During a recent interview with Rock Hard Magazine, Slayer guitarist Kerry King talked about censorship, first reaching the topic while discussing the band’s recent live debut in Singapore (transcribed by UG):
“We just played Singapore for the first time, and the day before we played we found out that the government came in and said, ‘Here are five songs you can’t play.’
“And I thought to myself, ‘How oppressed is your country when you’re scared of music and you think by us playing this song things are gonna happen to your children?’ It just doesn’t make sense to me.
“In the States – I know in California we had bus benches, we had like advertisements on bus benches, and the city had them all pulled.
“It blows me away because common sense to me is like, ‘If that offends you, don’t look at it.’ Maybe somebody else won’t be offended. And it’s just ironic in this day and age things like that can still happen.”
Asked if he thinks it’s “still important for a band like Slayer to offend people,” Kerry replied:
“I don’t think we’re trying to. [Laughs] We’re just making up music that we like and writing about subjects that we like and it just upsets people.
“I knew when we did ‘Jihad’ [off 2006’s ‘Christ Illusion’], that we’re gonna have to answer for it. That’s okay. But all the other ones – like I didn’t write ‘Cult’ [also off ‘Christ Illusion’] because I thought people are just gonna say, ‘These guys are the devil.’
“‘Cult’ is how I feel. I think religion is just a big farce and I think people use it as a crutch as opposed to dealing with the problems in their lives.
“I knew we were gonna get the exact kind of response [with ‘Jihad’]. Because it’s fresh. People say, ‘How can you write such a song?’ And realistically, it’s just like reading a newspaper, but it’s got music put underneath it.
“So you’ve got music and you’re reading an editorial from some Muslim country. And because we didn’t condemn it – just like we didn’t do on ‘Angel of Death’ – that makes us Muslim sympathizers? It’s crazy… People got too much time on their hands to think about what Slayer’s doing. Just listen to the music and have fun!”
Asked if he thinks censorship can sometimes be justified, King replied:
“I don’t think so. Because I think people should be allowed to make their own choice.
“I think people should think for themselves, I think people should listen to music because they like it, not because they’re listening to it to pick things out that are wrong with it.
“We’re not all adults, there are children on the planet… but I’m all about answering for what I do. I said about the bus bench – if you don’t like music don’t listen to it. If you don’t like the TV show – watch another TV show. If you don’t like horror movies, go see ‘Click,’ go see a comedy.
“There are choices. You don’t have to listen to this. It’s not when we put out a record and it’s mandatory listening for everyone on the planet. It’s not like that. You have a choice.”