The February 2014 issue of U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine features an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's next album — SLAYER's first following the passing of guitarist, and one of key songwriters, Jeff Hanneman.
"I've got assloads of songs!" King stated about SLAYER's next CD. "I mean, I'm more prepared than I've been before any record, working on this material for of three years. Me and Paul [Bostaph, drums] have demoed 11 songs. I'm sitting on 14 or 15 songs and I've got seven complete with lyrics already. I'm in great shape!"
Asked if he has found himself tempted to write the kind of songs that Jeff might have contributed to an album, Kerry said: "I think that would be shooting myself in the foot. I can't pretend to be Jeff. We both learned from each other in 30 years of writing together. As far as going out of my way to write something that Jeff might've done? I won't do that. If it happens to end up sounding that way, good for me!"
According to King, it's still undecided as to whether any of Hanneman's previously unused ideas will make it to the next SLAYER album. "There was a song we finished on the last record, but I know for a fact [Jeff] wanted to rewrite the lyrics on, so that one got to deconstruct and make better," he said.
"I've said, and I'll continue to say, that if we use any of Jeff's songs, I don't want it to come out just because Jeff wrote it. I want it to come out because it's awesome," he added. "We've just got to put out something that I think Jeff would be proud of."
Regarding what fans can expect from the new SLAYER material, King said: "I've got a surprising amount of heavy stuff for me. I do tend to lean on the fast side, but I have some exceptionally heavy tunes, Like, 'Wow, man, where did that come from?' I expect my stuff to be angry and fast, but it's all over the map. I'm stoked. We'll have enough so we can pick great stuff whether we use any of Jeff's material or not. It should add up to as good a record as we can hope for with one of our original songwriters being gone."
King also spoke about SLAYER's current touring lineup, which includes drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt (also of EXODUS).
"Not to toot my own horn, but we sound fucking great right now," he said. "It's a juggernaut. Paul's a machine. He always has been. Also he's been here before, so that made this transition as easy as it could be as well as for the fans because I think they always felt he was part of the band, even t hough he wasn't for many years."
Asked if he is looking forward to shutting people up with the new SLAYER album, King said: "Oh, yeah, but only because people expect us to fail.
"I'm very stoked about the stuff we're gonna be putting out," he added.
"In a perfect world, which is never what happens in SLAYER, me and Paul plan on continuing to play to keep our chops up, and if we can get everybody on board, I want to start in January and have a record out before the summer."
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King was the featured guest on "The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed!" podcast last week. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
"The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed!" is the explicit version of the podcast hosted by former WWE wrestling champion "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.
On SLAYER's early years:
King: "Me and [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff [Hanneman] would go hang out and see bands. We saw METALLICA at the Woodstock in Orange County, of all places, and we were blown away. We were already into MOTÖRHEAD and VENOM, and there was a lot of talk of the METALLICA guys. So we were, like, 'Let's go check this out.' And they were doing what we were doing the way we wanted to do it… We just weren't there yet. They were probably six to eight to twelve months ahead of us, just with shit-togetheredness. Even back then, I look at [then-METALLICA guitarist] Dave Mustaine, and to this day, I love him as a guitar player; he's one of my favorites. And then I saw him playing and it just blew me and Jeff away that he was just ripping solos and he wasn't even looking at what he was playing. And we were just like, 'Man, that's awesome.' And were just into it. Me and Jeff were six months apart in age. We were just like the same person."
On SLAYER's recent split with original drummer Dave Lombardo:
King: "When Dave was in [the band] this last time, I figured I'd be on the stage with him until one of us fell off the stage, dead. Things change. He got some bad advice and listened to some bad advice, gave us an ultimatum ten days before we went to Australia [to do the Soundwave festival tour]. And I said, 'I can't have this over my head.' And I feel bad for Dave to this day; I really feel bad for him because he shot himself in the foot. Maybe he thought he had the upper hand, but you ain't gonna get me…. Before I got home, I knew exactly what I was going to do for Australia."
On how SLAYER has managed to maintain its camaraderie within the band for more than 30 years:
King: "The only thing that we've done to separate each other purposely is when Tom [Araya, SLAYER bassist/vocalist] started coming out with his family, I don't know, maybe ten or so years ago. And I said, 'It's probably a good idea to get your own bus.' Because you never know what's gonna be going on on our bus. For the band, kids keeping you awake all night — if that's what would happen; kids stumbling in on something they really don't need to see, that's something. But that's the only thing. We fly together, we're still on the same bus. We take off on the same bus in a few days. [Editor's note: The interview was conducted a few days prior to the start of SLAYER's current North American tour.]
"What took me the longest time to figure out for myself personally was what not to say to people. You have your opinion, someone is pissing you off that day? You don't need to say it. Shut up, get on with your day, tomorrow's a new day and it's all gonna be fine. And, you know, there are so many bands that break up, and the individual doesn't usually have the talent of the whole.
"We're good at what we do, we've got a very strong brand, a very strong following and it would be stupid [for us to call it quits].
"The only reason I would leave SLAYER today is if Tom said he was done, 'cause then it's just me. Or if I was done and it was just Tom, I don't think Tom would wanna do it. It's now just the two of us."
"The Steve Austin Show - Unleashed!" podcast (audio):
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King was interviewed on the November 1-3 edition of Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below. A transcript of the question-and-answer session follows.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go toFullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: SLAYER, of course, has the North American headlining tour [coming up at the end of October], the band's first in two years. It runs through the end of November. You guys have been touring all summer [in Europe] with Paul [Bostaph, drums] and, of course,Gary Holt [guitar, also of EXODUS]. At what point over the last five months did you know that this lineup of the band was ready to go into the studio, or work on new music?
King: Well, realistically, as soon as Paul got with us, I started teaching him new stuff, because I've got probably thirteen, fourteen songs [written for the next record]. So when we didn't have any touring schedule that we had to learn stuff for, I was, like, "Well, let's take this time to get your and my chops up together to work on this new stuff so when the time comes, we'll already have 90 percent of the work under our belt."
Full Metal Jackie: Kerry, metal fans around the world were terribly saddened by the death ofJeff Hanneman. Will his style and what he brought to the band continue to influenceSLAYER's legacy even after he's gone?
King: I think so, because, I mean, when you play guitar opposite somebody — Jeff with myself or myself with Jeff — I think our styles infused a bit. I think in some of the things I write, I think people are gonna say, "Wow, that sounds like Jeff would have wrote it," and stuff he would have wrote, had he written anymore, people would have said, "Man, that sounds like something Kerry wrote." But, you know, we've been together so long that we kind of infused ourselves into each other. So I think it's going to be business as usual going forward, [but] just one member less, which sucks for everybody.
Full Metal Jackie: This is the first full-blown SLAYER headline tour in quite a few years. What are you looking forward to the most about it?
King: Yeah, this is the first one in at least six or seven years. Every time we've come through the States, it's either been on [Rockstar Energy Drink] Mayhem [Festival] or on SLAYER / [MARILYN] MANSON tours or SLAYER / MEGADETH tours, so we might have maxed out [with our time on stage] at an hour and five [minutes], an hour and ten [minutes], but on this one, we get to play an hour and thirty [minutes], an hour and thirty-five [minutes], which we haven't been able to do in the States in a very long time. I enjoy doing full headline sets, because if you're the actual last person playing, most people spent their money to come seeyou. So I wanna be able to give them something they're gona remember for the first time in quite a while.
Full Metal Jackie: What can we expect from the setlist from the rest of the tour? Will you be debuting any new music prior to releasing it?
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King spoke to Canada's Metro about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's 12th studio album — the group's first since guitarist and founding member Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure on May 2.
"To me, it will be business as usual as it can be," King said.
"Usually by the time any idea was presented, I'd have finished it or Jeff would have it finished, so they were essentially finished songs. We'll just move forward like that.
"Musically, I'm sitting on roughly 14 tunes that we can pick from and I've finished seven of those lyrically. I'm way ahead of the game compared to where I was for 'World Painted Blood' [the band's 2009 album]."
Asked if SLAYER's current touring guitarist Gary Holt — who is also the lead axeman in San Francisco Bay Area's EXODUS — will play on the new SLAYER album, Kerry said: "I've told Gary that I'd like him to play some leads, just to keep it interesting.
"We've always been a two-guitar attack, so if you're looking to have a segment like the 'Angel Of Death' lead trade-off, you can't do that with one guitar.
"As far as Gary being a contributing writer, number one, fans aren't ready for it, and number two, that's like throwing somebody to the wolves.
"I think if there's another record after this one and Gary is still with us at that point, I think that will be a time where I say, ‘Hey dude, feel free to throw any riffs my way if you're interested'."
Regarding how the new SLAYER material is shaping up and whether fans can expect any surprises on the next album, Kerry said: "Fans don't want you to change.
"How many fans do you think METALLICA pissed off when they did 'Load' and 'Reload'?
"People like SLAYER because it's SLAYER.
"You grow as a musician within your genre, not try and flip genres and become something else."
In a recent interview with LA Weekly, King commented on the possibility of SLAYER's next album featuring previously unused material that was written by Hanneman prior to his death.
"There's been musicians historically that passed on and had a lot of stuff put out that was unreleased during their lives," he said. "But most of it was unreleased for a reason. I don't want the last thing for people to hear from Jeff be mediocre."
For his part, SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya has expressed more optimism about the prospect of the band's next effort containing some of Jeff's final ideas.
"I would want to do that," Tom told Steppin' Out magazine about revisiting Hanneman's material.
"When we did 'World Painted Blood', there was a Jeff composition that didn't make it on the album. We were working on trying to put that song together lyrically, but it wasn't happening, so it got shelved. But it's a great song, it's complete. We've just got to finish it lyrically. He also put a song together about a month before he passed away that I thought sounded great. His guitar abilities weren't all there, but you could hear what he was trying to do. He gave me an idea of where he wanted the verses and how he was phrasing the song."
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King is part owner of the Coldcock American Herbal Flavored Whiskey, the brand new adult beverage created for the hard-working, bad-ass American by hard-working, bad-ass Americans. Coldcock was co-founded by John Reese (co-creator of the Rockstar Energy Mayhem and Uproar festivals), and Michael Arfin (AGI). On top of that, Coldcock is touted by artists and tastemakers like David Draiman (DISTURBED),Ashley Purdy (BLACK VEIL BRIDES), Miles Doughty (SLIGHTLY STOOPID), Raul Bianchi(THE EXPENDABLES) and more. These great people are helping to bring this brand new drink to you, but not without the help of more of your favorite up-and-coming bands, too.
Growing hard rock/metal artists such as SEVENDUST, EYES SET TO KILL, ANGELS FALL plus DJs like Datsik, Mike Czech of Skratch 'n Sniff, Shannon Gunz of SiriusXM, world-famous tattoo artists such as Paul Booth, Steve Soto, famed street artist Risk and more are supporting Coldcock on the road and at home, not only because of its fantastic taste and herbal benefits, but because it gives back to them! Coldcock is all about working hard together and sharing success, and its vision to share that success with artists is already taking off.
Zeiler Spirits supports hard-working artists by giving them the opportunity to earn ownership in the brand.
Want to learn more and/or get your band in on the action? Bands can submit their information to ColdcockWhiskey.com under "sponsorship" or email firstname.lastname@example.org with inquiries.
Pictured above: Kerry King and his wife Ayesha enjoying some Coldcock.
"Having the ability to utilize our experience in the spirits industry to create the most unique and best-tasting whiskey ever and marrying it with our contacts in the entertainment world to offer a chance for bands to reap the benefits of their hard work, is a dream come true," said Rick Zeiler, founder of Coldcock. "An opportunity like this only comes along once in a lifetime and we are taking our shot at building something successful for all involved."
Coldcock American Herbal Flavored Whiskey is a three-year aged American bourbon blended with a variety of meaningful and detoxifying herbs, including green tea, hibiscus, ginger, eucalyptus, cinnamon and gingko. In addition to those natural ingredients, Coldcockcontains roughly half the amount of sugar of its competitors.
Coldcock is currently available for purchase in California, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina, with more states joining the ranks throughout the year. As of now, Coldcock is available at the Roxy and the Rainbow on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles, and is set to appear in more Los Angeles-area bars soon.
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King will make a special appearance at this year's Alberta Bound Tattoo & Arts Festival in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. King will be on hand for autographs and photo ops on Sunday, October 20 at The Stampede BMO Centre from 1 p.m to 5 p.m.
Organizer Steve Peace says this is the debut of a new attraction at the show which will bring true metal icons to the last day of every Alberta Bound Tattoo & Arts Festival.
For more information, go to this location.
Video footage of SLAYER guitarist Kerry King checking out the Marshall Fridge can be seen below.
Designed to look like a classic Marshall amp half stack, the Marshall Fridge holds 4.4 cubic feet of beer, according to CNET. A freezer incorporated on the top shelf is perfect for chilling down the hard stuff.
In addition to the power and standby switches, control knobs are included on the facing — and yes, they do go to 11.
The Marshall Fridge was made available last October, retailing at a price of $299.
The surviving members of California thrash titans SLAYER have opened up to Guitar World magazine about the passing of the band's founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died on May 2 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver, a result of a lifetime of drinking.
"Jeff was always a drinker," former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo tells the publication for its August 2013 issue. "He always had a Coors Light tall can in his hand. Always."
"Jeff and I always drank," SLAYER guitarist Kerry King adds. "They called Steven Tyler and Joe Perry the Toxic Twins. We were the Drunk Brothers." He laughs. "The difference being that I don't wake up in the morning and need a beer. Jeff didn't know how not to drink."
California thrash metal veterans SLAYER were honored with the "Kerrang! Legend Award" at this year's Kerrang! Awards, which was held last night (Thursday, June 13) at London, England's Troxy Club. The award was accepted by SLAYER guitarist Kerry King, who gave a short speech, saying: "Before SLAYER, I would go to the mom-and-pop stores — that's what we had back then; we didn't have the Internet — and I got one of the, probably first five Kerrang!s ever, and I still have it today."
He continued: "In a day of dying magazines, Kerrang! still exists. I've got all those ones from way back when, I've got all the ones SLAYER was in. And that's pretty cool; you can't really say that anymore.
"But anyway, thanks to Kerrang! again.
"SLAYER is alive and strong, and we will see you on the road."
Video highlights from last night's event, including Kerry's speech, can be seen below.