"Maybe Kerry King gets in and Slayer doesn’t." Kerry King gives his take on the state of metal in 2024, and how he feels about metal not being properly acknowledged by the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame

Kerry King studio portrait
(Image credit: Andrew Stuart Photography)

Kerry King knows a thing or two about metal. Lead guitarist in Slayer since 1981 and now an established solo musician in his own right with 2024's From Hell I Rise he's had a firm hand in how the genre has developed over the past 40 years. But when it comes to the genre's future - and the state of the scene as it stands right now - he doesn't share the same concerns as others who worry about metal's health. 

In fact, asked about the topic for a Q&A event in Germany, he seemed pretty cheerful about it all. 

“I think metal music is fine," he says. "There’s a lot of everyone’s heroes still playing – a lot of my heroes still play. Most of the Big Four still play, I’m still playing… There’s lots of new bands too. I don’t get CDs as much now so it tends to be a lot of satellite radio when I’m on the West Coast rehearsing and renting cars, but I hear a lot of bands doing interesting shit that is important." 

"Because I’m driving I don’t take notes," he admits. "But it’s good for the future of metal that it’s not just old bands and fans. The metal community is pretty unique – there’s a lot of camaraderie, not just between the bands but between bands and fans. I’ve said it a bunch today – if I’ve ever given someone a bad experience, apologies. I take care of people wanting photos, autographs… the thing is to make people walk away with a happy experience. I’ve walked away from some unhappy experiences, thinking ‘why was that so fucked up?’”

As part of the interview, King was also asked about how he felt about the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame. There have been plenty of debates about who should and shouldn't be part of the institution [and seemingly will be until the end of time], but he remained fairly diplomatic in his feelings about Slayer's inclusion in the ranks.  

“I’m more honoured by the number of people who complain about us not being in there," he replied when asked if he was bothered about not being included. "It’s not something that’s going to make or break my life, by any means. If we get in, cool. Do I think we should be in? Abso-fucking-lutely. But it doesn’t make or break who I am. Now I’m solo – so maybe Kerry King gets in and Slayer doesn’t. Who knows? I went there actually for the first time seven or eight years ago. It’s way cooler than expected.”

The inductees for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame include Cher, Foreigner and Ozzy Osbourne. The induction ceremony is set to take place on October 19 in Cleveland, Ohio. Fans can also watch the ceremony live via Disney+.

Kerry King resumes touring in the US on July 19. For the full list of tour dates, visit his official website. From Hell I Rise is out now via Reigning Phoenix. 

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.