Slayer’s King concerned over lack of metal role models

Slayer guitarist Kerry King says some successful young bands are missing the opportunity to inspire future musicians the way he was first moved by the giants of metal back in the day.

Growing up on a steady diet of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, among others, helped motivate King to form Slayer with Jeff Hanneman as a teenager.

Now, King reveals he’s having trouble seeing the next generation develop into hard rock and metal role models of their own.

King tells Metal XS: “We were at a festival in South America somewhere, and they feed you a live feed of the stage, so you can watch it like you’re out front. And I was watching a band, and I went over to Gary Holt and I said,’ Gary, if I was a kid and these were my heroes, I would never pick up an instrument.’

“They didn’t compel me to wanna be them, and I think that’s what’s missing in younger music… There’s not a vibe. You look at some bands these days, and I’ve got nothing against roadies, ‘cause I love my crew, but these bands look like roadies. It looks like they’re just up there rehearsing, and that doesn’t inspire me to wanna play guitar and be just like ‘em.”

He continued: “When I was a kid, I looked up to people like Ted Nugent, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhoads… you know, people that are, like, ‘Man, I wanna be like that guy.’ And I don’t see that in new bands. And maybe it’s because I’m older and I don’t know what’s cool — I doubt that — but that’s my opinion.”

King also paused to assess the status of the current rock and metal scene.

He says: “I think a lot of new bands really get popular because of fads, and fads come and go and they never stay. Metal is certainly not a fad. Hard rock is not a fad; it’s something that’s gonna be here forever. Unfortunately, in the metal community, I haven’t seen the next surgence.”

Slayer issued their 11th album Repentless earlier this month, accompanied by a prison-themed video for the project’s title track.

The record sees the debut of Gary Holt in the studio in place of the late Hanneman, who died in 2013 at the age of 49 from liver failure brought on by alcohol-related cirrhosis.

The veteran thrash outfit will launch the Repentless world tour next week with an appearance on Motorhead’s second annual Motorboat cruise before playing three shows in Japan early next month.

Slayer will return to the UK in November for a series of dates with Anthrax.