SLAYER's KERRY KING: 'I Just Don't Have Any Respect For DAVE MUSTAINE'

The November 2009 issue of Guitar World magazine includes an extensive interview with SLAYER guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Guitar World: Were you rebellious as kids?

King: Not really, because I was always worried about ramifications from my dad. My dad is 40 years older than me, and both my parents are old-fashioned. I stayed in line or I'd get hit. My dad would make me go out and pick the tree branch that I wanted to get hit with. I'd be like, "How about that little one over there?" [laughs] Or he'd cut off a piece of the garden hose. That's true fear, man. Now if you hit your kids, it's, "Oh, that's wrong." Fuck you. I got hit and I'm fine. Or maybe that's exactly my problem. [laughs]

Hanneman: Wow. I've never heard that story. My dad was very into discipline, too. But I still rebelled. Me and my dad were so much alike that we would just butt heads. I pretty much hated him from the age of 16 to 24 for no real reason. My mentality was that I'd never let him win. I remember every once in a while he'd grab me by the throat and I would be like, [assuming a defiant stance] "Come on!" But after the age of 24, he became my hero. I loved the guy to death.

Guitar World: SLAYER is known for their taboo subject matter. Is there any topic that is off limits for you guys?

Hanneman: I think the only thing we wouldn't hit on is rape. I don't know if you've ever met anyone like this, but there's this certain type of man that just hates women. I've met a few of them and it's like, "What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you hate women?" We have wives, mothers and sisters, so rape is the one thing we haven't touched on. Except for necrophilia, which is the dead, so who cares. [laughs]

King: Huh. I don't think there are any areas I wouldn't explore. I mean, Jesus Christ, Jeff can write about the Holocaust but he can't write about rape? That's bizarre. I'm not saying it to one-up Jeff, but the topic of rape is not too taboo for me.

Guitar World: How do you feel about President Obama and the change in leadership?

King: I think it's a good thing, because the Republicans fucked up a lot of shit. For a long time I thought I was a Republican, but now I think there's things in both factions for me. If I had to tell somebody what I was, I'd say Independent. Once this election started to come around, I was telling people that our next president would be either a black man or a woman. I'm not the fairest dude on the planet, but it's good because it gives black kids an incentive to be president. I think that's what a president should do.

Guitar World: Can you talk about the difference between your styles and how that makes up the balance and tension in SLAYER?

Hanneman: I just think my style is a little darker. We both write stuff that's fast, but I think I write the darker, more evil stuff.

King: A buddy of mine has a wife who's a big SLAYER fan, and he played her "Psychopathy Red". And she said, "That's not Kerry's song." I was like, "How the fuck did she know that?" Because it really sounds like it should be my song. Like Jeff said, people tend to think my songs are more aggro and Jeff's are moodier. But that's not to say I won't write a moody song and he won't write a fast one like "Psychopathy Red". We are individuals whose styles are very different, but we can each do what the other guy is doing, too.

Guitar World: Guitar players often say that SLAYER's solos "don't make sense." What governs your approach to soloing?

Hanneman: Nothing. [laughs] Kerry took lessons; I learned from scratch. I just picked up a guitar and started to play. I don't know anything about scales or notes or stuff like that. When it comes to solos, I just go off. I don't know where the proper note should be, and I don't care. [laughs] But I think it works real well with our music. It's just so off the wall and crazy. It's like, "What the hell are they doing?" [laughs]

King: Around "Seasons In The Abyss" [1990], I went back to my original teacher and did some brush-up shit. So for "Seasons", I probably had 80 to 90 percent of my solos mapped out. Then I was talking to Dime [late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott] one day and I said, "Dude, I got all these leads mapped out and they sound bad-ass!" And he's like, [in a gravelly southern accent] "King, don't forget to do what you do best: line them up and just make some noise!" And I've done that ever since. Now I make up 75 to 80 percent of them and I wing the rest of it.

Guitar World: Before you join up with MARILYN MANSON for this summer's Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, you're heading out on a short Canadian run with MEGADETH. [Note: The interview was conducted this past spring.] Kerry, I know in the past you've been pretty outspoken about your less-than-positive feelings toward Dave Mustaine. Have things cleared up between you two?

Kerry: I just don't have any respect for Dave. As far as playing goes, I can't take anything away from him. He's awesome. But I know things. That's not like, "Ooh, I know things." I just know he's a hypocrite, and I have no respect for that kind of person. But when I see him, I'll say, "What's up, Dave?" If he's not an asshole to me, I won't be one to him."

Hanneman: Oh, it's gonna be good. [laughs] I'm looking forward to it. If nothing happens between them, I'm probably gonna have to instigate a little bit. [laughs] I like Dave, and obviously Kerry, but I also like to watch a good fight.

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