SCOTT IAN Says His Comments To KERRY KING About SLAYER Reunion Were Meant In A 'Lighthearted' Way

May 16, 2024

ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that his recent comments about SLAYER's upcoming reunion shows were meant in a "lighthearted" way.

In a recent interview with Dave Ling of Classic Rock magazine, Ian was asked if he was as astonished as everyone else when SLAYER recently came out of retirement. He responded: "I wrote to Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] and said: 'Thanks for making me look like a liar.' We were on SLAYER's goodbye tour for over a hundred shows. During that year and a half together, I got the sense that if they said were ending, then that's what was happening. Personally, I felt it was too soon — the world needs SLAYER — but I took them at their word on that. I really felt that they would be the one band that when they said they were retiring, they'd be done for good."

Asked how Kerry responded to his e-mail, Scott said: "He wrote back saying: 'Hahaha. Hey, it's just three shows.' I replied: 'Yeah, we'll see.'"

On May 11, Ian took to his social media to clarify his comments, writing: "I was recently asked in an interview with Classic Rock about SLAYER's upcoming shows. It seems like some people are confused about how I answered the question — maybe because they weren't on the call and couldn't see the smile on my face or hear me laughing as I answered.

"I wrote a lighthearted text to Kerry and said, 'Thanks for making me look like a liar' as a joke. And when I say, 'Personally I thought it was too soon' that was in reference to SLAYER retiring, not about them coming back to play shows.

"There you have it, straight from the beard's mouth."

Five years after SLAYER played the last concert of what was being billed as the band's farewell tour and just weeks after the SLAYER guitarist unveiled the details of his solo project, Kerry and his longtime bandmates announced that they will play at the Aftershock, Riot Fest and Louder Than Life festivals in September and October.

Back in January 2018, just a week after SLAYER announced its "final world tour" via a 30-second video, including what was being billed as the band's last-ever North American run of dates with support from ANTHRAX, among other acts, Ian told Meltdown of Detroit's WRIF radio station about how he felt about SLAYER pulling the plug on what at the time was its three-and-a-half-decade career: "We've obviously been friends for a very long time, and even in the last seven or eight years, we've played quite a few shows together — a couple of major tours in the States and Europe. So when we got the call a couple of months ago asking if we'd like to be a part of this… At the time, when I first heard about it from our agent, there was no inkling that this was going to be some type of goodbye tour; it was just, like, 'Do you wanna be part of this sick metal package with SLAYER and LAMB OF GOD and BEHEMOTH and TESTAMENT?' And I was, like, 'Yeah.' I got excited. I'm always excited about touring, but that e-mail comes in, and I got excited like a kid, like, 'I can't wait to get tickets for this.' 'Cause that hasn't happened in a while. The Mayhem tour's been gone now for a couple of years, so there hasn't been a major summer metal tour in a long time, and this obviously fills that void in a big way. And I got really excited."

According to Ian, he was unaware that the 2018-2019 tour would mark SLAYER's final run "until the day they publicly announced" it. "I saw that just like everyone else out there, that this was the beginning of the end," he told WRIF at the time. "And I was, like, 'Wow!' I had no idea. I mean, I've known… Obviously I'm friends with the guys and I know from speaking to them that this day was going to come and their schedule had slowed down as compared to what it had used to be. But I didn't know it was happening now. My only hope is that their goodbye tour will take about three or four years to finish. My hope, as a fan of SLAYER, that they really, really pound it into the ground because there's a lot of people that are gonna wanna see 'em a couple of times before it's over, probably."

At the time of the WRIF interview, Scott said that he "got" why SLAYER would want to end its touring career five years after the band's co-founding guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, died from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. Hanneman is credited for writing many of SLAYER's classic songs, including "Angel Of Death" and "South Of Heaven". "I understand," Ian said. "I've been around those guys long enough; I get it. And look, obviously, losing Jeff a couple of years ago, that's something that… as great as it's been, and [Hanneman's replacement] Gary's [Holt] a motherfucker on guitar and there's nobody else that could have filled that role better than Gary Holt, but still, they lost Jeff, and I understand how, after that, certainly for Tom [Araya, bass/vocals] and Kerry [King, guitar], nothing will ever be the same. I can understand that they were able to come to what was obviously a very tough decision to say, 'All right. Let's put an ending on this.' And you know what? All the best things have a great ending, whether it's a book, a movie, a TV series. If you don't stick the ending, it's almost like what was the point in the first place? And I like the way they're doing this and I really think they're gonna go out in a big way and really stick the ending."

Ian believed at the time that SLAYER was making the right decision by going out on top and not just hanging around way past its expiration date. "It's the way you've gotta do it — especially being in a band," Scott said. "People ask me all the time, 'How long can you do this for?' and I'm, like, 'I can do it for as long as I feel like I'm giving everything I have every night.' The last thing I want is being on stage and not being able to perfom at what I consider to be my level of performance, let's say. I never wanna be on stage and someone in the audience can look at me and say, 'Oh, man. He's phoning it in,' or, 'He doesn't even move around anymore.' I would hate to ever disappoint anyone in that way. Playing live for me, being on a stage is that sacred ground, man. That's such a privilege to be there in front of an audience, and for me, if I can't give what I feel like I need to give, then I shouldn't do it anymore."

King addressed the SLAYER reunion earlier this month while speaking to U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine about his upcoming debut solo album, "From Hell I Rise", which will be released on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music. Admitting that the announcement of SLAYER's comeback "was not my favorite timing", Kerry said that the SLAYER reunion "is not going to translate into recording and it's not going to translate into touring. For me, it's three shows marking five years since our final shows, a fun, 'Hey, remember us from before the pandemic?' celebration."

Kerry went on to say that he still has not spoken to SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya since the news of the band's reunion was announced. "It's not like I'm angry with him or anything," King clarified. "We're very different people, and we evolved into business partners at the end of the day. He has very different interests from me, and very different outlooks. Does that make me hate him? No. But I don't need to talk to him every day… We just don't have much in common. When it comes time to rehearse, I'll have no problem showing up. We're professionals, and that's what we do."

When Kerry's solo project was first announced, King told Rolling Stone that he was almost positive he and Tom would never resurrect the band. "I can pretty much a hundred percent say no because I have a new outlet, and it's not SLAYER, but it sounds like SLAYER," King said of a potential SLAYER reunion.

The lineup for SLAYER's comeback will be the same as the one which last toured in 2019: Araya and King, along with guitarist Gary Holt (also of EXODUS) and longtime drummer Paul Bostaph.

Days after SLAYER's reunion was announced, Tom Araya's wife wrote on social media that she "harassed him for over a year" before he "agreed finally" to play more shows with the band. "We shared that news with SLAYER's awesome managers and they did the rest!" she explained. "So yes without Tom it wouldn't have happened.. without me BUGGING HIM it wouldn't have happened."

Both Gary and his wife Lisa Holt were among the hundreds of people who "liked" Sandra's Instagram post, with Lisa sharing three heart emojis in response to Sandra's message.

In a statement confirming SLAYER's return, Tom said: "Nothing compares to the 90 minutes when we're on stage playing live, sharing that intense energy with our fans, and to be honest, we have missed that." King added: "Have I missed playing live? Absolutely. SLAYER means a lot to our fans; they mean a lot to us. It will be five years since we have seen them."

The same day that SLAYER's comeback was announced, Holt's wife Lisa Holt took to her social media to write: "Yes, it's true..and an exciting adventure for the band and fans !

"To all the people saying 'they are liars' 'they must have ran out of money' 'its not SLAYER without so and so' ..I have an idea for you all...DON'T GO.. and for all the people who did go to the final tour dates and enjoyed it...awesome!!

"This isn't a 'TOUR' it's some dates..and GREAT NEWS!!!" she added. "And everyone that thinks they know all the inside can't possibly know. so just enjoy the fact that this amazing band will play some amazing shows this year...go or don't..nobody cares!!!!!"

Three weeks before SLAYER's reunion was announced, Kerry told Rolling Stone that he didn't foresee SLAYER coming back together for the foreseeable future.

"Will SLAYER tour again? I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. Could SLAYER play a show again? I'm sure there's a scenario," King said, adding that he hadn't spoken to Araya since that final show. "Am I looking for it? No, I'm just getting ready to start my [solo] career. So if that happens, it happens. But I'm going to be doing this for the next 10 years at least."

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 said that there is "not a chance in hell" that the thrash metal icons will reunite for more live appearances.

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.

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