It’s impossible to imagine Slayer without guitarist Kerry King, but he temporarily jumped ship to join Megadeth right at the beginning of both band’s respective careers.
How good would that have been? Pretty amazing if YouTube footage of the gig King played with Dave Mustaine and co at the Keystone in Berkeley, California on April 15, 1984 is anything to go by.
The quality may be fairly grainy, but even that can’t hide the fact that this is a band that’s absolutely on fire – and that crowd knows it.
Check out the setlist too: not only are the 'Deth playing songs such as Chosen Ones, The Skull Beneath The Skin and Rattlehead that would end up on debut album Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good the following year, but they also bust out tracks that eventually appeared on second album Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying?, including The Conjuring, Bad Omen, Devil’s Island and Good Mourning/Black Friday. Oh, and Kerry King playing on The Mechanix (aka The Four Horsemen)? Yeah, we'll take a bit of that too.
Kerry recently spoke to Metal Hammer’s Rich Hobson about his five-show stint in Megadeth in the spring of 1984.
“Oh it was killer,” King says. “The only reason I considered it is because I was such a big Mustaine fan – I saw him play with Metallica when they were still a southern California band. It blew me away that he’d be up there ripping on guitar, not even looking at what he was doing. I can’t even fuckin’ fathom the idea of doing that!
“It was funny how it all came to be – we’d play similar guitars and somebody at BC Rich suggested to him to hit me up or whatever so I didn’t even have to try out. I played the first five shows and it was a good time and I was just honoured that he wanted me to help him out whatever comes out of it. Its funny – when we did The Big Four shows together Mustaine took me aside and said ‘You know, you and me are the only guys who have played in two of the Big Four!’”
King adds that his brief tenure in Megadeth was never meant to be permanent, not least because Slayer’s own debut album, Show No Mercy, was already out. “Dave wanted me to stay around, but I didn’t have any reason to stay around because I had Slayer.”
It would be another 26 years before the pair played a Megadeth song onstage together again, when King joined Mustaine's band onstage at the Gibson Theater in LA on October 21, 2010 to blast through Rattlehead.