Unrated Magazine conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King at the July 12 stop of this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in Tinley Park, Illinois. You can now watch the chat below.
On what it was like writing SLAYER‘s new album, “Repentless”, without the contributions of the band’s late guitarist Jeff Hanneman:
Kerry: “I worked on for the better part of four years, and I think that made it better, because I had a lot of time, you know, to go out on however long a tour [would be] — be it a week, be it six weeks — and come back and live with it, which is a luxury we don’t usually have. So I think that probably made the end result that much better. [We just did several days of press in Europe] and people were frothing at the mouth for it, so I think we did something good.”
On SLAYER winning a couple of Grammy Awards:
Kerry: “To be honest? I think it’s one of the most retarded things ever, because no one involved with the Grammys has any idea, anything about metal, let alone hard rock. I mean, the first time a Grammy was awarded to a metal band was JETHRO TULL. Are you serious? Last year? TENACIOUS D. They’re a fucking joke band. That’s what I’ve gotta say, first and foremost. When we won ours, I think it was probably cool for my parents, you know, ’cause they understand what a Grammy is. They don’t understand the bullshit involved with it, but to be able to come home with that big-ass heavy award and show it to my parents, that was important to me.”
On how metal has changed in the more than thirty years since SLAYER‘s inception:
Kerry: “For us, not at all. I think we’re the same band we were that put out ‘Show No Mercy’ in ’83. Older and wiser, and hopefully my lyrics are more intellectually sound than they were when I was nineteen. But, you know, it had a big wave up until the early ’90s, and then pretty much grunge came and killed every kind of music on the planet. And you just had to wait around for the next surge of people wanting metal, which, for me, started happening around 2000, 2001. ‘God Hates Us All’ came out, and SLAYER was re-energized, and it just seemed like it took off again. But, I mean, for us, it was the same all the way through. I refer to it as that weird phase of the ’90s; we had to get over that.”
On this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which SLAYER is headlining:
Kerry: “California was big, of course. I know here in Chicago it’s gonna be big. Detroit was big. But, I mean, it’s not a typical Mayhem when it’s just jam-packed with people, because they tried to keep the festival going. And Gary Holt [SLAYER guitarist] said it best. He said, ‘We don’t have a second or third stage. We have a fourth stage that’s acting as the number two stage.’ And the quality of what they put out just isn’t there. We did a show at the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee last year — it was us, SUICIDAL [TENDENCIES] and EXODUS — and it was sold out. We had Mayhem there four days ago, and it wasn’t sold out. That tells you something.”
On the relatively low cost of the tickets for this year’s Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival:
Kerry: “Nah [tickets are not that expensive], but they’re expensive on this tour for bang for your buck. Because a bang for your buck… other than one band I know of on the second stage and a handful of main-stagers, you know, it’s… This is usually where people would come out and just party all day, and they’re passing on the party ’cause the bill’s so shitty.”
On what the perfect mix of bands would be for a Mayhem Festival:
Kerry: “We’ve been on great ones. In ’09, it was SLAYER and [MARILYN] MANSON; that’s a good thing. SLAYER and SLIPKNOT in 2012. Us and KING DIAMOND, it’s great and everything, but I’m not sure KING‘s a headliner to where, like… What was it a couple of years ago? AVENGED SEVENFOLD and KORN. Those are two legitimate headliners. That’s people coming out and saying, ‘I get it.’ And their second stage had a legitimate headliner, like ANTHRAX or MACHINE HEAD — somebody awesome. And now, like Gary said, our second stage is what used to be a fourth stage, and I think the kids are protesting by not buying tickets for it.”
“Repentless” will be released on September 11 via Nuclear Blast.