SLAYER guitarist Kerry King gave a lengthy interview to Metal Edge magazine in which he discussed a number of topics, including the progress of the songwriting sessions for SLAYER's next album and METALLICA's evolution from an underground thrash phenomenon to one of the most commercially successful heavy rock bands in the world.
The following are some of the highlights of King's interview with Metal Edge:
Q: What did you think of METALLICA "Icon" on MTV, did you see it?
Kerry King: "You know, someone called me the day before and said, 'I can get you into the show.' I was like, 'Yeah, it might be cool to check out.' I was thinking about it, but I'm like, 'I'm not sure I'm ready to suck METALLICA's dick yet. I haven't heard the new record, and I don't want to be on that bandwagon. I knew it was going to be an MTV event and everyone was going to be sucking METALLICA's dick, and it was going to be a huge snooze fest and I didn't want to be a part of it. I did watch the whole thing, I Tivo-ed it, and it took me like three or four sittings to get through it, because I couldn't stomach the whole thing. How the fuck do you let SNOOP DOGG get in there and butcher your song? Yet I watched it, and it sounded like somebody gave him the lines backstage and he just learned them. How is that good? That irritated the hell out of me. That just really offended me… Then you see Lars grooving to the drums, doing air drums, and I'm like, 'What the fuck are you listening to, dude?' "
Q: Are you guys friends with METALLICA, both being [originally] from [Southern California]?
Kerry King: "We've never been close friends, we've pretty much been acquaintances, at best. All these years, we got the one show at Giant Stadium, the Tattoo The Earth show METALLICA did. We did one Donington with METALLICA in like '94, and probably a handful of club dates when we were nobody. That's it. It's not like we cross paths that often."
Q: So there wasn't a sense of camaraderie from the onset?
Kerry King: "No. I loved METALLICA in the beginning, I used to go to Woodstock in Orange County and watch them when [Dave] Mustaine was in the band. I thought Mustaine's shit didn't stink — and so did Mustaine, that's his problem. I was just blown away! Me and Jeff [Hannemann] would go up to Woodstock and pay money just to go see METALLICA, because Mustaine would be up there ripping through everything! Everything on that album, even the leads that are on the album, are what Mustaine played — not even looking at what he was playing, just ripping. We were just blown away by that. I was a fan, for sure. I mean, even through 'Puppets', I was still a fan. When I was a kid, I was a PRIEST fan and a MAIDEN fan, but if I had a band I liked and they made a record I didn't like, I was just offended. When PRIEST put out 'Point Of Entry', I just burned it. I was like, 'How could you do this to me?' Then I kind of felt that way with '…And Justice For All', it was kind of a letdown to me, the mix was kind of weird. There were some great songs on it, but to me, it wasn't better than 'Puppets'. Then when they did that whole 'Load'/'Reload' thing, I was just… There are probably a lot of people on this planet that were pretty put aside. I even like the 'Black' record. It's no 'Master Of Puppets', but it's got some fuckin' heavy shit on it."
Later in the interview, King brought up METALLICA's name once again, saying, "You know what is really weird? I'll bring up the new METALLICA record again. How do you have one of the best guitar players on the planet and not let him play anything? You have 75 minutes of whatever you call it, and you're not letting Kirk [Hammett] play a lead? That's where you made your bread and butter for the last 20 years! How do you do that? I have no idea. I mean, I played that record ['St. Anger'] twice, and that's all I am ever going to play it. I played it once, and then I had to make sure, but I just don't' get it. This isn't METALLICA bashing — I mean, I am holding back, trust me."
Q: Have you written anything for a new record yet?
Kerry King: "Jeff probably has like four or five songs on CD, and when he makes his stuff and presents it to us, it's like finished — drum machine, bass guitar, everything. When I present mine, it's guitar on a cassette tape, 'Here you go!' That's the difference. Me and Dave [Lombardo] have been working stuff out, we probably have played like four-and-a-half, five tunes. With the touring, with the break we got for press, the tour I got coming up next week in Europe, it's hard to focus on new stuff. Just before we came out here, me and Dave were like, 'Let's get our feet wet.' It's very exciting stuff. I mean, three out of the four we did are traditional fuckin' SLAYER tunes with breaks out of nowhere, and speed going here, and a chunk going on there… Then there's random one that we worked on that's more like a 'Gemini' [off 'Undisputed Attitude'] tune. It's all traditional SLAYER in different periods of what SLAYER is and has been. I can't wait to get serious about it and start working on it, but we are looking at putting it out in March, April, May? I can't guarantee it, but I would put some hard cash on it going out before summer."