Kerry King says that he was angry over the prospect of SLAYER calling it quits when the subject was first broached. Asked in a new interview with Metal Hammer magazine for his reaction when the conversation to end the band arose, the 58-year-old guitarist said: "Anger… what else? It was premature. The reason I say 'premature' is because my heroes from my childhood are still playing! I can still play, I still want to play, but that livelihood got taken away from me.
"But, anyway, on to the next chapter, I guess," he continued. "We were on top of the world, and there's nothing wrong with going out on top of the world, it's a good way to go out. So, bravo for that. But do I miss playing? Yeah, absolutely."
In the same interview, King also hinted that SLAYER fans will be happy with the musical direction of his yet-to-be-announced new band. "If you know my work, you know what it’s going to sound like."
Back in October 2021, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt, who spent almost nine years touring with SLAYER, told Metal Hammer that he agreed SLAYER retired too soon. "We were still playing at the top of our game, we were totally killing it," he said. "The band had a lot of years left in it, but I guess when it's time, it's time. When you decide to walk away from something, walk away. I can't tell anybody they made the wrong decision. Better to go out on top than go out unable to play your own songs, and this shit isn't easy. Playing 'Angel Of Death' at 70 years old would be fucking hard. But it was time for me to come back, let's put it that way. I was really missing my first family."
SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya talked about his possible retirement in a 2016 interview with Loudwire. He said: "At 35 years, it's time to collect my pension. [Laughs] This is a career move." He continued: "I'm grateful that we've been around for 35 years; that's a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you're young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we're at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn't able to do when [my kids] were growing up. Now they're both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that." Araya added: "Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time."
Tom also revealed another reason for his diminished enjoyment of the touring life. He said: "There's things that have gone on in my life that have made me change how I play as a bass player. I had neck surgery, so I can't headbang anymore. And that was a big part of what I enjoyed doing what I do — singing and headbanging. I liked knowing that I was one of the fucking badass headbangers. That played a big part. Now I just groove with the music, which is cool, because I'm grooving with the music and the feel of the songs, so that's changed a little for me."
Last July, Kerry told Metal Hammer that he "won't be dragging [his] feet much longer" when it comes to going back on the road with his post-SLAYER project.
Two years after he revealed that he had more than two records' worth of music written for his new band, King stated about the new material's direction: "You know me, so you know what it's going to sound like. I played this new song for a buddy, and I said to him, 'If there's anything I've written in the last few years that sounds like SLAYER, it's this.' And he said, 'That sounds like you could have pulled it off of any SLAYER record.' I actually made that riff up backstage at a SLAYER show. We were walking to the stage and I got my phone out and recorded it so I wouldn't forget it."
While King was reluctant to reveal the rest of the lineup of his new band, he confirmed the involvement of SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph.
King went on to say that he expects his new band to start out by playing "much smaller" venues than SLAYER did at the end of its four-decade run.
"Had it have been up to me then I'd have been out in 2020," he said. "But that thing called the pandemic fucked everything up for everyone. You know, I waited on that, because it had to run its course. I didn't want to be the guinea pig; I didn't want to learn how to tour again. I already did my dues; I don't want to have to prove myself again.
"Have I been dragging my feet? Yeah, because I wanted this [pandemic] shit to get sorted. I won't be dragging my feet much longer."
SLAYER played the final show of its farewell tour in November 2019 at the Forum in Los Angeles. One day later, Kerry's wife Ayesha King said that there is "not a chance in hell" that the thrash metal icons will reunite for more live appearances. In August 2020, she once again shot down the possibility of her husband and bassist/vocalist Tom Araya sharing the stage ever again under the SLAYER banner.
After Ayesha shared three photos of Kerry holding their cat in slideshow-type Instagram post, a fan wrote: "No Tom, No SLAYER Kerry. Stop thinking SLAYER without @tomarayaofficial". Ayesha then replied: "don't worry, they'll never be SLAYER again! You can rest easy".
That same month, Bostaph confirmed that he is involved in a brand new project headed up by Kerry. Paul told Australia's Riff Crew that the new band will "sound like SLAYER without it being SLAYER — but not intentionally so. I mean, Kerry's been writing songs in SLAYER his entire career, and he has a style," he explained. "And that style, as a songwriter, you just don't change your style because your band is done… So, all I can say is if you like heavy music and you like SLAYER, you'll like this."
Just a few days earlier, Kerry told Dean Guitars that he had plenty of musical ideas for his upcoming project. "I've been very, very lucky with riffs in 2020," he said. "Maybe because I can't go anywhere — I don't know — but riffs have certainly not been a problem. And looking forward into the future, what that means for me is I'm gonna be able to cherrypick the best stuff. And it's good stuff. I've got more than two records' worth of music, but to be able to go through that and cherrypick the best 11 or 12 [songs]… That first record should be smoking."
When SLAYER first announced that it was embarking on its final tour back in January 2018, Ayesha assured fans that they would "always get music" from her husband.
King has said in previous interviews that his post-SLAYER musical efforts would not be much different from the sound fans have grown accustomed to hearing from him.
"If someone quit, I'm not going to go around with a made-up SLAYER," he told AZCentral.com back in 2010. "But my next band would sound like SLAYER, that's all I know."
SLAYER's final world tour began on May 10, 2018 with the band's intention to play as many places as possible, to make it easy for the fans to see one last SLAYER show and say goodbye. By the time the 18-month trek wrapped at the Forum, the band had completed seven tour legs plus a series of one-off major summer festivals, performing more than 140 shows in 30 countries and 40 U.S. states.