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KERRY KING explains why PHIL DEMMEL was the right guitarist for solo band

Says he is still tight with Gary Holt


In a new interview with Meltdown of Detroit’s WRIF radio station, Kerry King was asked if he felt more pressure writing music for his upcoming solo album, “From Hell I Rise”, than he did putting ideas together for SLAYER. He responded: “I understand the question, but I’m pretty nonchalant in putting music together and it’s the same formula. I’ve got my comfort blanket in (SLAYER and KERRY KING drummer) Paul Bostaph here making stuff up with me. So it was very business as usual just with a handful of different new guys.”

Asked if he had ever floated any of the ideas for “From Hell I Rise” by his SLAYER bandmates Gary Holt and Tom Araya before he recorded them, Kerry said: “No. It has nothing to do with them. Gary‘s heard a couple songs since they’ve come out, and he sends me a text all the time saying how heavy it is and how much he loves it. So, if people think that me and Holt had a falling out, nothing could be farther from the truth. We’re still tight. We’re looking forward to playing together later in September for the SLAYER reunion shows. And he’s still a fan cheering me on, which is super cool.”

King went on to say that he originally had Holt in mind for his solo project but that he eventually decided against it because he wanted to keep some of the SLAYER pieces out of his new band. He explained: “The more pieces I took, the more ammunition there would be for people that are gonna hate it anyway. So I said, ‘Gary, I’m gonna have to go a different way.’ I originally thought about using producer Terry Date, who produced SLAYER‘s last record, but, again, it was another SLAYER piece, and I just wanted to stay away from that. So, luckily I got turned on to Josh Wilbur, and we hit it off great. And he made a monster of a record. I’m very proud of what he did.”

King spoke in more detail about why he chose to enlist Phil Demmel on second guitar over Holt during a recent interview with Revolver magazine. He said: “I started to realize that the more pieces I take from SLAYER, the more it’s gonna be called ‘SLAYER Lite.’ I mean, of course it’s gonna sound like SLAYER; I wrote 90 percent of the last record. But if I take less with me from SLAYER, there’ll be less for people to stand on, as far as making lazy comparisons. If I had to do SLAYER over again after late SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman who died in 2013, 110 times out of a 100, I would pick Gary Holt. He was the right guy. But the perception of people, it weighs on me, and I don’t want to deal with that.

“I love Gary. He’s a great player,” Kerry clarified. “But I already had my one dude from SLAYER I was definitely keeping. And Phil had only played four gigs with SLAYER, so that comparison wasn’t going to be there; also, he impressed the fuck out of me when he came out to do those Europe gigs. It was just a couple of days after his MACHINE HEAD tour had ended, and he learned 18 or 20 of our songs on short notice. He also had to learn our stage tempos, and where the pyro was. If JUDAS PRIEST had asked me to come out in four days and figure all that out, I couldn’t have done it. But Phil did it for us.”

SLAYER guitarist Kerry King‘s solo band played its first show ever Tuesday night (May 7) at Reggies in Chicago, Illinois. He displays 9 songs that have not been released at this stage.

The group’s 17-song setlist included six SLAYER tracks as well as 11 of the 13 songs that appear on King‘s upcoming debut solo album, “From Hell I Rise”, which is due on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music.

The setlist for the concert was as follows:
01. Where I Reign(live debut)
02. Toxic (live debut)
03. Rage (live debut)
04. Repentless (SLAYER song)
05. Two Fists (live debut)
06. Residue (live debut)
07. Hate Worldwide (SLAYER song)
08. Idle Hands (live debut)
09. Trophies Of The Tyrant (live debut)
10. Chemical Warfare (SLAYER song)
11. Everything I Hate About You (live debut)
12. Disciple (SLAYER song)
13. Shrapnel (live debut)
14. Crucifixation (live debut)
15. Raining Blood (SLAYER song)
16. Black Magic (SLAYER song)
17. From Hell I Rise (live debut)

In a recent interview with Metal Hammer magazine, King stated about the setlist for his solo band’s shows: “For this coming summer in Europe, we’re gonna do like nine or 10 tracks from the album and, depending on set length, fill it with stuff I’ve done — something I wrote in SLAYER or co-wrote. So nobody can say ‘he’s playing Jeff (Hanneman, late SLAYER guitarist) songs,’ because although I love Jeff songs and he was such a big part of my life, I don’t want to rely on it this year, this album cycle. At some point, I will play ‘Angel Of Death’, but there’s so many fucking faceless haters on the Internet, I don’t want to give them ammunition.”

All material for “From Hell I Rise” was written by the 59-year-old SLAYER guitarist, who was accompanied during the recording sessions by the rest of his solo band, consisting of drummer Paul Bostaph (SLAYER),bassist Kyle Sanders (HELLYEAH),guitarist Phil Demmel (formerly of MACHINE HEAD) and Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL) on vocals. Helming the sessions at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles last year was producer Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with KORNLAMB OF GODAVENGED SEVENFOLD and BAD RELIGION, among others.

King‘s debut solo album, “From Hell I Rise”, will be released on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music. All material for the LP was written by the 59-year-old musician, who was accompanied during the recording sessions by guitarist Demmel, drummer Paul Bostaph (SLAYER), bassist Kyle Sanders (HELLYEAH) and vocalist Mark Osegueda (DEATH ANGEL). Helming the sessions at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles last year was producer Josh Wilbur, who has previously worked with KORNLAMB OF GODAVENGED SEVENFOLD and BAD RELIGION, among others.

KERRY KING will be special guest on the upcoming LAMB OF GOD/MASTODON North American “Ashes Of Leviathan” co-headline tour. The six-week run will launch on July 19 in Grand Prairie, Texas and will wrap on August 31 in Omaha, Nebraska. KERRY KING will make the band’s 2024 concert debut in May, first at the Welcome To Rockville festival (May 9), followed by Sonic Temple Arts & Music Festival (May 16). They are also confirmed for Hellfest, in France, this Summer. 

This past December, it was announced that VIO-LENCE will return to the stage in April 2024 for a special eight-date headlining tour during which they will perform their classic 1988 debut album, “Eternal Nightmare”, in its entirety. The trek runs from April 5 in Cambridge, Massachusetts through April 13 in Chicago, Illinois. Support at the dates will come from EXHORDERDECEASED and MORTAL WOUND.

At some of VIO-LENCE‘s recent shows, the band’s touring lineup consisted of classic-era vocalist Killian alongside more recent additions, drummer Adrian Aguilar (EXMORTUS),guitarist Miles Dimitri Baker (VOIDBRINGERINTERLOPER, ex-RINGS OF SATURN),bassist Christian Olde Wolbers and guitarist Ira Black (VICIOUS RUMORSHEATHENMETAL CHURCH). Notably, those dates featured only Killian from the VIO-LENCE lineup that played its first comeback gig in April 2019 at the Oakland Metro in Oakland, California.

VIO-LENCE played its first show with Aguilar in February 2023 at the Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, California. Aguilar joined VIO-LENCE following the departure of Strickland.

Although MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn was part of VIO-LENCE‘s classic incarnation and played on “Eternal Nightmare”, he wasn’t approached about taking part in the band’s reunion.

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