have all heard some loudmouth boast how they are so bad that hell
refuses them entry for fear that they would take over but after
listening to an advance copy of SLAYER's latest disc, "GOD
HATES US ALL," one has to wonder if Hades' dark lord
shouldn't be checking up on his retirement plan.
Nowhere will you find a record with a more perfect understanding
of all that is truly evil than "GOD HATES US ALL."
I mean it isn't as though after twelve discs the men of SLAYER are
not well informed on all that is dark, sadistic or depraved.
When Tom Araya screams, "I reject all of the biblical views
of the truth" in "New Faith" he does so with an
obviously educated authority on the subject that is as
exhilarating as it is chilling. This is SLAYER primed and
pissed to a degree that has not previously been captured on disc
and as guitarist Kerry King will explain, the tour in support of
"GOD HATES US ALL" will be no less intense.
Kerry King is the Nietzsche-ian superman of Metal guitar playing
having evolved that one step further needed to set him above all
others in the genre. Each note King plays on "GOD HATES
US ALL" is a lightening bolt from Olympus that will send the
reverent to their knees, cowards running in fear and leave all
others to head bang away in the gleeful knowledge that as long a
SLAYER exists true Metal can never die.
King took a phone call at home and a half hour of his day to
discuss the upcoming album release, the tour to support the album
and the run of Summer warm-up dates with PANTERA that most see as
the only truly worthwhile Metal festival to be attended this year.
- SLAYER took their usual time honing this new record but
it is finally here and I bet that you guys are ready to tear it up
Kerry King: Actually this one is coming a year quicker than the
last one. I mean, I don't count "UNDISPUTED" so if
you take that out of the mix the last one took four years and this
one only took three. Maybe next time it will only take
- This is a pretty full album, no doubt about that, are
you going through a spurt of inspiration at this point in your
KK I don't know but I did kind of have a hot hand on this
record. It is never really like, "I have this many
songs, you have this many songs" it is always, "Lets see
who has got the best." Usually we only make up enough
for a record so it is just whoever has the hot hand and who
everyone else is digging their stuff. Toward the end there,
I got hot.
- This disc, like all of your others, is kind of a
timeless disc in that it really doesn't matter what is happening
at the time, a SLAYER record will always sound like a SLAYER
record so I am really digging that given that the alternatives out
there really aren't all that interesting, to me anyway.
KK Yeah, well, it is always important to be pertinent to
now. It is always easy to be SLAYER but the trick is to be
SLAYER in the now and make it all relevant.
- Well, you never did do a Rap record or a Grunge record,
and I thank you for that by the way!(laughs)
- Though you are not totally without sin here, you did
play on that BEASTIE BOYS thing way back when and you did do some
work with ICE T.(laughs)
KK Yeah, I guess. Yeah, the funny thing about the ICE
T thing is that it sounds like a SLAYER song!(laughs) It is
the only song on that whole album that does and I think that is
what makes it stand out, that is what makes it cool. The
BEASTIE BOYS thing, that was such a whim thing to do. We
were in the studio at the same time and I didn't even know any of
them. They were on Def Jam and they needed a lead and I
went, "OK!" and went down there and did it and that was
it. I did get to be in their video, which was cool because
we (SLAYER) didn't have any videos at the time.
- Was that kind of like the Eddie Van Halen thing where
he played on a Michael Jackson record for free never thinking it
would be a hit?
KK I think that I got like two hundred bucks or something.
I had no idea who they were or if they would be popular but it
freaked me out because here in Southern California K-Rock still
plays that album like every fuckin' day! It is like,
"Don't you know that this is like fourteen years old?"
I mean, it is always on, it is amazing.
- They sent you a platinum record for your contribution
to it, didn't they?
KK Nope! I got air!(laughs)
- There is something, you have stuck right in there with
Rick Rubin and Def Jam/Def American/American whatever it is now,
while most everyone else has jumped ship, do you and Rick
understand each other better than all the others or something?
KK I don't understand anything about Rick Rubin!(laughs)
Yep, it is just that we signed up with him, he puts our records
out for us and Sony distributes them so, we just got a good deal
going for us.
- Nothing more dynamic than that then?
KK No, it is pretty straight up.
- The harder-core Metal fans are really excited that
there will be an alternative to the ever limpening Ozz-Fest thing
this year and you will be a part of that with PANTERA and STATIC X
along with a few others?
KK You know what is funny is that Ozz-Fest really sucked up
all the talent this year, period. I mean they got everybody.
Anybody who is new and popular got sucked up because they didn't
want Tattoo the Earth getting it, they didn't want any
- And as it turns out that tour (Tattoo the Earth) was
postponed until after the Ozz-Fest run anyway so I guess their
evil plan worked?
KK Oh yeah, definitely. They couldn't compete, there
was no talent.
- When you last played on the Ozz-Fest in '99, that was a
strange situation with all of the acts there, many of whom I
wouldn't classify as Metal at all. . .
- But it did seem to have little effect on people running
over the hill to see you on the big stage?
KK Well, it was cool because there are tons of new bands now
and SLAYER has always been taboo, since day one. To some
people we are only a legend, "Oh SLAYER, I am never going to
go and see them. They are the Devil himself!" You
know what I mean? But when you get in our presence and you
have a bunch of younger people coming in to check it out they are
like, "Hey, I dig this!" so you have to keep putting
yourself in a
position to succeed.
- But you never want to be too cool, that kills it dead
- SLAYER records have always been very intense but this
one is just absolutely seething in anger, or am I misinterpreting
KK Oh, it is pretty pissed. I come from a perspective
where I don't like writing about happy stuff. Happy stuff is
boring to me so I tried to latch onto some things that people
could relate to that are on the darker side of life.
Everybody wants payback, everybody hates somebody, everybody feels
that God hates them at one point in their life or another so I
think that everybody is going to be able to get something out of
these songs, it can be personalized to them.
- Did you each work on your individual songs and then
bring them together or did you start from a jam on this record?
KK Naw, we are always writing individual anymore because we
don't live as close as we used to. It is pretty much show up
with ideas and work it out yourself. Jeff usually has entire
musical songs with drums and everything because he sits around and
plays with his drum machine and everything but I am too lazy to do
all that shit!(laughs) I just say, "Paul, here is the
song, take off!"
- Yeah, Paul has obviously worked out, I mean, you did go
through a couple of drummers there? What is this his second,
no, it is his third record, right?
KK Yeah, third but fourth if you count
- So he is like an actual member of the band at this
KK None of us ever wanted him to leave in the first place.
That was just something that he wanted to do on his own and if you
have got somebody who wants to do that you have got to let him do
it because if they don't they are always going to be second
guessing themselves. Obviously he second guessed himself and came
released that the catering a SLAYER show was better?(laughs)
KK (Laughing) Yeah, we get better booze!
- There are twelve tracks on the disc with the first
being more of an intro to the second song. . .
KK Yeah, that will probably be the intro for the live show
too, either as it stands or maybe re-mixed a bit. It takes
everybody from the live show to the album so there is that
- Will you play it or is this a taped piece that you will
enter the stage to?
KK No, no, a taped intro.
- Which of these songs contains the most personal
statement to come from you?
KK I don't know. My favorite one right now is
"Disciple" but it is certainly not personal.
Personal? I have got like four of them on their,
"Threshold," "Exile," "Payback,"
those are all personal kinds of things.
- As a full record do you feel you have a disc that is
the epitome of what SLAYER is all about?
KK Today.(laughs) But I guess that is what you are
striving for, right?
- I suppose but no matter how I ask the question everyone
always says, "This is the best record that we have ever
done" and I am hopping to be surprised, one day at least.
KK Well, to me, I think that when you put one out you are
obviously going to think that this is the best one, at least at
that time. Looking back you might say, "Ooh, that one
was a mistake."(laughs) But when they come out you are
always thinking that they were chipped from gold, you know.
- Has there been something that you wished you hadn't
KK The only thing that I wished that I would have done is
paid more attention on "DIVINE INTERVENTION" because I
think that the mix is just atrocious, it is horrible. I
didn't even realize it until recently when I was working on this
record and I went back and played that one. I just went,
"Damn, this mix is horrible!"
- Was that one of the records that you guys pretty much
did everything yourselves?
KK I don't know. I don't think that we really did any
of them ourselves, we just threw our name on there.
"Co-Produced" just means that we were there. Rick
Rubin as a producer means that he sticks his head in once in a
while.(laughs) Matt Hyde, on this new record he was there
24-7, he was a fucking god. He is truly awesome.
- How did you come to hire him for this record?
KK I had the conscious idea that I wanted somebody that was
into new Metal, not necessarily us but what is popular today, who
could come in with some fresh ideas that not even me or Rick Rubin
or whomever could ever think of. Somebody that was totally
enthusiastic and totally into the band and into making a great
- Was there another record that you heard him on and
said, "This is our
KK I didn't even know what he had done really. I had
heard that he had done MONSTER MAGNET but I don't listen to
MONSTER MAGNET that much. What happened was that he came in
and did "Bloodline" for the "DRACULA"
soundtrack and before we were done with that song I told the guys
in management that I would like to do a whole record with this guy
so we got it going.
- It is way early to think about but would you use him
KK I would, definitely.
- SLAYER has appeared on a whole lot of outside projects,
soundtracks and tributes, how much time does that take out of your
schedule or are those tracks kind of like cast offs from your
regular recording sessions?
KK Naw, stuff like that is kind of what makes us take so
long in between records because when you are working on new shit
and you get something like that thrown in your lap you have to
pretty much stop what you are doing and go gung-ho into that, it
is a "now" kind of thing. "We need this
yesterday!" It is that kind of thing and the new songs
definitely get put on the backburner and you are just working on
that for a given
time. During the recording of this new album we probably had
like three or four sections of working on it for three or four
months between Ozz-Fest, the WCW song, Tattoo the Earth, the
SABBATH song, the "DRACULA" song, any time that
something came up the record got put on hold because we had to
rehearse different shit.
- Did you spend much time rehearsing this record or was
most of the hammering together of it done in the studio?
KK Oh tons! I mean, this is the first time that we
even did pre-production. Matt came down with some of his
Pro-tools shit and we had a whole lot of stuff sung just so we
would know what it would sound like and where it was going so we
were probably more prepared for this one than we have been.
- Is there a box that you throw stuff into that at one
point or another you realize isn't right for SLAYER?
KK What, like music?
KK Naw, that gets weeded out on the way.
- For the most part, you guys don't venture out of the
confines of SLAYER too often, why is that?
KK Pretty much but Tom sang on SOULFLY's last record, I did
a lead on PANTERA's last record and I did a whole song on ROB
ZOMBIE's next record so maybe it is a little more now that we get
- The thing is, you do have a sound that is all your own
and if somebody wants it they have to get you so I would imagine
you get plenty of requests to do side projects?
KK It seems like that, yeah. I heard weeks ago that I
was going to be on the new FU MANCHU record and nobody ever even
asked me! Then when it came down to it I said, "Well, I
just played on the ZOMBIE record so I don't think that I should do
another one right now."
- Between SABBATH, SLAYER and IRON MAIDEN you three must
account for about half of all the tribute record that are coming
out these days, have you heard anything that has impressed you as
far as a tribute to SLAYER's music?
KK I have heard like one or two and then I pretty much got
tired of making my ears bleed so I decided not to listen to them
any more.(laughs) I don't know what compilation it was but
there was one that had a band called GROPE and they did
"Spill the Blood" and I thought that one was pretty
- You were one of the first bands to combine Punk and
Metal in a way that seemed natural and nowadays you are as likely
to see a Punk kid wearing a SLAYER T-shirt, well maybe not wearing
a T-shirt. . .
KK Oh, they will wear 'em!(laughs)
- I remember the days when you could get beat up by other
wearing a Metal shirt or if you had a shaved head the longhairs
kick the shit out of you but that is all done now for the most
KK I remember those days too! Metal and Punk Rock did
not mix but we were like the unification of all that.
- Of those two factions you kind of lived mostly in the
Metal world but on the covers record you did it was all classic
Punk stuff which was so cool to hear. I never thought that I
would hear a Metal band cover DI's "Richard Hung
KK Oh hell yeah! We still talk about bringing that
into the live set but it is kind of a boring song to play live.
- Being a native Californian, did you ever get to see
bands like TSOL and DI back in the day?
KK I think that Jeff did, I don't think that I ever did.
- It would be cool to hear some of that in the set but
you have a good deal of your own stuff to play and it must be a
bit of a pain trying to put together a set list that has a little
something for everybody?
KK It gets harder every time.
- This time out with PANTERA you will only have about an
hour to play, right?
KK I think we are doing fifty minutes and PANTERA is doing
an hour and ten. Our record is not even going to be out
until mid-tour and then we go to Europe with it in September and
then we will be on a bit more but there are so many bands on it
that by that point in the show to do a long set, it really just
doesn't make sense. The people are dead and it gets boring.
- How many numbers from the new record are you going to
be able to fit in then?
KK With PANTERA I am only planning on doing two because if
you are only playing fifty minutes people want to see the shit
that they expect to see. I think that they want to hear a
little bit of the new shit but there is just so much old stuff to
- Are there numbers that you have all gotten together on
and said, "Hey, this one is ready for retirement?"
KK Who knows, I mean, after every tour some go away and some
come back. Like, "At dawn they Sleep" always gets taken
out and then it gets put back somewhere along the tour because
when you do the States it is two or three times back and forth for
every record and every time that we come through we try to play at
least something different otherwise it is people paying to see the
same show and that sucks.
- I have seen you in every size venue from 400 to 22,000,
where do you like to play most?
KK For me, the best place to play is probably a theater.
The arenas are cool and in an arena I will play a song like,
"Gemini" where if we are at a club I won't because in an
arena you have got mood and in a club you have got angst and
intensity so "Gemini" would just kill a club crowd but
if you do it in a big venue it works real well. A theater is
the best of both worlds.
- With this PANTERA tour bands are going to be loaded
onto and off the stage pretty quick so will you be having much in
the way of production?
KK Well, I have seen PANTERA on this tour and they have this
giant fire fucking thing that spews out dry ice and fire so they
have their guns blazing and we are just starting so we have got
the backdrop that we used on Tattoo the Earth and that was the
only place that we used that so we will probably do something a
little extra with that, I don't know, maybe bring in some sort of
lights that are particular for us but it is not going to be a full
blown SLAYER extravaganza until we come back through again.
I mean, what are we two weeks away?(laughs) The money and
the time in preparation, I mean, we spend a lot of time working on
the music rather than what we are going to do on stage. We
have got some cool ideas for when we hea-ine, we want people to
leave disturbed!(laughs) We have got some fucked up ideas if we
can pull them off.
- I don't suppose you would give any of them away?
KK Nope! If we don't end up doing them then we look
- Given that you played on the last PANTERA disc do you
inclination or is it planned for you to come out and jam a bit
KK All they got to do is ask me, they know that. I
don't assume that
they want me up there but everytime they come through town I do
with them so, we will see.
- After this PANTERA summer thing I suppose you will be
KK I would imagine but it depends on what comes up. I
have become pretty decent friends with ZOMBIE and I know he wants
to go out with us so if we went out with ZOMBIE in America we
would be opening for them for sure.
- That would be an evil night of music.
KK Oh yeah it would. I mean, ZOMBIE isn't full blown
evil but he puts on a show like he is!(laughs)
- (Laughing) Yeah, I know what you mean. I
think I referred to him once as "Heavy Metal-Disco" and
he didn't dig that at all!
KK Probably not!(laughs) When they were on Ozz-Fest I
was out there watching them everyday, well shit, I was playing
with them everyday too!(laughs)
- With all that you have done in the life of this band,
almost twenty fucking years too, is there a particular event that
you think about the most that justifies all the work involved in
being in SLAYER?
KK Probably the first time that we played Donnington.
For me, I used to buy the Kerrang's and that was like a Metal mag
from overseas and I was just like, "Wow, this is so
cool!" and to be able to go over there and play at Donnington
and to be on top of our game, we had a great show, it jut ruled!
- I would guess that that would be kind of like the
ultimate Metal thing, wouldn't it?
KK It was for me. I mean, we have been on a lot of
cool festivals but if you have to pick one, that is it.
(Desde USA, para Jedbangers)