SLAYER's KERRY KING: 'My Thing Is Rebelling Against Organized Religion'

Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

Ultimate-Guitar.com: With all the censorship that is happening today, how important do you think it is for a band like SLAYER to talk about the subjects that are deemed controversial and politically incorrect?

Kerry: "I think it's real important for bands like us to exist because not everybody wants to hear the bubblegum pop garbage. There is an outlet for somebody playing intense music that will make you go out and see the show. Not only is there a release, but our shows are visuals too. It's a visual assault kind of thing so it is an interesting product if you want to call it that."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How much of your personal philosophy directs SLAYER?

Kerry: "I don't really have a life philosophy; my thing is just rebelling against pretty much organized religion. That is my main thing, because personally I think it's a crutch for people that are too weak to get through life on their own. I'm the kind of guy that says if I don't see it, then it doesn't work. And nobody can show me God."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: What was the recording process like for the album?

Kerry: "This is the first time that we never went to tape at all as it was all done on a computer. We always work on the drums first because if your drums aren't happening you can't get a quality song. So you have to get the drum sound and the drum performance. I play along with Dave on every take he does. I play along with him because he needs to know where he's at and where he's at in the song. If he's concentrating on getting the part right, I might do a head cue, you know to switch him from high hat to ride. So I'm not going for my performance, I'm just going for the drum performance. Then once that's done either I do rhythm guitar or bass whichever and then the vocals and leads are left for last."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: What was your main guitar sound for the album?

Kerry: "It was a Marshall JCM 800, the same heads that I've been using forever and an old Boss 10-band Equalizer that I've also used forever too. Basically it's the same sound I'd imagine since at least 'Seasons In The Abyss', but just different levels of EQ and stuff. I used all B.C. Rich guitars. I used a couple of B.C.Rich Vs because I wanted to have different tunings and some guitars sound better tuned one way than another. Those guitars were married to that tuning for the entire record. I had a couple of Warlocks too and for the intro to 'The Final Six', which isn't on the album, I used a 10-string Bitch."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Why wasn't that track included on final track listing of the album?

Kerry: "Because Tom took off one weekend for vacation and he was going to come back Monday to sing it but that was when he got that gall-bladder surgery. It's probably going to come out as part of a special digipack for the holidays, like it will be added to the album as a bonus track."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: How do you feel about SLAYER being recently voted by MTV as one of the top 10 heavy metal bands of all time?

Kerry: "I think that's awesome, I'm not a big fan of MTV and I think they suck but that's cool."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Going back to the early days of SLAYER, you actually played the very first five live shows MEGADETH ever played with Dave Mustaine in 1984. What was that experience like for you?

Kerry: "I thought it was inspiring that Dave thought I was good enough to play with him because at that point, I was quite a fan because I had seen him play with METALLICA before he got booted from the band. And because he played B.C. Rich guitars too, that was how it all came together. Somebody at B.C. Rich said that Dave was wondering whether if I was interested in playing with him and I thought it was cool to get a chance to play with somebody whom, I thought was that good. I went out and did the shows and then it was time to go back to my band as we were working on the 'Hell Awaits' album. I don't think Dave was too happy about that. (laughs) I could see myself, looking back now if I for reason had decided to stay with MEGADETH that I probably would have left after two or three years because number one, the guy isn't the nicest guy and number two, I think he would have tried to be too commercial and I don't care for that."

Ultimate-Guitar.com: Though the fast and furious sound of SLAYER has been constant throughout its career, "South Of Heaven" was a slight departure where you slowed the pace down, yet didn't sacrifice any of the heaviness inherent in SLAYER's music.

Kerry: "That was the only record we've ever done with an idea of what we wanted to do before we even wrote a note of it. We'd been playing fast and doing the gigs which were pretty much all fast playing too and because we were getting more popular we needed to number one, material to offset all the speed from 'Reign In Blood' and number two, to keep people guessing."

Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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