it's not taking away from something that should be playing. I would imagine we would be playing "Implode" because that came out a year or two ago whenever that was. I would really like to start with the opener but if we don't leak the opener to where people can hear it, it doesn't make sense.
Right then, because the live version will get out there?
Not even that, I don't care, its just people don't know it and they don't know how to react. They don't know if they should be having a good time or listening.
That happened when we saw you guys play at the Golden Gods. You played a new song “Implode” and I don't know if Tom said if it was new. You just played it. That was cool thing because it was the first time we were getting to hear a new song live.
Yeah and it wasn't like a Slayer show to where, even though they probably have more of a fun time doing that, it's just weird when you play stuff kids don't know at a Slayer show, but in that environment I thought it was cool because it's getting video airplay and got live stream somewhere. I don't pay much attention to that stuff, you know we got it to f---ing ton of people.
Many thanks to Kerry King for the interview. Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.
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