U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine recently conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King. Several excerpts from the chat follow:
Metal Hammer: Shouldn't you be releasing a record soon? It's been four years since "God Hates Us All".
Kerry King: "It seems like everybody under the sun says, 'We want a new record,' but at the same time, they keep saying, 'We'd really like you to come back on tour.' That shit bumps everything on the backburner. The funny this is Dave [Lombardo, drums] and me have had a 10-song demo we did up at his house that's been lying around since March 2004. I know Jeff [Hanneman, guitar] has written a couple , and I've written a couple more since then, so this week we're going to start the process of getting back together and nailing this thing. With luck, we'll start recording by September. I'm hoping to work with Dave Sardy, who was with us for 'Undisputed Attitude'. Lombardo wants Rick Rubin for drums, and I've no problems with that because, in my opinion, it's what he's best at. But I think we're all pretty much agreed that the overall producer will be Sardy."
Metal Hammer: Is Lombardo back for keeps now?
Kerry King: "As far as I know, Dave is back in the band. It was 12 years we were apart, and that's 12 years of growing up for everybody. Actually, I think we're probably a better band because of it. It seems to me like Dave's having a great time, and I know he gets up in front of some of those 30,000 crowds and thinks, 'Man, this rocks!' he's playing better than he's ever played."
Metal Hammer: It's every metal geek's dream. The original, class-of-1982 SLAYER lineup reunited.
Kerry King: "Exactly. Having Dave back in the band is one of the highlights of my whole time in SLAYER. There are kids that could've been into us for over 10 years that never got to see us the way we are meant to be. I just saw ANTHRAX at one of those Euro festivals with Joey [Belladonna] — and I liked John Bush to death, y'know, he was a great singer — but something just happens when Joey plays. As for [JUDAS] PRIEST, when Ripper joined, I didn't see 'em once."
Metal Hammer: Having been around for almost a quarter of a century, what do you think SLAYER did right that the other pioneers of the thrash movement did wrong?
Kerry King: "Well, we never took time off from the thrash movement like METALLICA did. We didn't get sidetracked by pop music like MEGADETH did. We didn't lose our frontman like ANTHRAX did. I probably felt competition with those bands at the time thrash was taking off, but we always knew that none of those bands were better than us. We just went out and kept doing our thing."
Metal Hammer: What do you think went wrong for METALLICA?
Kerry King: "One word: 'Load'. But also, whenever you think enough of yourself to play with an orchestra, that's when you're too big. People say to us, 'When are you guys going to do that?' And I'm like, 'Never.'"
Metal Hammer: You've had your fair share of run-ins with MEGADETH over the years.
Kerry King: "People say, 'What's your problem with [Dave] Mustaine?' To which I say, 'Well, he's a cocksucker, for one thing.' But my problem with MEGADETH is, I don't know who that band is anymore. It's like the METALLICA thing. Who's METALLICA? Is METALLICA the band that did 'Master of Puppets' and 'Ride the Lightning', or is METALLICA the band who got to the point where they felt they could put out 'Load' and 'Reload'? It's lie, 'Who are you?'"
Metal Hammer: How long can you keep this up? It's hard to imagine SLAYER not being around.
Kerry King: "It's hard to put a time scale on it. I do know I can't do this for another 25 years. We're more of a physical band than a band like [BLACK] SABBATH, who can keep coming back. Tony [Iommi] is a great guitar player, but if you put a time-lapse camera on him, he'd probably move 10 feet the whole show. We can't be like that. If we had to come and do a show when I was 60, I'd probably bust a vertebra."