KERRY KING Says He Is 'Still Tight' With GARY HOLT, Explains Why PHIL DEMMEL Was Right Guitarist For Solo Band

May 14, 2024

In a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station, Kerry King was asked if he felt more pressure writing music for his upcoming solo album, "From Hell I Rise", than he did putting ideas together for SLAYER. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I understand the question, but I'm pretty nonchalant in putting music together and it's the same formula. I've got my comfort blanket in [SLAYER and KERRY KING drummer] Paul Bostaph here making stuff up with me. So it was very business as usual just with a handful of different new guys."

Asked if he had ever floated any of the ideas for "From Hell I Rise" by his SLAYER bandmates Gary Holt and Tom Araya before he recorded them, Kerry said: "No. It has nothing to do with them. Gary's heard a couple songs since they've come out, and he sends me a text all the time saying how heavy [it is] and how much he loves it. So, if people think that me and Holt had a falling out, nothing could be farther from the truth. We're still tight. We're looking forward to playing together later in September [for the SLAYER reunion shows]. And he's still a fan cheering me on, which is super cool."

King went on to say that he originally had Holt in mind for his solo project but that he eventually decided against it because he wanted to keep some of the SLAYER pieces out of his new band. He explained: "The more pieces I took, the more ammunition [there would be] for people that are gonna hate it anyway. So I said, 'Gary, I'm gonna have to go a different way.' I originally thought about using [producer] Terry Date, who produced [SLAYER's] last record, but, again, it was another SLAYER piece, and I just wanted to stay away from that. So, luckily I got turned on to Josh Wilbur, and we hit it off great. And he made a monster of a record. I'm very proud of what he did."

King spoke in more detail about why he chose to enlist Phil Demmel on second guitar over Holt during a recent interview with Revolver magazine. He said: "I started to realize that the more pieces I take from SLAYER, the more it's gonna be called 'SLAYER Lite.' I mean, of course it's gonna sound like SLAYER; I wrote 90 percent of the last record. But if I take less with me from SLAYER, there'll be less for people to stand on, as far as making lazy comparisons. If I had to do SLAYER over again after [late SLAYER guitarist Jeff] Hanneman [who died in 2013], 110 times out of a 100, I would pick Gary Holt. He was the right guy. But the perception of people, it weighs on me, and I don't want to deal with that.

"I love Gary. He's a great player," Kerry clarified. "But I already had my one dude from SLAYER I was definitely keeping. And Phil had only played four gigs with SLAYER, so that comparison wasn't going to be there; also, he impressed the fuck out of me when he came out to do those Europe gigs. It was just a couple of days after his MACHINE HEAD tour had ended, and he learned 18 or 20 of our songs on short notice. He also had to learn our stage tempos, and where the pyro was. If JUDAS PRIEST had asked me to come out in four days and figure all that out, I couldn't have done it. But Phil did it for us."

All material for "From Hell I Rise" was written by the 59-year-old SLAYER guitarist alongside the rest of his solo band, consisting of Bostaph, Demmel, bassist Kyle Sanders (HELLYEAH) and vocalist Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL).

Kerry's new band played its second show ever on May 9 at the Welcome To Rockville festival in Daytona Beach, Florida.

King's first-ever festival solo appearance came just two days after his solo group made its live debut at Reggies in Chicago, Illinois.

As was the case with Reggies, King's setlist for Welcome To Rockville included SLAYER tracks as well as several of the 13 songs that appear on "From Hell I Rise", which is due on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music.

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.

KERRY KING will next play at the Sonic Temple festival on May 16.

Photo credit: Andrew Stuart

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