Slayer: Grave New World
Photo: Travis Shinn
GW In the past, Kerry, you’ve tracked all the rhythm guitar parts. Why is that, and did you do that on World Painted Blood?
KING I did track Jeff’s rhythm parts, and I used his rig and guitars. The only reason is that I usually track my stuff first, so I’m already dialed in to what the track is all about.
HANNEMAN Plus we both have different styles. We play well together, but we play a little differently. I learned a long time ago that if one guy plays both guitar parts it sounds much better. I just chose to let him do it because he’s usually quicker than I am. He’s not quicker in speed; he’ll just get it recorded faster. I fuck around too much. [laughs]
GW Kerry, do you ever track Tom’s bass parts to keep things moving in the studio?
KING If Tom wants me to. [When we were tracking] this album, he didn’t even know half my songs, because we made them up so quickly. He only came in a week before we went in the studio. I already knew them, but if he wanted to play them I was like, “Sure.” My idea of a perfect bass player is [Judas Priest’s] Ian Hill, who stands back there and plays his root note. I’m a guitar player—what do you expect me to say! [laughs] But sometimes after I get the two guitars down, I’ll sit down and write a third harmony for the bass. I did that on the intro to “Atrocity Vendor,” which came out really cool.
GW I also want to talk a little about Dave’s signature style. What about Dave’s playing makes him the perfect drummer for Slayer?
KING The oddness of Dave is that he’s a left-handed drummer playing a right-handed kit. Maybe that’s responsible for some of the bizarre stuff he pulls off. Other than that, even today when we play live he’ll make up stuff on the fly, and hopefully we’ll all land on the same spot. But it’s that recklessness that keeps us focused. The only thing you hear coming out of the monitors on my side of the stage is me and Dave. No vocals, Hanneman or anything. I need to hear myself and I need to follow Dave. Any more is just extra noise.
GW You guys are obviously in full-throttle Slayer mode right now. What you like to do when you’re off the clock?
KING I’m a football fanatic, and I also raise snakes. I got my first one after our first U.S. tour, when we used to stay at fans’ houses because we didn’t have any money. We stayed with a group of people, I think it was in Houston, who called themselves the Doom Society. They had a boa constrictor and they named it Slayer. So when I went home I got one and named it Venom, because I was way into that band back then. I stopped raising snakes in the late Nineties, because it was becoming more time consuming than my band. Then years later, when I met my wife, she wanted to get a snake, and I got back into it.
GW Jeff, you have pets too, right?
HANNEMAN I’ve got two Rottweilers. They’re the coolest. They love you to death. One is called Guderian Von Himmel, after the German General [Heinz] Guderian from World War II. The other one is named Slezia, after a German territory that used to be in Poland. My wife and I do serious commands in German, because if you say “No!” they aren’t going to listen. But when you say, “Nein!” they pay attention.
GW Before you join up with Manson for this summer’s Mayhem Fest, you’re heading out on a short Canadian run with Megadeth. Kerry, I know in the past you’ve been pretty outspoken about your less-than-positive feelings toward Dave Mustaine. Have things cleared up between you two?
KING I just don’t have any respect for Dave. As far as playing goes, I can’t take anything away from him. He’s awesome. But I know things. That’s not like, “Ooh, I know things.” I just know he’s a hypocrite, and I have no respect for that kind of person. But when I see him I’ll say, “What’s up Dave?” If he’s not an asshole to me, I won’t be one to him.
HANNEMAN Oh, it’s gonna be good. [laughs] I’m looking forward to it. If nothing happens between them I’m probably gonna have to instigate a little bit. [laughs] I like Dave, and obviously Kerry, but I also like to watch a good fight.
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