Heavy music presenter Christina Rowatt of Soundwave TV conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King on Sunday (February 24) at the Sydney stop of this year's Soundwave festival in Australia. You can now watch the chat in two parts below.
On how stand-in drummer Jon Dette is doing on the Soundwave festival tour:
Kerry: "It's amazing that yesterday was the fifth time we played — period. It was just devastating; it was awesome. He's doing really good, because if we didn't say anything and nobody was paying attention, you wouldn't know. So that means he's doing a great job… It's amazing. He was completely out of playing for awhile, he told me. And then to just be at the level of playing that he is, it's really awesome."
"Last Tuesday. I [first] hit [Dette] up [about playing with us at Soundwave]. And in the thought process, I'm thinking big picture. I''m like, 'How are we gonna get a visa for whoever goes with us?' I went, 'Alright, Jon's with ANTHRAX. Jon knows our stuff. If he couldn't do it, I don't think I could have taught it to anybody in time. So we rehearsed three times and the first show was Brisbane."
On the progress of the songwriting sessions for the new SLAYER album:
Kerry: "I've got 11 songs done. I don't know who's gonna do 'em — I don't know who's gonna produce it, I don't know who's gonna play it. I think METALLICA's got [producer Greg Fidelman] monopolized. He had February open and I was hoping to get some work done in February and then February just got too busy for us. I don't know. If he gets another window, I would like to do it between Australia and Europe in June. That would be great — just be done with it, and it could get mixed while I am out on tour and be out in September or October. That's the perfect world, so we'll see."
"Two [new songs] are done; we recorded two last year with Greg Fidelman, and they just never got mixed. The're done — there are vocals, leads; they are done. And they were gonna put 'em out before [our appearance at the Rockstar Energy Drink] Mayhem [Festival] last year. But that never got done, so I said, 'Why waste 'em on an EP for nothing? [Let's] save them for the record.' Those two are done. The nine others I've just gotta teach whoever's gonna play 'em, and they're ready to go."
"I've been working on the new maerial a lot, and I worked on it a lot with [SLAYER drummer] Dave [Lombardo]. So I haven't decided — if we move on [without Dave] — I haven't decided if I play the new guy what we've done or just play him the guitar stuff that I made up and say, 'What do you think?' 'Cause I know what I want to be there, and I can tell him if it's going in the wrong direction. 'Nah, you've gotta play this.' I haven't even thought this far yet."
On drummer Dave Lombardo's current status with SLAYER:
Kerry: "This just happened a week ago… ten days ago… so I mean, I don't know… It's unfortunate that Dave couldn't be with us; I planned on him being here up until the Monday before I left. And then I saw trouble in paradise, and since I am the mastermind on making decisions like this, I was, like, 'Alright, I've got a backup plan. Just in case.' 'Cause I would have hated to have just Australia blown out. Can you imagine how shitty that would have been? So I did what I thought was best, and we pulled it off."
On whether he saw the dispute with Dave coming:
Kerry: "Tom [Araya, SLAYER bassist/vocalist] did. Tom's been on the fence about Dave for awhile and I was pretty much the one that said, 'Nah, I'm not comfortable moving on [without Dave].' And then it got thrust in our face and I took action immediately and I got a very lucky culmination of things that happened."
Lombardo is sitting out SLAYER's current tour due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group, while guitarist Jeff Hanneman is still recovering from necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease which he is believed to have gotten from a spider bite. Filling in for them are Dette and Gary Holt (EXODUS), respectively.
SLAYER's setlist for the Sydney show was as follows:
02. Die By The Sword
03. War Ensemble
04. Chemical Warfare
05. Altar Of Sacrifice
06. Jesus Saves
07. Mandatory Suicide
08. Seasons In The Abyss
09. Dead Skin Mask
10. Angel of Death
11. South of Heaven
12. Raining Blood
Fan-filmed video footage of the entire concert can be seen below.
In an interview with Soundwave TV conducted on Saturday, SLAYER frontman Tom Araya stated about performing with Dette again: "He actually played in the band [in the late 1990s] for, like, three years. It's gonna be good. He's matured and I'm sure he's gotten much better on the drums. It'll be exciting, and I think that's just gonna pump everything up even more. I can tell you this: Jon's gonna have a lot of energy. He's known to play very fast, and he's gotten better at that."
Prior to joining SLAYER, Dette appeared on TESTAMENT's "Live At The Fillmore" album, which came out in 1995.
Dette is currently also playing with ANTHRAX as a temporary replacement for the band's longtime drummer Charlie Benante, who "is dealing with personal issues right now and can't leave" the U.S., according to ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian.
Interview part 1:
Interview part 2: