KERRY KING: 'Never In A Million Years Did I Wanna' Call My New Band KERRY KING

June 7, 2024

In a new interview with Sweden Rock, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King was asked what it feels like to be touring with his new eponymously named solo band. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "A little fish out of water, like. We're still feeling it out. I mean, I was in the same band for 40 years of my life, roughly, so other than Paul [Bostaph, SLAYER and KERRY KING drummer] being there, it's new being around the other guys. I don't mean it to sound weird, but just getting our feet wet, figuring out what to do with each other. I've never been on stage with four people in the front; there's only been three. So, it's logistical — knowing when to go to stage right, knowing when those guys come to stage left. And it's only, like, our sixth show [at the Sweden Rock Festival on June 6], so we're still figuring it out."

Asked about the decision to call his new band KERRY KING, the guitarist said: "I hate it. [Laughs] Every time I came up with [a possible band name], it would get all the way to the trademark attorneys and they would say, 'You don't wanna do this.' And I'd be, like, 'Why? Can't we buy it?' If it's just a little tiny company or something. And a couple of times it just had too many uses. And I said, 'Well…' It came time to announce those American festivals, and we had to go with something, so we went with my name. Never in a million years did I wanna do that. But here we are."

Pressed to reveal some of the other names that were initially considered for his new project, Kerry said: "Um, the earliest one — the Internet was right — the earliest one was BLOOD REIGN. The next one was KING'S REIGN, which I would have been okay with. And the band loved it. "Cause I kept trying to say, 'I don't wanna use my name. I don't wanna use my name,' 'cause I'm not a vain dude; I'm not like that. And that one got blown out of the water too."

He added: "It's extremely difficult to come up with a good name these days. I'm still trying. [Laughs]"

KERRY KING kicked off the European leg of the "From Hell I Rise" tour on June 3 at Poppodium 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands.

The setlist for the shows includes SLAYER tracks as well as several of the 13 songs that appear on King's debut solo album, "From Hell I Rise", which came out on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music.

All material for "From Hell I Rise" was written by the 60-year-old SLAYER guitarist, who was accompanied during the recording sessions by the rest of his solo band, consisting of Bostaph, bassist Kyle Sanders (HELLYEAH),guitarist Phil Demmel (formerly of MACHINE HEAD) and vocalist Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL). Helming the sessions at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles last year was producer Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with KORN, LAMB OF GOD, AVENGED SEVENFOLD and BAD RELIGION, among others.

In an interview with France's Loud TV, Kerry said about the prospect of launching a new band: "It is a lot more difficult than I thought. I've been kind of pampered for the last at least three decades. And starting over, even though I have a gigantic history in SLAYER, starting over, you're still starting over — you're lower on the bills, you're not making the [same kind of] money. Having to figure out how to make sure everybody in my band makes money so it's worth their time. But, yeah, never for a second did I consider not going on, because at this point in life, any record could be your last. I don't think this is my last record, but I have to move on like it is. So put it out, hope the fans like it, hope the fans show up. I like it. I think the fans are gonna like it, and I think we're gonna have a lot of good times."

Asked if the lineup for his solo band is made up of "friends", Kerry said: "Absolutely. The thing that meant the most to me about moving forward in this project was getting my friends. I could get anybody in the biz — I can get people I don't know, people I've never met, but I have enough friends in this business to know that I could put a band together of outstanding musicians that are friends that, after the show, we can get on the bus and have a drink and just have fun. No drama. Nothing weird is gonna happen that we don't foresee. I look forward to getting out on the road with these guys and having a good time."

Pressed about which member of his solo band was "the most surprised" when Kerry called him to offer him a spot in the group, Kerry said: "I think the most surprising moment was when I finally gave Mark the gig. Mark put his name in the hat very early, and he's the only one that did demos with me and Paul. We had him come down every six weeks or so, and he would just come down and sing the songs he'd already sang and just every time he'd come down, make 'em better. But I didn't tell him until, like, 14 months ago that he got the gig. And I was super nonchalant about it. He was at my place in [Las] Vegas, and I said, 'Dude, if you still want the gig, I guess you can have it.' And he was super excited, super excited, like almost fan excited. He was so excited, he texted his mom and texted me by accident. [Laughs] And I said, 'I love you too, man. It's cool. It's cool.' So we went in and recorded, like, two months after that."

When the interviewer remarked that Mark sounds like he is really pushing himself vocally on "From Hell I Rise", Kerry said: "Like I said, we did demos, and we always made the demos better. And then we got to the studio in Hollywood, and I was in another room doing something, and he sang 'Residue'. And the producer got me and says, 'Hey, I want you to hear where the song is.' And I went, 'Okay, cool,' expecting to hear what I was used to hearing. And I hear the first verse and I'm going, 'How did you guys get to this register?' It's, like, I'd never heard that before. He was, like, 'Well, that's where he started singing and felt comfortable.' So I went to Mark immediately and I said, 'Hey, dude, you can recreate this, right?' It's, like, 'You're not setting yourself up to fail the first show and blow your voice out and be canceling shows all over the place.' And he assured me he can do it. So, he carried on and went on and did even crazier performances on the later songs that he sang. So, apparently, he's very confident in what he can do. And I think it sounds great."

KERRY KING will be special guest on the upcoming LAMB OF GOD/MASTODON North American "Ashes Of Leviathan" co-headline tour. The six-week run will launch on July 19 in Grand Prairie, Texas and will wrap on August 31 in Omaha, Nebraska.

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