SLAYER’s KERRY KING: ‘I Was Really Good at School until I Discovered Girls, and Then It was All Over’

In an interview with Metal Hammer, guitarist Kerry King told about his childhood and the role girls and Metal played into his life. Read some excerpts here:

“I was really good at school until I discovered girls, and then it was all over. It’s a good thing I didn’t plan on college or anything because I probably would have failed miserably. I was such a smart kid, but once high school came around and girls were in the picture, the grades went south. I remember in Junior High, I got the math award for the entire school, so marks weren’t a problem, but once you put the tits and the pussy in the equation, school went right out the door.”

“I didn’t really know what rebelling was. It’s funny, because I was doing math analysis in 12th grade, and the first semester I got an A and in the second semester I got an E. I was thinking, ‘Well, that’s enough of that!’”

On Metal:

“When I started to play guitar I got into heavy music, because I had older sisters so I knew what heavy music was. I found Judas Priest on the radio, various songs from the “British Steel” record, so I had to go and do my homework because the songs you heard on the radio were always “Breaking The Law” and “Living After Midnight,” and they’re not exactly the heaviest Priest songs. Before that I was really into Van Halen. I probably saw them six times on the first three albums, and that’s a pretty good place to start for a guitar player! It was a challenge to be like Eddie Van Halen back then, and it’s still a challenge now.”

On Slayer:

“I was in a band with my guitar teacher, and he was in a band with Tom [Araya, Slayer frontman]. That band fell apart and Tom was available and he lived a block away from my parents’ house so I tried to put a new band together, and once I got a couple of guys together who would make it worthwhile, I got Tom and we started playing. Everything began from that point.

We were just doing our own thing. We knew about Metallica. We obviously didn’t know about Anthrax at that point and Megadeth didn’t exist yet. I think we played with Metallica maybe once before they became a Bay Area band. But essentially it was just metal back then. ‘Thrash’ was a word that got used later on, long after we all came out.

I think we just did what we liked. We didn’t go out of our way to sound particularly different, except that it was us writing it, I guess. I was a big Venom fan, the first two records particularly, so I guess they had a big influence on me. We got to play with them on their first major tour of the States, and I was on cloud nine, you know? Seeing Cronos every night. That was a big deal to me. I remember seeing the “Witching Hour” video and I remember thinking, ‘These guys are the f*cking s*!’ It was f*cking awesome. I always wanted the darkest, most evil sh*t. It was all vinyl back then, so you’d go to the record store and you’d buy the album with either the flames or the devils or the skulls on it. You just threw the dice. I got a lot of great records that way. And some really s* ones, too.

Oh, people hated us! Now we come to town and everybody wants to hear “Evil Has No Boundaries” and “The Antichrist” and all the songs from that time, but when we first came out, most people absolutely hated what we were doing. But hey, I liked it. It doesn’t matter what critics say. It never did.”