Slayer guitarist and co-founder Kerry King doesn’t listen to much new music. He sticks to the classic metal outfits that inspired him around when he, Dave Lombardo, Jeff Hanneman and Tom Araya started playing together as Slayer in 1981. The only guilty pleasure to speak of on King’s iPod is a compilation of South Park Christmas carols. Otherwise, he sticks to the old stuff: Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath.
Neither King’s taste in music nor the sound of his band have changed much over the years — even though the lineup has, in the wake of Lombardo’s split in 1992 and Hanneman’s death in 2013.
“If Slayer ended tomorrow, I’d be in a band that sounds just like Slayer, because that’s all I know how to make up,” King says.
In the past four years, King has been making a lot of it up on his own. Hanneman, who wrote many of Slayer’s classic songs, died after a spider bit him and he contracted necrotizing fasciitis. During Hanneman’s illness, King took the reins and began writing new material, some of which the group will play tonight, Wednesday, August 2, at the 1STBANK Center.
“I was really just going for good stuff more than ever,” King says. “Ninety-five percent of it was put on my shoulders for the first time. I wanted to make sure that I had a record that wasn’t only awesome in my eyes but pretty much bullet proof. More so than ever. You know how the internet is. So many people say, ‘Jeff’s not here. Dave’s not here. It isn’t the same.’ I said, ‘Yes, motherfucker. It is the same.’ I mean, there are some differences. I don’t want to belittle that. But the Slayer machine keeps on going.”
The songs King wrote during his bandmate’s illness and after his death…
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