Recently, Metal Hammer published the entire interview they conducted with Slayer guitarist Kerry King. The musician, who’s slowly preparing to unveil his new yet-unnamed project, looked back on some of the biggest moments of his career, including the 2001 album “God Hates Us All.” When asked about the “how much flack” the band got for this record’s title, which coincidentally came out on September 11 that year, King replied:
“I mean, we’ve always taken flak for something! It was already bouncing off us like nothing. ‘God Hates Us All‘ – it’s a good title. If you have an argument about it then I’ll listen, but you’re gonna lose.
“At that time, it was an album that meant so much to so many people because of what happened the day the record came out [9/11]. It was kinda prophetic.”
When asked about where this “history of inciting outrage from people” originates, King responded:
“Probably early on, Mercyful Fate, Venom, those are two of my favorite bands. I like to stir the pot, and I just like to bring things up. I like to give people something to talk about, even if they’re outraged or don’t agree.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Kerry King also looked back on Slayer’s final tour and, particularly, the band’s final show. The last pair of shows took place on November 29 and 30 back in 2019 over at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
Asked what his recollections are of the final concert, King replied:
“Believe it or not, it was ‘I’m so glad I didn’t fuck up on that one!’ Ha ha! Your mind can wander on tour sometimes, and I always know when I’ve got a mistake coming up! Usually when I have that fuck-up coming up, I just do a pick slide and it restarts my brain. But I did pretty good that night.”
The “fucking up” part that King is talking about is likely his recollection of messing up the intro to “When the Stillness Comes” during a show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden just weeks before the final concert.
And during the two final shows, the band played the song but without the said clean intro. You can check out this incident in the embedded player below where King is playing his new Dean signature guitar.
Going back to the interview, King was also asked about Slayer fans and their notorious hardcore devotion to the band. Reminded of them being known as “some of the most obsessive ever,” he said:
“Absolutely. I wanted to be good, not as much for me, but for the people who paid to see me. It was in my blood to not fuck up, for the people who had spent their last $20 to see me. The least I could do was be on my game.”
As King also adds, he needed to adjust his professional approach and lifestyle choices, all in order to deliver his best with each live show. He continued:
“Early on, it was different. I’ve been a notorious drinker – ‘Kerry likes to party, Kerry is where the drinking is at after the show’ – and I am, but I gave up drinking before shows because I couldn’t do it to the people who were paying to see me. It’s a matter of pride, of self-control and of giving a shit.”
And when the interview told him that “you get something crazy back from them most of the time,” he replied:
“Every show! Ha ha! Of course, something happens that you never saw coming. The bonfires whenever we played LA were like clockwork. No matter how many times we saw them, we were never ready for it. It was a big blaze, very cool, very tribal.“
But, as he digs deeper into his memory, there also have been some wholesome moments, no matter how odd they might seem at first. King added:
“There have been some oddball things. The first time you see a kid come over the pit in a wheelchair… wow! To see the other kids and the security take such care of him, that was so cool. I burst out laughing, not at the kid, but the situation, ’cause you’re not expecting it. Every show, man. Every show.”
Although Slayer’s final tour was announced their final tour in early 2018, frontman Tom Araya spoke up about his difficulties being on the road and performing for years. In an interview from 2017, he said:
“I’m tired. This is our fourth show in, and we’ve got another 38 days. I like being home. I have my animals that I take care of. I’ve got a beautiful granddaughter now.”
“I’m able to experience what I didn’t experience with my kids because I wasn’t home so much – I’m watching her crawl. And now she’s not even crawling, she wants to stand up and walk.”
“She’s bypassing the crawling stage. She’s trying to walk! So I’m able to experience a lot of development stages I didn’t get to experience with my kids because I was always gone.
“I like doing this, I just hate to travel. Dude, I can’t be any more honest than that. The first two nights we had late shows, we call them ‘the deadliners.’”
“You’re the so-called headliner, but you play last. And it’s deadliner because, by the end of the night, everybody’s dead. Then it depends on the kind of concert you’re playing. The concert we initially started this tour with, the festival that we did, was like radio-type bands, and then us at the very end.”
“And at the very end, it’s just people… You know, we played last before, but these people were just kind of like slowly trickling away. So by the end of the night, there wasn’t really that many left. But we were still playing. It wasn’t like we were gonna play half-ass.”
“We did the whole show. We put a 100% in, and when I was done I thanked everybody that decided to stay. [Laughs] ‘For those of you who decided to stay with us, thank you very fucking much!’ [Laughs]”
“I have a tough time sleeping on the bus. So we get here, and the minute we get in I crash. I only sleep maybe 4 hours and then I wake up. I can’t sleep. It’s a road thing. And then I – see, now you’re getting into my private life – I wear CPAP when I sleep. I need that to sleep.”
“So if I can’t sleep well I don’t sleep long. So I only slept 3 or 4 hours, I woke up, so I’ve been up since 10. So I didn’t really sleep very long. I don’t sleep good on the bus period, and then when I got off to the hotel I just didn’t sleep very long.”
“That’s the part of the road that I’m not enjoying anymore. Because I can’t rest, I can’t get plenty of sleep. So now when I do this, and we’re on early which is great… You know, it’s a long drive.”
Photo: Jonas Rogowski (01-08-2014-Kerry King with Slayer at Wacken Open Air-JonasR 18)