SLAYER's KERRY KING: We Don't Know When JEFF HANNEMAN's Gonna Be Able To Play Guitar

Brendan Crabb of recently conducted an interview with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

On metal's current state:

Kerry: "It seems to me like it's just cruising along, status quo. I'm yet to see anything new that's like a threat; not even a threat, like the next suitor to the throne. You've first got your MAIDEN, SABBATH and PRIEST and then you've got METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT and bands like that. After that, there's a lot of bands, but I don't think anybody's the chief, you know what I mean?"

On SLAYER's forthcoming studio album:

Kerry: "As usual, every time we get ready to put out a record, [Rick Rubin's] American Recordings changes distribution, so that always holds us up. So we've got three weeks 'til we're done in Australia, and hopefully all their pieces fall where they need to fall, we can get some contracts done and start recording. We've got plenty of music; I'm taking my days off in Australia to work on lyrics, so hopefully we'll just get closer to the end product, so we're not going to waste a lot of time in the studio. I think it's pretty much SLAYER. As a guitar player I try to come up with things I've never heard us do or maybe I've never heard anybody else do, but still in the parameters of super heavy music. If you get a surprise, I would say chances are it's still heavy; you're just not used to hearing heavy in that way."

On the status of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who has been absent from the road for the past two years while he is recovering from contracting necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused by a spider bite:

Kerry: "If he came in, knocked on my door in five minutes and said, 'Hey dude, I'm ready, let's go practice', I'd say, 'Good, get your gear, let's go practice.' But until that day comes, I've gotta cover SLAYER's butt and have his gig filled in. 'Cause I don't want it to be a carousel, where there's, if Gary [Holt of EXODUS] can't do it, we get somebody else, and if he can't do it, we get somebody else again. I want to have continuity. We told Gary when our schedule is and said, 'Please keep it open,' because we don't know when Jeff's gonna be able to play guitar. Jeff's kind of like a wait-and-see thing.”

On whether SLAYER plans to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the release of the band's debut album, "Show No Mercy":

Kerry: "I always think reissues, unless there's something of serious value on it… A fan could just see that as a big rip-off, and that's certainly not what we're about. That being said, if we came up with some great content or something, sure, I could see that happening. Later on in the year, maybe we might do more 'Show No Mercy' songs. I can't imagine playing the whole record, but I know there's at least one song we're playing down in Australia on this run.

"I wish somebody told us before 'Reign In Blood' we didn't need reverb. But it's good shit, you know? People always ask me, 'Do you think you should go re-record 'Show No Mercy' and 'Hell Awaits'?' I say no, because those are a moment in time and that's what SLAYER was. If we were recording them again now, the way SLAYER sounds… Rule number one: it would sound like a completely different record. Which could be good or bad, I don't know. But people love those historically for what they are.”

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