Slayer interview: Kerry on retirement
Midwest Metal has just posted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King that was conducted last summer during the band’s tour with MARILYN MANSON. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
Midwest Metal: When you look at your and SLAYER’s career, do you look at it as one big chunk or are you good are breaking down the years or eras?
Kerry: Well let’s say I’m signing an autograph and someone has an old picture of me. I can look at it and kind of reminisce when it was taken, I can tell depending on what guitar I was playing or the shirt I was wearing. But other than that it’s basically been one lump of shit (laughs)!!
Midwest Metal: A lot of your interviews are based on longevity, especially the current rounds. Do you ever think about the end?
Kerry: Yeah, absolutely. We’re a lot closer to it now than we were twenty years ago.
Midwest Metal: OK so what does a Kerry King do when it’s over? Do you move into producing music? Do you use your twenty plus years of knowledge as a manager/mentor type?
Kerry: I have a lot of friends in the business so I could essentially do something like that. But I would imagine when SLAYER hangs it up I’m just going, well if a friend asks me to co-produce a record I may consider it, but I wouldn’t be involved musically. So seeing as this is all years away I could also easily change my mind about it too, so we’ll see.
Midwest Metal: Is Dime’s passing something that still freaks you out? Not just the passing of the individual but always in the way it happened.
Kerry: Not really. Even when I heard it happened I figured it was some dude with a vendetta against him, not like it was open season on metal guitarists. Obviously everyone stepped it up as far as security immediately after, but since then it’s not like it got lax, it’s just remained a higher standard.
Midwest Metal: Did you go through a “What the fuck? What the fuck am I doing out here? Is it all worth it” type of thoughts?
Kerry: The thing that stuck out in my mind that day was he was the nicest dude on the planet, you know? So to where I have enemies, he probably had none…I’ve pissed people off in my career (laughs), I don’t think he pissed anyone off and look what happened.
Midwest Metal: You used the word “enemies” a minute ago and recently you buried the hatchet with Robb Flynn from MACHINE HEAD. Was this something that you looked at like “fuck, you know we’re not promised tomorrow, let bygones be bygones” type of thing? Just move forward?
Kerry: Nah, that’s not my style, I mean if I have a problem with you, I have a problem with you. With that one, when that whole thing went down I essentially blackballed him and his band for, like ten years. And one day it was like enough is enough you guys are making killer records and if I ever want to have a tour with them I want to be able to talk with them (laughs). That new record ["The Blackening"] is kick-ass.
Midwest Metal: Do you hear the criticisms from the people who bitch and moan about a SLAYER setlist?
Kerry: I don’t pay one bit of attention to anything like that, no. We’re playing stuff that I’ve heard so many people wanting us to play that we haven’t. We’re playing one song that we haven’t played in seventeen years since Dave [Lombardo] left. There’s another song that we haven’t played since Dave got back so we’re hitting some fun tunes for sure.
Midwest Metal: Do you run into a song that you absolutely have to have in the set yet are getting resistance from the other three guys? Maybe it happens for each of you?
Kerry: That’s more of a me and Jeff thing…because if he’s got one that I know he hates and I’m into, I’ll run it by him. So if he’s still down on it I’ll usually just say “whatever” you know? But I’ll usually try to get him to rehearse it because it may have a totally different vibe that what he remembers or vice versa. I’m the same way though, I have songs that I’ll straight out tell him “I hate that fucking song” or maybe it’s just boring to play live, something like that.
Midwest Metal: What about the record sales, I mean if a SLAYER record comes out and doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, then bam..does your credibility take a hit.
Kerry: I know what you mean, but it’s already happened. Record sales these days are shit, people download them and give them to friends and that’s just how it is, there’s nothing I can do about it no matter how much I talk about it. The only way to gauge things these days is to tour and if there’s 8-10,000 people there and everyone knows all your stuff, we’ll I guess something is working.