Kerry King didn’t tell his solo band that Slayer were reuniting: “I didn’t want anybody to start getting cold feet”

Kerry King 2023
(Image credit: Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Slayer guitarist Kerry King has said that he didn’t tell the members of his newly formed solo band that the thrash metal legends were reuniting.

King unveiled his long-anticipated solo project in early February, with its lineup rounded out by vocalist Mark Osegueda (Death Angel), co-guitarist Phil Demmel (ex-Machine Head), bassist Kyle Sanders (ex-Hellyeah) and drummer Paul Bostaph (Slayer).

The band’s debut album, From Hell I Rise, comes out Friday (May 17).

The comeback of Slayer, who retired in 2019 following an extensive farewell tour, was revealed only two weeks later. The thrashers announced three festival shows and reportedly have no plans to tour or record.

Now, King has said in an interview with Revolver that he intentionally kept his solo band in the dark about Slayer’s reactivation.

“The funny thing is, it never occurred to me until the day the Slayer announcement came, but [Phil] Demmel said, ‘Dude, is this real?’,” King says.

“And I’m, like, ‘It’s just a few weekends and that’s it.’

“Of course, Paul knew. But I didn’t tell Phil, I didn’t tell Kyle and didn’t tell Mark – and I said to the guys, ‘There’s no master plan here.’ I didn’t want anybody to start getting cold feet.

King continues: “I said, ‘This is a little moment in time, and yeah, Kerry King is going to be touring, you know, hopefully later in the year, as well. But Slayer is an entity and I’m just a person.’ But hopefully, we drive on with the solo project.”

King also reveals in the interview that Slayer turned down offers to reunite “probably every month of every year” during their inactivity.

“These three festivals are right around the five-year anniversary of our last tour, which I thought was kind of cool,” the guitarist adds to explain what changed.

“So, I thought this might be the right time to test the water. It will be great to play for the fans again.”

King stated in the new issue of Metal Hammer, where he’s the cover star, that the announcement of Slayer’s return mere weeks after his solo project’s unveiling “was not my favourite timing”.

“In Kerry King world, would I have wished that that announcement had taken place a few months later? Absolutely,” he said. “But that was out of my hands.

“The announcement came, and people got all excited or all pained about it, but hopefully when I release another song, the attention will switch back to my record.”

Demmel admitted in March that he was “caught […] off guard” by the news of Slayer reuniting.

“I didn’t know anything about it,” the guitarist told Good Company (via Blabbermouth).

“To have a Slayer gig announced before we’ve even played a show [with Kerry King’s solo band] was really weird to me.”

Demmel added: “Slayer’s none of my business – the whys and the whens, it’s none of my business.

“I had questions when I first heard [Slayer were coming back], and they were answered. And I’m a hundred percent at peace and good with everything that’s happening.”

King will tour extensively with his solo band until August 2024 and recently stated that he hopes to record his second solo album once the dates are done.

Order the new issue of Metal Hammer with King on the cover now and get it delivered directly to your doorstep.

Kerry King on the cover of Metal Hammer

(Image credit: Future (Cover shot: Travis Shinn))
Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.