Slayer: Grave New World
GW Jeff, were your parents influential in helping you get into music?
HANNEMAN Kerry had the supportive dad and got all the money and stuff from him. My dad was one of those hardcore guys that would say, “You’re never gonna make it.” [laughs] But there’s no bitterness there. [laughs] Fuck it, I don’t care. Kerry was just brought up differently than I was. Plus, it’s irrelevant now, isn’t it? But I just loved music: from Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, all the way to Sex Pistols and punk. Then one day, I can’t tell you at what exact age, I just realized that I wanted to play guitar because it was cool.
GW So you were listening to lighter stuff like Zeppelin and Aerosmith. Can you point to a moment in your own past that led you down the path of extreme metal?
HANNEMAN I guess Zeppelin is some happy stuff compared to us. It’s pretty hippy, too. The only thing I can put my finger on is, back when I was listening to Zeppelin and Aerosmith and whoever, I remember always liking the heavier songs. I knew that if I were ever in a band it would be all about being heavy and dark. At this point it’s an unwritten rule for us to always sing about the dark side. We just do it. But I do know that in the beginning I always hated the love songs, and the happy, hippy ones, too.
KING Sure it’s a nice, sunny day here, but the world is not all flowers. And there’s five billion bands singing about the flowers. I just like to put things in perspective…hardcore style. [laughs] And I’m not into the flowers, anyway. [laughs] I don’t know the exact thing that made me so aggro. That’s something for the psychoanalysts to figure out.
GW Were you rebellious as kids?
KING Not really, because I was always worried about ramifications from my dad. My dad is 40 years older than me, and both my parents are old-fashioned. I stayed in line or I’d get hit. My dad would make me go out and pick the tree branch that I wanted to get hit with. I’d be like, “How about that little one over there.” [laughs] Or he’d cut off a piece of the garden hose. That’s true fear, man. Now if you hit your kids it’s, “Oh, that’s wrong.” Fuck you. I got hit and I’m fine. Or maybe that’s exactly my problem. [laughs]
HANNEMAN Wow. I’ve never heard that story. My dad was very into discipline, too. But I still rebelled. Me and my dad were so much alike that we would just butt heads. I pretty much hated him from the age of 16 to 24 for no real reason. My mentality was that I’d never let him win. I remember every once in a while he’d grab me by the throat and I would be like, [assuming a defiant stance] “Come on!” But after the age of 24 he became my hero. I loved the guy to death.
GW So, Kerry, you walked a pretty straight path when you were younger. Were you good in school, too?
KING Yeah, up until my senior year when I found chicks. [laughs] Then it was all over. In junior high I got the math award for the whole school, and by 12th grade I was in math analysis. But when I found girls, numbers just didn’t make sense anymore. I didn’t get it. And I used to own that shit. It’s weird how quickly it fell apart: A’s, A’s, A’s, D’s. [laughs]
GW Let’s talk a bit about the writing for World Painted Blood. Since 2001’s God Hates Us All you guys have been mostly writing independently and bringing in tracks for the rest of the band. What are your home-demoing processes like?
HANNEMAN I have a drum machine at home that I use to work out my stuff. Then I come to practice with a CD and say, “Here’s the song idea, what do you think?”
KING I basically map out the song at home so I have a method to my madness when I come into the studio. I have this old cassette player that I got from Radio Shack. It’s the same thing I’ve been using since Slayer’s beginnings. I just never graduated to the drum machine and the four-track like Jeff. I don’t know how he has the patience to do it, because Jeff is not a patient man. [laughs] I’d rather play guitar and keep my ideas happening than have to stop and play around with the drum machine. I know in my head what I want the drums to be like, so when I go in I just convey that to Dave. It’s funny because we were rehearsing for this album and I’d be bringing in cassettes like, “Well, here’s the new song.” And they had to look around to find something to play it on. [laughs]