Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Slayer: An Interview with Kerry King.

The ‘World Painted Blood’ era officially begins in the US after several setbacks. The European shows you’ve done have also included some definite career highlights as well.  How’s it feel to have the ball finally rolling on the “new” album here at home? Bring us up to date on Slayer.

Kerry King: (laughs) Yeah we’re finally out and we’re playing the ‘Seasons in the Abyss’ album and only two new songs (laughs)! We’re only playing an hour and ten, us and Megadeth both. So it doesn’t leave you much time to hit the other twenty-six or whatever it’s been years of your career! We come out with two new ones, go into ‘Seasons…’ then four others and we’re out. We jam sixteen songs into an hour and ten…

And there are some long songs on ‘Seasons…’ too, that’s some bang for your buck time-wise, huh?

It’s pretty unheard of…

That’s what I’m saying, it’s not like it’s a ‘Reign In Blood II’ coming in at 28 minutes.

We jam and Tom only talks like, once throughout the set. 

Is that pre-determined? I mean if he wanted to Tom could go out there and hold court for an hour and ten.

No doubt he could. But no, my philosophy on that over the years is anybody can go out there and say “Hi, how ya doing?” fifteen times, but in the end don’t you really just want to see the music anyway? I try to put more songs in, especially shows like this where there’s a strict curfew so we have to be done at a certain time.

In doing the entire album live, is there ever a time where some of the truly “deep cuts” aren’t so well received? A song like “Temptation” springs to mind.

People are stoked to see these songs, they’re going over really well nobody’s ever really seen some of the songs…“Temptation.” There’s some great riffs in that song and I’ve always thought about putting it in the set, but I didn’t want to tackle the vocal thing with an answer track.

Is that what you’re doing?

Tom’s singing the second of the tracks, the stronger one. If kids want to sing the first one, they can. This is the way the song was originally written; the way it was on the record was an accident. 

No shit, it’s always been one of my favorite songs off the album. 

I love it, but it just became an issue of pulling it off live.

How was your European run? I know you did a few months there. Sonisphere and the Big 4 was obviously a huge thing.

We did Sonisphere and the Big 4 Sonisphere, we did Iron Maiden. It was a lot of fun, we were out there a little too long, I mean it was fun but the traveling gets to you. But yeah I had way more fun on those Big 4 shows that I ever thought I would. 

Oh yeah?

Yeah, I did. I got to be pretty close with Lars where I’ll text him now to bust his balls (laughing)! So yeah it’s been fun. Hopefully we get to do it in the States; hopefully we get to do it in more western European countries. I think everybody’s on the same page of wanting to do it, it’s just the logistics of getting four bands who are headliners on their own, and just to get that all together is tough.

Timing is everything and did you realize next year, 2011, is the 25th anniversary year of ‘Reign/Master and Peace?’ Is that something that…

I don’t ever want to do fucking ‘Reign In Blood’ again (laughing hard!!)

No, no I’m just saying from a marketing standpoint. People, including myself love these fucking anniversaries! Look, Judas Priest went and celebrated ‘British Steel’s birthday a year early! They couldn’t wait! 

Yeah, I know. This ['Seasons...'] anniversary or whatever wasn’t supposed to be our set until we postponed twice. Promoters are notorious for getting cold feet with rescheduled tours and they actually asked us if we’d consider doing a “historic album.” I was pretty against it the whole time, although I did want to do ‘Seasons…’ in it’s entirety at some point [in the future].

Did the fact that Megadeth are doing their 1990 release and this whole thing has a very ‘Clash of the Titans’ feel to it? 

I wasn’t into it at all and then I thought about it for a bit. Yeah I knew Megadeth had been doing ‘Rust In Peace’ on their run earlier this year. So I started looking at the ‘Seasons…’ record as a chunk of time from 1990. Both records were released in 1990 and yeah the Clash of the Titans feel is totally there. 

What’s next for Slayer? I know you begin the second leg of ‘The American Carnage’ Tour with Anthrax and how do you end the year? 

We were supposed to go back to Europe after the Anthrax run but I believe that’s been pushed back to next year [2011]. I mean we were just there over the Summer and spent a lot of time there. So instead of Europe we’ll hit South America and Mexico late this year and get those markets out of the way. So maybe the first thing we’ll do, after the Super Bowl; because I won’t be in Europe for the playoffs…I’ll quit (laughing)! I mean I just won’t do it (laughing)! 

But we’ll be doing Australia festivals, there are five festival shows and we’re also going to India for the first time at the end of February. So finally after all that we’ll do the Europe thing, if they’re looking for us.

Media-wise you recently re-issued your three DVD’s. What are your feelings on Metal Media these days? There’s the Iron Maiden movie, the Anvil movie, some really killer documentaries have come out, books. They really seem to be thriving in an era when music is on the decline. 

Two of the DVD’s that came out are the exact same thing that was out before so I really don’t see the reason for that other than maybe Sony wanting to put them out because they didn’t put them out the first time? ‘Live Intrusion?’ I get it! It should have been on DVD long ago, a long time ago, maybe like 10 years ago! It’s a good show, I gotta go back and watch it. 

I know you need to head out, but is there anything you’d like to say to Chicago to close this out? 

I’m looking forward to tonight. Chicago is always great; it’s usually at the Aragon so it’s always brutal as fuck, so I’m expecting it to be brutal as fuck here. Last night in Detroit I was a little beat, it was a really good show but I was just out of gas. Maybe it was one of those days where you could have used a few extra hours of sleep or something! But I’ve got some fire today, I’m looking forward to it. 

Speaking of the Aragon and Chicago, can you believe it’s close to the 20th anniversary (here’s those anniversaries dammit!) of the infamous Trouble booing in Chicago. What do you remember about that night?

That was awesome! I tell that story a lot actually. It was horrible for them because they were really cool guys, the drummer at the time…

Yeah, he should have never fucking done that. We were backstage with our jaws on the ground, like “dude, you have no idea what you just did.” But from what I remember they started playing and the fans were just chanting SLAYER louder than the PA and you don’t piss off Slayer fans…and you really don’t piss off Chicago Slayer fans. 

Do you ever miss the old days of that? I mean the fans are still rabid, but make no mistake you know there’s a difference between then and now. But do you ever miss that display of just total disrespect (laughs) to other bands? I mean a Slayer support slot was coveted yet feared! 

There’s something to be said for that. There’s something to be said in as much as we didn’t ask for that, it was just given to us. It was awesome yeah and the Trouble one is a memory I won’t ever forget. It’s cool though when you’re able to take a band out that you, yourself think is pretty decent and they survive! Machine Head was one of the first bands that did, they were on a great record and yeah they were able to do it and they were good. They didn’t taunt the fans (laughs)! 

Thanks to Julie Arkenstone/HerfitzPR for all her help!