MetalObsession.net's Nick Tevelis conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King on March 1 at the Melbourne stop of this year's Soundwave festival in Australia. You can now watch the chat below.
On the progress of the songwriting sessions for SLAYER's next studio album:
Kerry: "Well, two songs are done; they just need to be mixed. Another one is done without leads and vocals on it, and I've got nine others to record, so we're in really good shape.
"I always think [our albums are gonna be released] sooner than later, and I'm always changing my story, but I really think we can go in and record between this [Soundwave festival] and our next tour in June. So, if it's all finished, then it could be getting mixed while we're in Europe. And I don't see any reason why it can't be out this year. Don't hold me to that, but that's what I'm hoping for."
On the health status of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who is still recovering from necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease, which he is believed to have gotten from a spider bite:
Kerry: "I don't have an update. I haven't seen Jeff in forever. He's always been a recluse, and he's even been more of a recluse since he's mot going on tour with us. But our manager talks to him from time to time and sees him in L.A. just randomly. But I'm far from L.A., so I'm not in that loop. But I guess he's just getting better. It's just one of those things where he can do anything in life. He could be hanging here having a good time with us. He can probably play 'South Of Heaven', but he's not gonna be playing 'Jihad', you know what I mean?! So it's just a muscle memory kind of thing, I guess, at this point."
On whether Jeff has been involved in the songwriting process for the new SLAYER album:
Kerry: "It's just all my stuff for now. But I did that just in case, 'cause I don't know what Jeff's intentions are. So I wanted to have SLAYER covered in case he doesn't come to the party. If he comes to the party, then we've got tons of songs."
On whether contingencies have been made in case Jeff doesn't make it back to SLAYER in the near future:
Kerry: "I think Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist who has been filling in for Jeff for the past couple of years] is in for the long haul. I haven't really discussed it with him. But he keeps his schedule free when he knows we're on tour. And I'm pretty sure, if Jeff all of a sudden came back in June, we would probably pay Gary for freeing up his time. I don't wanna treat somebody that's bailed us out for two years badly. But if Gary played with us forever? I'm OK with that. But if Jeff got better and said, 'Hey, man, I'm ready to play,' and he came to rehearsal and showed us he was good enough, that's his show."
On whether SLAYER's stand-in drummer Jon Dette, who filled in for Dave Lombardo for the Soundwave festival, was the band's first choice as Lombardo's replacement:
Kerry: "Yeah, he was, actually. I've got a lot of friends in this business and I was thinking, at the first instant of trouble in paradise, I'm, like, 'Alright, what can we do?' First off, I thought there's probably no way to get a visa for somebody this quick, and I knew Jon was with ANTHRAX. And in a perfect world, I was thinking maybe he could do both, so I had to call him up and say, 'Hey, man, I hate to drop this on you…' [laughs] And he was stoked. And I did the right thing — I called up Scott [Ian, ANTHRAX guitarist], asked him if he minded. I rehearsed with Jon for three days and it came out good."
On whether there are any plans for SLAYER to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of the band's debut album, "Show No Mercy" — either by re-releasing the LP or by playing it in its entirety at upcoming shows:
Kerry: "I think it was re-released on Metal Blade recently — like, within the past four or five years. I think all of them were. I think they just updated them and gave them some sort of picture disc on the inside. As far as playing the whole live album, I don't foresee that. The only thing I would maybe be interested in is getting all the ones we've played recently that hold up the best, maybe do a little block of 'Show No Mercy' in the middle of the set somewhere. I haven't really discussed it, though."
Fan-filmed video footage of SLAYER's March 1 performance at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia as part of this year's Soundwave festival can be seen below.
SLAYER's setlist for the Melbourne show was as follows:
02. War Ensemble
03. Die By The Sword
04. Chemical Warfare
05. Mandatory Suicide
06. Altar Of Sacrifice
07. Jesus Saves
08. Seasons In The Abyss
09. Dead Skin Mask
10. Angel of Death
11. South of Heaven
12. Raining Blood