SLAYER's KERRY KING: 'On The Whole, Mankind Is Full Of F**king Idiots'

U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine recently conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Metal Hammer: "Reign In Blood" was an obvious watershed moment for SLAYER. Did you realize what a landmark album it was going to be when you wrote it?

King: It was just the next 10 songs. As simple as that sounds, it was just the next bunch of songs that we wrote. We just made up a load of fast riffs at that point. Dave [Lombardo, SLAYER drummer] was always a big fan of punk rock, and I think that's where a lot of the speed came from. The riffs came from the metal side of things. I guess a more appropriate description for what we do would be a metal-punk band, and I guess that's what thrash is. In the early days, punks went to punk shows and metal kids went to metal shows, and I think we're one of the bands, if not the band, that changed that.

Metal Hammer: "Angel Of Death" caused a lot of controversy. Is that something you embraced or was it a pain in the arse?

King: It gave me enough fuel to write music for the rest of my life. To see something like that have such an impact, and to see people take offence to it, it made me realise how hypocritical everyone is as people. We're all hypocrites. We're supposed to have freedom of speech, but you're gonna get offended by us because we're playing a song about that? That's wrong. I think, on the whole, that mankind is full of fucking idiots. In a nutshell, our lyrics just say "think." That's it.

Metal Hammer: You seemed to survive the '90s with more dignity than most. What's your secret?

King: I don't know, man. It was the fuckin' LIMP BIZKIT era. I remember that it was the only time that I let something influence what I was writing. When we made the "Diabolus In Musica" record, I wasn't into writing music because I was so offended by that shit. I couldn't understand why anybody would make music like that, let alone like it. That was definitely my darkest time as a musician, and that definitely showed up on "Diabolus…" through my lack of involvement.

Metal Hammer: Why do you think the fans stuck with you through that period?

King: We never tried to be something we weren't. Fans see that. I remember being into bands and when they made drastic changes I hated it, so being in a band and being able to make those choices, that was something I never wanted to do. We were still SLAYER, it just wasn't our best time back then.

Metal Hammer: When did you realise that metal was on its way back?

King: Believe it or not, I predicted it when GODSMACK and DISTURBED started to get big. Kids were getting into heavier music and they were gonna get tired of it and go to the next level, and then they're gonna come right down our street. I said that years ago, and that's essentially what happened. SLIPKNOT were a definite new thing, too, and their first record was great.

Metal Hammer: It's been nearly 25 years since your debut album. What's the secret to achieving that kind of longevity?

King: Getting a young start, for one. On the first couple of records we were all still living at home, so instead of hanging out with our fuckin' families we'd be playing guitar, so we were much more productive. We weren't touring a lot and we were still all about making our music. Now we have to fit the tours in and all kinds of other shit. I've never had a problem being in SLAYER. I get recognized a lot more now. I'm hard to miss!

Read the entire interview from Metal Hammer.

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