Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Slayer Guitarist Kerry King Sets the Record Straight: Backstage at the Jagermeister Tour

In 2009, Slayer released the album World Painted Blood. In typical Slayer fashion, it was far from your typical album--it is an album that holds its mettle, and its metal, from start to finish. kerry king slayer interview tricia weightAn epic album that defies labels such as speed metal and thrash. It goes beyond genre, just an incredible album that's sure to influence future, and current, musicians, as well as music lovers.

This is not the first time that Slayer has crossed genre lines to turn mainstream music on its head, nor is it the first time they've broken the boundaries of a tight niche to influence artists from a broad spectrum of musical backgrounds. It is the awesome musicianship of each member of Slayer that makes them such a kick-ass metal band and they have each been cited to me by other bands I've interviewed as the reason that many picked up their instruments in the first place.

Slayer has been nominated for four Grammy Awards, winning twice. That's one of the subjects that we spoke about when Slayer guitarist Kerry King and I sat down backstage for a live video interview during my live concert review of the Jagermeister Fall Music Tour. We also talked about the album, World Painted Blood. Kerry informed me that two more songs were finished but not released on the album, in his words, "There's more Slayer music lurking that people aren't aware of."

Youtube Video: Interviews From The Edge Slayer Kerry King
(Explicit language)

Most importantly in this video interview, Kerry King set the record straight, once and for all, on whether or not he used Dimebag Darrell's guitar, The Dean From Hell, on the album World Painted Blood. Dimebag Darrell and Kerry King are usually cited as a musical influence as though they were one entity and I guess in many ways they were. Their friendship is one that fueled both men in their musical creativity and inspired three generations of guitarists.

We talked about one of my favorite subjects "the guitar that got away". Kerry King actually had two of them: one stolen, one sold out from under him. I love those stories, you'll never hear a guitarist get more passionate than when he talks about the guitar, the one they regret losing, for whatever reason. Kerry's story has no happy ending however. Neither guitar was ever returned to him. We also talked snakes (uck), one of his favorite subjects, and who is snake-sitting his collection while Slayer is on tour.

We shared a great discussion on growing up with vinyl records. He recalled searching record stores with Slayer's other guitarist Jeff Hanneman, when they were coming up musically, looking for great albums just based on cover art. In his words "We rolled the dice. I mean, me and Jeff would go to mom and pop stores in Long Beach and one of us would buy something and the next one would buy something else... so we didn't all get stuck with shitty records. But we found some hidden gems in there too. That's how we found Mercyful Fate in the beginning."

We talked about which bands do his favorite Slayer covers: Children of Bodom's version of "Silent Scream" and Hatebreed's cover of "Ghosts of War." We discussed as well the Slayer album, Reign in Blood, which is the album that busted thrash metal through the musical glass-ceiling and into the mainstream. I told Kerry that it was unbelievable to me that back then even crap metal bands were playing arenas. "Poison!", he responded gleefully. "I'm not saying any names.", I told him. "Because I'll end up having to interview them and explain it to their publicists!" That made Kerry King and our videographer, Mark "Riz" Risley, from Riz's Rock Blog, bust out laughing. Nothing like putting the interviewer on the spot, right?

Over all, it was a great interview; we really had a lot of fun. And although the video is only 15 minutes we actually spent more than 20 minutes talking--with Kerry allowing me to call the wrap. We'll be using those outtakes eventually, I'm sure. Personally I could have sat with him for hours, he's just that cool and awesome to talk to, but the show was going to start and I had to set about the business of reviewing.

For further coverage you can check out the audio interview with Dave Lombardo. I had quite an amusing conversation with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, who sounded as if he didn't believe me when I mentioned bands who have cited Slayer, and him in particular, as their main musical influence, prompting me to cut in a segment from my up-coming interview with Diabolic drummer Aantar speaking about them. We also talked about his favorite fests to play and who influenced him to play drums.

Slayer was also mentioned as an inspiration in my interview with up-and-coming, unsigned New York metal band April's End lead guitarist Dan Buquicchio. I had told him that the most awesome thing about Slayer is that they actually love Slayer music, and that is as obvious on World Painted Blood as it is on any of their previous Slayer albums. Slayer's music has remained relevant all of these years because they were passionate when they made each album and they are still just as passionate when playing their own music, even 30 years later.

You can still catch Slayer headlining the Jagermeister Fall Music Tour along with guests Megadeth and Anthrax. You can listen to our audio interview with Anthrax vocalist Joey Belladonna and be sure to check back for our up-coming live backstage video interview with Anthrax lead singer Joey Belladonna and drummer Charlie Benante.

Jagermeister Fall Music Tour Schedule:

12 Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
14 War Memorial Coliseum, Ft. Wayne, IN
15 DeltaPlex, Grand Rapids, MI
16 Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI
19 Maverik Center, Salt Lake City, UT
20 The Pearl, Las Vegas, NV
21 Gibson Amphitheatre, Hollywood, CA


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