MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine says that SLAYER will "go out on a bang" with its upcoming "farewell" tour.
Back in January, SLAYER, one of metal's most popular and influential bands of the past four decades, announced its "final world tour" via a 30-second video. The group also confirmed that the first leg of its last-ever North American run of dates would feature support from LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX, BEHEMOTH and TESTAMENT.
Speaking to Metal Hammer, Mustaine said that he has "tremendous respect for what SLAYER's done," explaining that he "got to watch them grow into who they are" in the years after their two bands first played together.
"I don't think that SLAYER will be winding down," Mustaine said. "That band ain't gonna be 'winding down' for nothing. They're gonna end, but they're gonna go out on a bang. The good thing is the fact that they've contributed so much to metal, to thrash, and just because SLAYER is ending, I don't think Kerry King [SLAYER guitarist] will."
Despite the fact that he has "had a very up-and-down relationship" with King in the last three decades, Mustaine insisted that the SLAYER guitarist "has been a great friend." The MEGADETH leader added that SLAYER has earned its rightful place in rock history alongside other acts that make up the so-called "Big Four" of 1980s thrash metal.
"As far as metal is concerned, if there is a gauge, and the gauge stops at some point under 'extreme', that's where SLAYER lie," Mustaine said. "There's always going to be someone faster, someone who can write songs about war and killers and the occult and stuff like that, and there are always going to be songs that have breakneck pace, killer drumming and stuff like that, but not like them. That's what makes SLAYER so great. That's what sets those motherfuckers apart."
In a 2004 interview with Guitar World magazine, King spoke about the time he spent in MEGADETH as the band's touring/live guitarist. Asked how he thinks MEGADETH would have turned out if he had stayed in the group, Kerry replied: "I played their first five shows, and if I had stayed I probably wouldn't have lasted more than a year, because Dave Mustaine is such a dictator and had much poppier ideas than me. It never would have worked. Jeff [Hanneman, late SLAYER guitarist] and I used to go see METALLICA and be blown away by how awesome Mustaine was, so I was honored when the call came asking me to help him. But after five shows, I was like, 'I'm in SLAYER and that ain't going to change." That didn't go over too well."
King later described his time with MEGADETH as "a gigantic learning situation." He said: "I thought people would see me and know me from SLAYER. 'Cause, I mean, we only went to the Bay Area; we only got up there. So I think if people saw me, it would at least make 'em think, 'SLAYER.' So I had SLAYER's best intentions in mind. I didn't go and say, 'Hey, I wanna be in MEGADETH.' I don't know how anybody can be in MEGADETH for more than a couple of hours, 'cause that guy's crazy."
Five years ago, SLAYER frontman Tom Araya said that the only thing that was standing in the way of further "Big Four" shows was "the politics of character in one particular band," with some fans speculating that he was talking about Mustaine and MEGADETH.
In his autobiography, "Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir", Mustaine addressed the issue of where his band fit in the "Big Four" order. According to The New York Times, he assured the reader that he was not offended by being put behind SLAYER. But he added an interior monologue: "O.K., we'll play ahead of you guys on this trip, and God willing we'll do it again sometime in the near future and we can flip things around."
SLAYER will kick off the first leg of its farewell world tour with a May 10 concert at San Diego's Valley View Casino Center, with dates running through August 26 at San Jose, California's SAP Center.