KERRY KING: SLAYER retired 'too early'
Kerry King says that SLAYER retired “too early.”
The 57-year-old guitarist touched upon his band’s decision to call it quits while recording a short video message to congratulate MACHINE HEAD on the San Francisco Bay Area act’s 30th anniversary.
“So, I hear congratulations are in order for my friends in MACHINE HEAD,” King says in the clip. “Apparently, it’s 30 years, which is quite an achievement. Not a lot of bands get there. We did, and then we quit too early. Fuck us. Fuck me. I hate fucking not playing.”
King went on to say that MACHINE HEAD is “the only band” he ever “demanded to open for SLAYER.” The two groups shared the stage for the first time in 1994 when MACHINE HEAD had just released its debut album, “Burn My Eyes”.
SLAYER played the final show of its farewell tour in November 2019 at the Forum in Los Angeles. One day later, Kerry’s wife Ayesha King said that there is “not a chance in hell” that the thrash metal icons will reunite for more live appearances. In August 2020, she once again shot down the possibility of her husband and bassist/vocalist Tom Araya sharing the stage ever again under the SLAYER banner.
After Ayesha shared three photos of Kerry holding their cat in slideshow-type Instagram post, a fan wrote: “No Tom, No SLAYER Kerry. Stop thinking SLAYER without @tomarayaofficial”. Ayesha then replied: “don’t worry, they’ll never be SLAYER again! You can rest easy”.
That same month, SLAYER drummer Paul Bostaph confimed that he is involved in a brand new project headed up by Kerry King. The duo spent much of the last year and a half working on music with the hopes of recording it properly once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided.
Bostaph told Australia’s Riff Crew that the new band will “sound like SLAYER without it being SLAYER — but not intentionally so. I mean, Kerry’s been writing songs in SLAYER his entire career, and he has a style,” he explained. “And that style, as a songwriter, you just don’t change your style because your band is done… So, all I can say is if you like heavy music and you like SLAYER, you’ll like this.”
Just a few days earlier, Kerry told Dean Guitars that he had plenty of musical ideas for his upcoming project. “I’ve been very, very lucky with riffs in 2020,” he said. “Maybe because I can’t go anywhere — I don’t know — but riffs have certainly not been a problem. And looking forward into the future, what that means for me is I’m gonna be able to cherrypick the best stuff. And it’s good stuff. I’ve got more than two records’ worth of music, but to be able to go through that and cherrypick the best 11 or 12 songs… That first record should be smoking.”
When SLAYER first announced that it was embarking on its final tour back in January 2018, Ayesha assured fans that they would “always get music” from her husband.
King has said in previous interviews that his post-SLAYER musical efforts would not be much different from the sound fans have grown accustomed to hearing from him.
“If someone quit, I’m not going to go around with a made-up SLAYER,” he told AZCentral.com back in 2010. “But my next band would sound like SLAYER, that’s all I know.”
SLAYER’s final world tour began on May 10, 2018 with the band’s intention to play as many places as possible, to make it easy for the fans to see one last SLAYER show and say goodbye. By the time the 18-month trek wrapped at the Forum, the band had completed seven tour legs plus a series of one-off major summer festivals, performing more than 140 shows in 30 countries and 40 U.S. states.
Araya talked about his possible retirement in a 2016 interview with Loudwire. He said: “At 35 years, it’s time to collect my pension. (Laughs) This is a career move.” He continued: “I’m grateful that we’ve been around for 35 years; that’s a really long time. So, yeah, to me, it is. Because when we started off, everything was great, because you’re young and invincible. And then there came a time where I became a family man, and I had a tough time flying back and forth. And now, at this stage, at the level we’re at now, I can do that; I can fly home when I want to, on days off, and spend some time with my family, which is something I wasn’t able to do when my kids were growing up. Now they’re both older and mature. So now I take advantage of that.” Araya added: “Yeah, it just gets harder and harder to come back out on the road. 35 years is a long time.”
Tom also revealed another reason for his diminished enjoyment of the touring life. He said: “There’s things that have gone on in my life that have made me change how I play as a bass player. I had neck surgery, so I can’t headbang anymore. And that was a big part of what I enjoyed doing what I do — singing and headbanging. I liked knowing that I was one of the fucking badass headbangers. That played a big part. Now I just groove with the music, which is cool, because I’m grooving with the music and the feel of the songs, so that’s changed a little for me.”