Tom De Smet, a music journalist from Belgium who writes for the newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen and the magazine Rock Tribune, conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King shortly before the band's November 17 concert at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. Several excerpts from the chat, which was published on the Gazet van Antwerpen web site, follow below. (Original English-language quotes kindly provided to BLABBERMOUTH.NET by Tom De Smet.)
On the events of November 13 in Paris, France, when more than 129 people were killed in seven coordinated terrorist attacks, including at the Bataclan, a French music venue where EAGLES OF DEATH METAL were performing:
Kerry: "I am suprised that it took the terrorists this long to target a rock concert. Because they hate rock music. They hate our lifestyle. They hate our freedom and they hate that we enjoy ourselves. And, of course, it sucks. What happened makes everybody think twice about risking their lives to see a band play. But if you stop going to concerts or stop playing at them, you just do what the terrorists want you to do. It is very important to carry on and to do what you do, what you love doing. And, you know, I am not the kind of guy that goes through life worrying all the time. We took airplanes right after 9-11. We played shows right after Dimebag [late PANTERA guitarist] was shot. Sure, things can go wrong. But you might also step out this building here and get run over by a car. Just do what you love doing and stop worrying."
"I have written a lot of songs about the negative influence of organized religion. What happened in Paris is once again an example of that. I don't believe what ISIS — or ISIL or whatever you have to call them these days — believe, so therefore I must perish. That's the most ridiculous thing I have heard in my life. People have been killing each other for centuries because of organized religion."
On SLAYER's latest album, "Repentless", the group's first to be written and recorded without the contributions of co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who died in 2013:
Kerry: "After Jeff got injured, I started writing. Because his arm was just destroyed. They thought they might have to amputate it in the beginning. So I said, 'Well, I've got to look out for SLAYER.' And I just started to make stuff up. Playing guitar five or six days a week and try to come up with new material. When the tragedy [Jeff's death] happened, I had nine songs already. The first song I wrote was 'When The Stilness Comes'. That was my test. It sounds like a Jeff song. The intro riff had been around for twenty years, I just never made a song out of it. I didn't need to, because Jeff always did stuff like that. The fact that I could finish this 'slower' song gave me the courage to continue writing."
"I have already seven songs for a new album. So I don't think the fans will have to wait another six years for a new record. Maybe [new SLAYER guitarist] Gary [Holt] will also contribute to the next record. We haven't talked about that yet."
On leaving Rick Rubin's American Recordings and signing with Nuclear Blast:
Kerry: "The deal with American ran its course. Our deal was up. They [American] made an offer that was just offensive. I wish that they rather would have said, 'We decline to make an offer.' It was that offensive. Nuclear Blast already had a deal on the table. So after the offer of American Recordings, Tom [Araya, bass/vocals] and I went to Nuclear Blast to talk with them. These guys like metal and know how to promote it. We are very happy with Nuclear Blast."
On the end of SLAYER:
Kerry: "Tom and I have an agreement: if one of us wants to stop, that will be the end of the band. He's the voice [and] I am now the only writer. We are the two remaining founding members. But I don't see the end of SLAYER happening soon. I'm 51, but I don't feel that old. When I grew up, being 50 was different than being 50 is now. I think our lifestyles are very different, I think our minds are more busy, I think we're physically more busy. I think 50 now is a far cry from when my dad was 50. I feel good, the shows are good, Tom sounds good, so until that changes, we will continue."