SLAYER - Engulfed In Narcissistic Madness

August 12, 2010, 3 years ago

By Aaron Small

slayer feature

Earlier this summer, The Big Four (METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX) played seven shows together across Europe. On June 22nd, the Sonisphere Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria was broadcast in movie theatres around the world. At the end of the concert, all of the band members from Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax joined together on stage to jam out DIAMOND HEAD’s ‘Am I Evil?’- a song Metallica covered on their Kill ‘Em All album. Yet only one member of Slayer participated, drummer Dave Lombardo. Slayer guitarist Kerry King explains why he, along with vocalist/bassist Tom Araya and guitarist Jeff Hanneman were absent from this once in a lifetime event. “Well it’s not Tom’s gig and it’s certainly not Jeff’s style. The one that made sense is me, but my whole problem with that was – it wasn’t a problem it was timing. When I found out this was going to happen, it was 1am the night before. I woke up at 2pm the next day, did all kinds of press… (Dave) Mustaine (of Megadeth) came to me. (James) Hetfield (of Metallica) came to me and tried to talk me into it. I said listen man; I don’t want to be a detriment on stage. So James says, ‘well then we won’t plug you in.’ What’s the point in that? I said if I can get done and go to your tuning room when you’re warming up, I’ll come and learn it. I know it’s easy, but I haven’t listened to it in 25 years! So after our show, I had to edit our video that was going to those theatres because it was going to be on in London in two hours. I had to pick out which three songs weren’t going to be a part of it (due to time constraints). And the one I’m listening to, the DVD this guy gave me; the sound’s not in sync with the video, so it was just difficult. By the time I was done, Metallica was already on stage. I was up on stage, but I was behind Lars (Ulrich) in Lars world; I was watching the whole thing. I was five feet away from Dave. I couldn’t do it. I wanted to do it. I told them, any time you want to do that, give me some fucking notice (laughs).”
However, Kerry did manage to film a cameo appearance for the new WITCHERY video ‘Witchkrieg’, in which he rips out a blazing guitar solo. “I love that video. I’ve been friends with (guitarist) Jensen for ages. I’ve liked THE HAUNTED since the first record. I’m good friends with (bassist) Sharlee from Arch Enemy, who’s in Witchery also. But Jensen came to me and asked if I’d do it? He emailed me the song. We were recording our album (World Painted Blood) but I had time. So I got all me leads done and then at the end I did that one. I sent ‘em what I was happy with and that’s what they used.” Kerry shares his thoughts on new Witchery singer Legion, formerly of DEVIAN and MARDUK, who replaced original vocalist Toxine. “Since I saw the video, I like him better than I did just listening to it. The visual works for me. It gave me an idea of what’s going on. It’s not something I would choose if I was doing something, but I like him in that song.”
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, who Slayer are currently touring North America with, recently published his memoirs, a book Kerry isn’t interested in. “Not really. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of chaotic horseshit I don’t need to know about. Some people hang out their dirty laundry, I think it’s better left unsaid. It’s like (Metallica’s movie) Some Kind Of Monster – I won’t watch it. I don’t want to know that stuff. I like Metallica because they’re heroes and peers of mine. I don’t want to know all the fuckin’ bullshit. I’ve got bullshit in my band I don’t want to know about. I don’t want to know about somebody else’s.” So a Kerry King biography is not in the works? “I really, really doubt it. I’m up for almost anything but that’s just… I can see a Slayer one happening. Not my style man.” On August 17th, Slayer’s War At The Warfield and Still Reigning will be reissued on DVD, along with Live Intrusion, which was previously only available on VHS – all of which were out of print. The three titles will be sold separately at retail and online, however a limited edition 3-pack will be available exclusively at Slayer.net . King looks back at the three releases. “I like the ending of Still Reigning, I think that’s one of the coolest effects anybody’s ever done. War At The Warfield’s a good performance. The reason we did those two so close together (2004 and 2003 respectively) was because by the time War At The Warfield came out, Dave was back in the band. Of course it was (Paul) Bostaph’s moment in the spotlight, but once Dave was back in the band, people – and me as well – were saying, why the fuck isn’t Dave in it? We’ve got to get something out with Dave on it.”
During the Canadian and American Carnage dates with Megadeth and TESTAMENT, Slayer is performing their Seasons In The Abyss album in its entirety as 2010 marks the 20th anniversary of its release. Previously, the band performed Reign In Blood in its entirety. Kerry admits that he, “would rather do a little bit of everything, especially how it is now. When we did the Reign In Blood album, we were playing like an hour and a half, and Reign In Blood takes a half hour. So we could still play 12 other songs. But now we’ve got the Seasons album and five other songs. It’s really difficult when you’re playing a shorter set, co-headlining. It’s cool though. I’m hoping that we’re on a roll popularity wise enough that after this segment of touring is over, we can do all this places again and play the new album (World Painted Blood). I think that’d be cool; but headlining, so you’ve got 45 minutes of the new album and 45 minutes of other shit.” The song ‘Americon’ – which Kerry wrote – from the new album, contains the line, “It’s all about the motherfuckin’oil.” Given the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, oil is front and centre in the news. “That was fucking ridiculous! That just proves my point really. What I was trying to say in that song is, I get perspectives from all over the world ‘cause I travel a lot. Everybody’s perception of Americans is very different than Americans’ perception of Americans. So I was trying to write from the perspective of people outside America as to what they think it’s like to be American. I see the perspectives and I know what they are. Once people understand that’s where I’m coming from, it takes a whole different perspective.”
Currently there’s an unspoken fear among fans that this might very well be Slayer’s last tour. The Canadian and American Carnage shows were postponed twice due to Tom Araya – who will be 50 years old next year – requiring back surgery. Prior to that in 2006, Tom underwent gall bladder surgery. How much longer can he continue? “I couldn’t tell ya,” replies Kerry. He sounds good. I think if he becomes comfortable in his new skin (Tom’s since stopped headbanging on stage), that gives him a new lease on life to go longer than any of us because there’s no more physicality. It’s easy. But that’s something he’s going to have to come to terms with and decide if he likes it or not.” When asked if he’s ever considered life after Slayer and what that might hold, Kerry answers, “that holds a band starting the next day that musically, sounds just like Slayer. That’s all I know how to do man (chuckles). I’ve got no desire to do anything else.” Apparently a solo career is not in the cards, “I don’t need to do that.”
Last year’s World Painted Blood album fulfilled Slayer’s current contract with American Recordings. The question beckons, will the band resign? “That’s another thing people are speculating… the end of the contract, nice way to cut it. But I don’t see any reason not to sign back with American. One record company’s as good as another these days. They’re all going the way of the Dodo.” Somewhat surprisingly, Kerry doesn’t foresee a bidding war. “I don’t think so. Record companies… it’s just not where people get their music anymore. If they don’t figure out how to reinvent themselves really quick, we might be making our own record (snickers).” Slayer’s current tour itinerary ends October 21st, wrapping in Hollywood, CA. “I know we were supposed to pick up a few weeks after,” reveals Kerry. “But that might move into next year and something might replace it, or we might be off until probably the end of January.” The Slayer Pinball Rocks app for iPhone and iPad is definitely breaking new ground for the band. “To give you more insight into who we are, this fuckin’ thing’s already done and being shown to me before I ever even heard of it. I’m like, how could this even move forward without any of us knowing about it? ‘Oh, it was in an email somewhere.’ No it wasn’t (laughs). You guys just did it. I think it’s a really cool app, luckily. Otherwise somebody would have went through a lot of shit for nothing. I’ve got two pinball games in my house – Family Guy and South Park. This thing on the app looks like it would be an awesome full size game. I don’t think there’s enough people with that kind of money to make that happen, but I can always keep hoping.”
Twitter is something Slayer uses sporadically at most and Kerry does not have a personal account. “I never did Facebook, I’ve never done anything like that. I don’t think people need to know what I’m doing for dinner. You can find out anything you need to know about me on Slayer.net and in countless interviews on their websites. I think some things are private. If I’m wiping my ass and picking my nose, I don’t need to tell the world about it. I’ve been in situations where people that just live by this have ruined an evening. My wife will tell somebody, ‘let’s meet here,’ ‘cause she wanted to hang with that person. Then that person puts it on her (Twitter) account and people show up that we didn’t want to hang with.” Or the paparazzi get wind of it… “I don’t know how I’ve stayed away from that, but they don’t give a fuck about me (laughs). I was somewhere in Eastern Canada and TMZ was on, that’ll do, nothing’s on. The people they’re picking on, they’re nobody. Who cares about them? That makes me think, when are they going to start bugging me?”

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