Thinking Out Loud: Slayer's Kerry King on hair metal, Satan and being polite
What's really on the Slayer guitarist's mind?
In our regular feature Thinking Out Loud, we find out what's going on in the minds of the great and good. This week, we peek inside the brain of Slayer guitarist Kerry King.
“When I was in junior high I got a math award for the whole school. 10th grade straight-As, 11th grade straight-As, then first semester in 12th grade I forgot what a book was. Once I discovered chicks I didn’t have time for anything else.”
“When I started to play guitar I got into heavy music through my older sisters. I found Judas Priest on the radio, various songs from the British Steel record, so I had to go and do my homework because the songs you heard on the radio were always Breaking The Law and Living After Midnight, and they’re not exactly the heaviest Priest songs. Before that I was really into Van Halen. It was a challenge to be like Eddie Van Halen back then, and it’s still a challenge now.”
“When we started, Hollywood was more hair metal. We played more in Orange County, where there was more of a metal stronghold. Once our fanbase started growing, it got big fast. There weren’t any rivalries, because I felt superior to all of those bands. We were trying to be the opposite of what hair metal was.”
“People hated Slayer. Now we come to town and everybody wants to hear Evil Has No Boundaries and The Antichrist and all the songs from that time, but when we first came out, most people absolutely hated what we were doing. But hey, I liked it. It doesn’t matter what critics say. It never did.”
“I’ve seen a lot of bands over the last decade or so get a record out and think they’re owed a tourbus. We drove ourselves in a Camaro, and a passenger van and U-Hauls. We did it all ourselves. We didn’t start to taste any fruits of our labour until Reign In Blood came out and we finally got a tourbus. We never expected it. It was like, ‘Really? We get our own tourbus?’ I think that’s something missing in bands. People just have a huge sense of entitlement when they haven’t paid any dues. We paid our dues, then we got some things that we were entitled to, and that’s the way it should be.”
“I can get into anything I write about. I can write about serial killers; I can be a fucking Satanist. I’m not a Satanist, I’m an atheist, but I write the best satanic lyrics on the fucking planet. And it’s great entertainment. And religion is the funnest thing to make fun of.”
“I walk around my neighbourhood and see all these ‘Jesus Saves’ stickers. If they knew who they were living next to they’d probably fucking blow my car up.”
“I see things every day that piss me off. Traffic pisses me off, dumb people piss me off, rude people piss me off. Because, yes, I may be in Slayer, but I’m a courteous motherfucker!”