Slayer’s Kerry King: I Always Looked Up to Gary Holt, He’s the Glenn Tipton of Our Era
The thrash community is notoriously close-knit, with respect and brotherhood permeating throughout the scene. That goes for the genre's most beloved musicians, too, as Slayer shredder Kerry King documents during an interview with Asbury Park Press where the guitarist praises Gary Holt.
Exodus' Gary Holt is a monstrous guitarist. Just seeing the man crush his strings live will knock you on your ass, and Kerry King knows this first-hand, having come up in the ranks with Exodus long before Gary Holt filled Jeff Hanneman's vacant position in Slayer both before and after his 2013 passing.
"I always looked up to Gary when he was playing in Exodus," King begins. "I'd always refer to him as the Glenn Tipton [Judas Priest] of our era, as far as guitar playing goes, because when people reference guitar players, very rarely does anybody reference Glenn Tipton, and, as far as metal goes, he's a giant. Of course, people talk about Tony Iommi, but for Glenn Tipton not to be in that same conversation is just a tragedy to me. I kind of felt that's how Gary Holt was when he was playing in Exodus. He was kind of overlooked. So when we had the opportunity to see if he wanted to play with us, [he was] by far my first choice, and, luckily, he was into it."
Slayer's 2015 album, Repentless, will not feature any parts written by Holt, despite Kerry King's blatant respect for his thrash comrade, but it will include some lead guitar played by Holt. "You know, I thought a very long time about how I wanted to incorporate him on this record, from the fans' perspective, and hopefully Gary's perspective, from my perspective," King says. "And I thought that after 30 years, I didn't think fans might be ready for somebody to be contributing on a Slayer record that wasn't there all the time. But I also, in that same thought, felt that we should have Gary playing something that he contributed, so that when he's playing like it's not just doing a bunch of covers. So that's how I came to the decision of seeing if he wanted to play some leads. And, yeah, for a two-guitar attack, you've got to have two guitars. As far as going forward, I'm open to whichever way we go, but I haven't had that conversation with Tom [Araya, bass/vocals] or Gary."
Perhaps we'll hear some Gary Holt originals on Slayer's follow-up to Repentless, but for now, fans can get excited for the Sept. 11 release of Slayer's 11th full-length.
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