Kerry King turned down his Sum 41 guest solo 10 times – here's what changed his mind

[L-R] Kerry King and Deryck Whibley
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Responsible for some of the most vicious guitar riffs ever conceived, you’d be forgiven for thinking Kerry King exclusively channels his six-string prowess into the metal genre.

You might be surprised, then, to find out that the hulking Slayer man once contributed a solo to a song by Ontario, Canada punk rockers, Sum 41. That song was the upbeat, powerchord-driven What We’re All About, the group’s 2002 single for the soundtrack of Spider-Man, released in the same year.

As King explains in a new interview with Metal Hammer (opens in new tab), he had turned down the opportunity to play electric guitar on the track “10 times”, but ultimately agreed to do it at the request of his record label at the time.

“A friend of mine at the label came to me at an angle that I just couldn’t argue with,” the guitarist recalls. “He was like, ‘Well, you know you played on the Beastie Boys record [1987’s No Sleep Till Brooklyn].’ Fuck! Haha, he’s got a point! That was my epiphany. That was before we put ourselves back on the map – those dudes were fun and they were popping.

“So, yeah, I played on the Beastie Boys record and I played on the Sum 41 record. I mean, those weren’t choices for me, those were just career choices I made. Some people may agree with them and some people may not.”

Kerry King

(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the interview, King recalls his anger when the idea to call Slayer quits first surfaced.

“It was premature,” he says. “The reason I say ‘premature’ is because my heroes from my childhood are still playing! I can still play, I still want to play, but that livelihood got taken away from me. But anyway, on to the next chapter, I guess. 

“We were on top of the world, it’s a good way to go out. So, bravo for that. But do I miss playing? Yeah, absolutely.”

He adds that “every one of those shows” on Slayer’s farewell tour was a “bummer”.

“We were going to all these places and all these cities where we have all this history. We probably have as much history in London as we do LA… well, not LA, but you know what I mean. It’s a bummer to think, ‘I’m not gonna see my friends there again.’

“You’d get to that country and know you were going to see these people, and you’d see them yearly. I haven’t seen them now in three years! That sucks! And the fans, too. Slayer means a lot to our fans, and they mean a lot to us. I know I will see these people again, but no Slayer leaves a big hole for a lot of people.”

Read the full interview with Kerry King in the new issue of Metal Hammer (opens in new tab).

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Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar (opens in new tab).

With contributions from