During an appearance on this week’s edition of VH1 Classic’s “That Metal Show”, SLAYER guitarist Kerry King revealed: “What people don’t know [is that] beyond [the new SLAYER album], there’s six more [songs] towards the next one that are already recorded. So we did a lot.”
SLAYER’s forthcoming album will feature one song which was written by the band’s late guitar Jeff Hanneman and originally laid down during the sessions for 2009’s “World Painted Blood”.
“When Jeff got injured, I started making up boatloads of stuff, because I didn’t know, if Jeff contributed at all, how much he was gonna contribute,” Kerry said. “So I just took it upon myself to say, ‘Hey, man, if I get too much stuff, good for me.’ It turns out Jeff didn’t contribute anymore.”
He continued: “[Jeff’s song] on this record is ‘Piano Wire’, from the [‘World Painted Blood’] recording session. We had [Paul] Bostaph play drums to the existing track. Tom [Araya] re-sang it. So that’s Jeff’s contribution to this record. And then on the follow-up — assuming there is as a follow-up — we have another one that we don’t have lyrics for yet.”
Asked about the initial reports which erroneously suggested that Jeff’s playing was actually going to be included on the next SLAYER album, Kerry said: “It’s his writing [and] I think the assumption was, [since] it’s Jeff’s song, [and] we recorded it for the ‘World Painted Blood’ tracks, [people] assumed Jeff played on it, but as everybody knows, I’ve done Jeff’s rhythm tracks [on SLAYER albums] since the ’90s. And he has no lead on it, so it’s only me.”
Regarding how it felt to record a SLAYER album for the first time without Hanneman involved in the process, King said: “The weirdest thing for me was just the lack of [his] presence. Because if I played all the stuff, which I had been doing, that part was the same, but having the guy that I wrote all the records with all those years not be there, that was really weird. And then it was just me and Tom, pretty much.”
Kerry also spoke about the contributions to the songwriting sessions by current SLAYER touring members Gary Holt (guitar, also of EXODUS) and Paul Bostaph (drums). He said: “Paul, you know, I would show him the songs I’d bring in. A lot of times I’d just turn him loose, ’cause he’s got good ideas. Then Holt, we had Holt play on seven, eight songs, guitar-lead wise. I figured… Personally, I thought that’s how the fans would accept Gary being on any part of a SLAYER record to start with. So I wanted to start there.”
King was full of praise for Holt, who began filling in for Hanneman at live shows in 2011, and became the band’s full-time co-guitarist as of 2013, while remaining a member of EXODUS.
“The scenario, as lousy as it is, is the best scenario it could have been, I think,” Kerry said. “[Gary has] been playing with us almost five years now. And everybody knows Holt, because EXODUS has been around as long as we have. I’ve known him thirty years. I can’t think of a better replacement that’s ever happened, except maybe Brian Johnson and AC/DC.”
According to King, Hanneman was a fan of Holt’s playing and approved of having Gary filling in for him on tour when he first got sick. “Absolutely,” Kerry said. “We were friends from Day One. I remember destroying hotel rooms with EXODUS when we were, like, twenty. Our history goes way, way back, and Holt, to me, is probably the best player in the genre that didn’t get the respect he deserved. So I’m glad to have been able to help that get to more people.”
King also touched upon SLAYER’s latest split with drummer Dave Lombardo and return of Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER’s drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the band.
“It is funny… We were flying to Australia [in February 2013] when Dave [put out] his big ‘press release’ [announcing that he was not going to be doing the tour with us], so to speak,” Kerry said. “And I land in Australia and my phone’s just blowing up with texts. I’m, like, ‘What happened?’ ‘Cause I’ve been here fourteen hours, and I have no idea. And the first [message] was from Paul Bostaph, saying, ‘Hey, man, if you need anything, I’m ready to go.'”
He continued: “People have mentioned to me, and I didn’t know, that Paul has his little group of SLAYER fans that are just Bostaph fans [that] actually like him better than Dave. I never knew that.”