Kerry King is viewed as arrogant

FESTIVAL: Slayer: «We love to break taboos»

FESTIVAL: Slayer: «We love to break taboos»

Next weekend, Slayer, one of the most important metal bands, is coming to the «Allmend rockst» in Lucerne: guitarist Kerry King talks about loud tones about religion and politics.

Interview with Olaf Neumann

Slayers once enriched heavy metal with a new variety: thrash metal. 34 years after their founding, the heather gray Californians are still active and active.

And how: The important industry magazine “Metal Hammer” named the loud high-speed rockers the “best international band of 2015”. Kerry King, 51-year-old guitarist, songwriter and Grammy Award winner, is the only member of the quartet who does not have a long-haired mat, but a bald, artistically tattooed skull.

Kerry King, how did you find your creativity again after the death of band founder and co-songwriter Jeff Hanneman in 2013?

Kerry King: After Jeff passed away, I did what he always did: making songs with dark, creepy moods. I wanted part of him to stay with us. One of the first songs was “When The Stillness Comes” with drummer Paul Bostaph and me in the rehearsal room. But it wasn't until Tom Araya sang the accompanying text that it became clear how great this number really is.

Why could Jeff Hanneman no longer be saved?

King: Jeff didn't know what it was like not to drink for once. His first reach when he woke up was for the Heineken bottle. That's just how he was. Basically, Jeff was a happy person. If he were still with us today, he would certainly have changed some of his behavior voluntarily. Anyway, I couldn't help him, which sucks at times. It was strange to watch his life slowly go down the drain.

Did you learn anything from Jeff Hanneman's death?

King: Jeff and I had a lot in common, but also differences. Life is a learning process, my day today is not only made up of alcohol, I also drink water from time to time. I'm getting older and watching my diet. My cholesterol level is happy if I only eat a steak every other day. That doesn't reduce the fun in life.

Is your music a mirror of society?

King: Yes and no. I don't write precisely about social phenomena, but rather make general statements. I don't feel like writing about American politics. Everyone hates their government somehow. When I make political statements, I always make them in such a way that someone else can identify with them.

Do your songs help you understand the dark side of being human?

King: Absolutely. Right from the start, we wrote about things that people don't like to talk about. We love breaking taboos. We are very arrogant and don't care what "society" thinks of us. We are not esoteric weirdos, our texts always have a real background. It is a fact that humans ruin the earth.

Can you understand that many people think more and more extreme when it comes to religion or politics?

King: Every nation has a different society, so I mainly made my observations in America, which is where I come from. I have the feeling that many believers are deliberately brainwashed, they don't want to develop their own opinions. It was different in my generation, we were much more open. I have nothing against religious people, everything is wonderful. But if someone becomes religious because they have been told that, I have a problem with that.

Can your music set an example for tolerance and acceptance?

King: Maybe, yes. In everything I say publicly about my music, I never fail to mention that I am an atheist. In songs like “Disciple” or “Cult” I attack religion, but I don't try to manipulate anyone. I just want to share my thoughts with others and start discussions. Maybe these songs open eyes.

Which event inspired you to write the song “Pride In Prejudice”?

King: Among other things, the riot in Ferguson. Tom wrote the original version of this song 20 years ago, and then I refreshed it with a text about the hate in Ferguson. The authorities there have screwed everything up by trying to use the police as if they were military. That culminated in a terrible misfire. How they tried to resolve the conflict there was laughable.

And such events make you aggressive and aggressive?

King: The aggression comes from myself and from my observations. Humanity is a virus. And this virus also lives in me with its good and bad properties. I don't necessarily have to write about what I specifically don't like about our society, but I use my anger about the conditions when I make music.

Last question: How is your hearing after 35 years in the heavy metals business?

King: Not that bad at all. Tom, on the other hand, is as deaf as a nut, that's because he had turned his monitor boxes all the way up for years. I like loud music, but it shouldn't hurt. That saved me.


Slayers play on Saturday, June 4th, in front of Rammstein at the «Allmend rockst» in Lucerne. There are currently no tickets for the festival Friday or Saturday. Info: