“Stepping into the Slayer situation and learning 19 songs on the flight over to Europe made a good impression”: How Phil Demmel nailed one of the biggest gigs in metal – and became Kerry King’s six-string wingman

Phil Demmel plays a polka-dotted Jackson V onstage in London with Kerry King's new band
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It might have been a coincidence, or maybe an evil act of fate. But a major volatile career move put Phil Demmel in the front of the line to be the second guitarist for Kerry King, a gig Demmel now proudly holds.

In September 2018, following a 15-year tenure with Machine Head, Demmel quit the band – and lost the paycheck it provided – due to personal differences with frontman Robb Flynn.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Jon Wiederhorn

Jon is an author, journalist, and podcaster who recently wrote and hosted the first 12-episode season of the acclaimed Backstaged: The Devil in Metal, an exclusive from Diversion Podcasts/iHeart. He is also the primary author of the popular Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Metal and the sole author of Raising Hell: Backstage Tales From the Lives of Metal Legends. In addition, he co-wrote I'm the Man: The Story of That Guy From Anthrax (with Scott Ian), Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen (with Al Jourgensen), and My Riot: Agnostic Front, Grit, Guts & Glory (with Roger Miret). Wiederhorn has worked on staff as an associate editor for Rolling Stone, Executive Editor of Guitar Magazine, and senior writer for MTV News. His work has also appeared in Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Yahoo.com, Revolver, Inked, Loudwire.com and other publications and websites.