Kerry King spoke to Snowboard magazine about the criticism SLAYER frontman Tom Araya drew from some of the band's fans in January when a photoshopped picture of Donald Trump and the members of SLAYER appeared on their Instagram account. Araya posted the image and later chastised fans who objected to the photo, saying that he "thought it was funny" and that anyone who disagrees should keep quiet.
The same image first appeared on the official SLAYER Instagram account on inauguration day, but was mysteriously removed before being reposted a few days later.
Asked by Snowboard at what point it is appropriate to use his channel and influence to make a difference, and at what point does he stay out of it and let his role remain as an escape, Kerry said: "I think Trump is a more individual ideology, for sure. The band, you know, whenever I try and address political songs, which we do, I can't say we don't, but I will base it on the U.S. government, because that's the government I know, but I try to make it vague enough so that anyone in any country can relate to it. I hate my chancellor, or, I hate my prime minister, I hate my government, I try to make it so that anyone can get something out of it, because if it was pinpointed at America, only Americans would love that song — or hate that song depending on what I say in it. I have one on the next record that is basically about Trump's nonsense, but it's really going to be about the Republicans just fucking things up."
Pressed about whether he pictures the political aspect of his music as more of an expression of emotion then, or as a call to action, Kerry said: "It could be both. I mean, a call to action would be something like 'Take Control' off of the last record. And that's one of those unifying statements where I say, 'We will take control.' That's not just us, that's everyone. I expect for the people that are in the crowds and sing the lyrics at us for that to be a big line."
King told Westword that he and Araya never spoke about the Trump photo incident, since it happened while the band was on hiatus. By the time SLAYER regrouped for the next round of live shows, the tension had blown over.
Although he describes himself as a political independent, King didn't mince words when talking about Trump. "I never used to wake up and watch CNN, but I do now — just to see what fucking idiocy this guy's said that day," the guitarist told Westword. "It's not even weekly. It's fucking daily."
SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph last year called Donald Trump "the biggest joke I've ever seen in my life," and referred to some of Trump's rhetoric as "the scariest shit I've ever seen as an American — in my lifetime." Similarly, King said that Trump was "the biggest liar I've ever seen in politics," clarifying, "I mean, most of them are liars, but he just outright in-your-face lies." King's words were echoed by his SLAYER bandmate Gary Holt who described Trump as a "serial liar" who refused to disavow former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.