On Sunday, July 1, "Metal Zone" host Nikki Blakk of the San Francisco, California radio station 107.7 The Bone conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King at the Mountain View, California stop of the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival tour. You can now watch the chat below. A few excerpts from the chat follow.
On SLAYER's plans for the next few months:
Kerry: "We've got two [new] songs recorded that keeps floating around like maybe it's gonna be an EP, maybe it isn't. I don't know. I'd just as soon wait for the [entire new full-length] record to get done [before releasing any new material. After Mayhem, I think the plan is August and September, finish the [full-length] record. And unlike the rest of the modern world, when you do a record, it still takes [the record company] three months [to release it] from the minute you hand it in — I don't really know why. So, that being said, if it's done in September, it's not gonna come out in December, so it'll probably be out in January. After Mayhem, we've got another batch of shows — October/November, but nothing in the States. But then after New Year, I imagine, we'll plan the world domination thing again."
On whether guitarist Jeff Hanneman — who in January 2011 contracted necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused by a spider bite, and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and intense rehab since — is contributing to the songwriting process for the new album:
Kerry: "On the last record [2009's 'World Painted Blood'], it was kind of, like, [split] down the middle [between me and Jeff]. On the records prior, it was mostly me. This one's been all me so far. He's welcome to contribute. It's just a matter of him [putting] something [together] and getting it to us."
On whether Jeff or Hanneman's temporary replacement Gary Holt (EXODUS) will lay down the guitar tracks for the new SLAYER studio album:
Kerry: "Jeff hasn't done [any] recording [on SLAYER albums] in years — other than solos. I've played [all] the [rhythm] guitars [on SLAYER albums] since… man, the '90s. A lot of the bass, too. It's just that I play quick and I get to the track quick and I don't fuck around and take all day. So at the end of the day it becomes an efficiency issue and I'm very efficient."
On who is producing the new SLAYER album:
Kerry: "When we went it [and did those first two songs], we had Greg Fidelman [who produced SLAYER's 2009 album, 'World Painted Blood'] for a 10-12-day window — we borrowed him from METALLICA's clutches. That's why we went in and did those two songs. 'Cause I like working with him. He's a guy that could tell me to do it again and I won't ask why. . . And he gets what he wants and it's great."
On when fans can expect to Jeff back on stage with SLAYER:
Kerry: "After Mayhem, we'll evaluate Jeff again; that's all we can do. He practiced for, like, three weeks with us before… I think it was Fun Fun Fun Fest [in November 2011] — the Austin show we did. And it just wasn't there. That's just how it is — it wasn't there. He played the songs, but if you recorded it, you could definitely tell who's who. And after playing with Holt, who's nailing everything, you can't really take a step backwards. And it sucks to say if that is a backwards step, but if [Jeff's] been gone 18 months and he's gonna make a comeback, you don’t' want it to be a backwards step, you want it to be awesome. And I think he wants it to be awesome. So, as shitty a decision as it is, that's just how it is."
On Hanneman's brief onstage reunion with SLAYER on April 23, 2011 at the "Big Four" show in Indio, California:
Kerry: "He wasn't ready for that either. I think we all thought that that might jumpstart him and get him going down a more hardcore road to recovery, but he wasn't ready for that. He was supposed to play four songs, and I took two away that day. I said, 'Dude, don't show anybody your weakness right now. People are gonna be stoked to see it. If you go up there for four songs, people are gonna start focusing on you and they're gonna see that you're not playing that good. Do yourself a favor, do two songs, have your big fucking moment, and leave it at that."
On when he last spoke to Jeff:
Kerry: "I haven't talked to Jeff since the last time we rehearsed [with him]. But, I mean, that's not unusual. It sounds like, 'Ah, they're not talking.' But when we get off tour, we don't talk. Unless we're talking business. Everybody's grown up and they have their own friends, you know what I mean?! [After 30 years] we've got nothing to talk about. [laughs]"