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Kerry King Explains Why He No Longer Speaks To His Ex-Slayer Bandmates Tom Araya & Dave Lombardo


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Rolling Stone‘s newly published interview with ex-Slayer guitarist Kerry King shines a bright light on the discord and the strained relations that have persisted since the legendary thrash metal band hung it up following a farewell tour.

That pioneering group concluded their decades-long run with a show at The Forum in Inglewood, CA on November 30th of 2019, and according to King, he and the band’s vocalist/bassist Tom Araya haven’t exchanged so much as a text or email since.

King, who is in the midst of launching his eponymous new solo project (read about it here), also spoke of apparently taking over for Araya in the studio on numerous studio albums from the band. He said of that, “Since the early Nineties I’ve done all the rhythm guitars and all the bass [on Slayer records]. I’ve always done bass because my guy [Tom Araya] really didn’t.”

As King would go on to reveal, the lack of communication between the pair isn’t exactly a new development. King found out about Araya‘s desire to retire from the band after Araya first made hints in an interview. King elaborated on that:

“We were on tour and some kid was interviewing him, and he said something about, ‘I’ve got to get together with Kerry and talk before we talk about the next record. He should have just said, ‘I’m probably not going to do another record’ or had that conversation with me before he mentioned anything like that.”

I was just assuming, ‘Oh fuck, what’s this going to be?’ And it was, ‘I’m done.’ Not what I expected. But if you made that decision, I’m not going to try to talk you out of it because your heart’s not going to be in it anyway.”

As for why he thinks Araya wanted to quit the band, King offered:

“I think just the wear and tear of the road. I think he wanted to be home. None of us are real spotlight seekers, but he’s certainly not. And when Jeff [Hanneman] was around, he was like a hermit. He did not want fame. I tolerate fame. Somebody’s got to be that guy.”

Tensions between King and Araya had publicly escalated in 2017, when Arya had shared a photoshopped photo of the band with former U.S. President Donald Trump on Slayer‘s social media. King would later publicly distance himself and the band from that image. However, as King told Rolling Stone in this latest interview of that:

“I was super pissed off at that — but not enough to fucking quit my band. I was like, ‘Dude, that’s what your personal social media is for. You’re the only one in this band that gives a shit about this idiot, and when you put it up there, we’re all backing him.’ And I am not [backing Trump], Gary’s not, Paul is not. That’s your opinion, not ours. I would never do that to you.”

Speaking of where his relationship with Araya sits now, King stated, “If Tom hit me up, I’d probably respond. It probably depends on what he hit me up for, but I don’t wish him dead at this moment.”

The same can’t entirely be said by King for the band’s ex-drummer Dave Lombardo. The latter, who was a co-founding member, did several stints in the band, but last parted ways in 2013 amid a publicized contractual dispute. Lombardo claimed during that dispute that the band’s accounting wasn’t sitting right with him, first stating in part:

“I discovered 90% of Slayer’s tour income was being deducted as expenses including the professional fees paid to management, costing the band millions of dollars and leaving 10% or less to split amongst the four of us.”

A year later, Lombardo would go on to publicly claim that in the year 2011 the band generated $4.4 million dollars and the band themselves only received $400,000. Lombardo also stated that he took home a lesser sum than Araya and King. Lombardo claimed that he initially had Araya on his side in having a forensic accountant look over the band’s books.

However, Lombardo would go on to allege that either management or someone else “flipped” Araya for a monetary sum, as Araya later stood against the idea of looking over the band’s financials, ultimately standing against Lombardo on the matter in the process.

King said of that incident and how it as handled:

“[Dave went on that tirade [see here] when we were on a flight to Australia, and he knew we couldn’t retort for 14 hours, and he threw me under the bus. I was the only one keeping him in the band. Tom wanted him out before that, and Jeff had just gotten the spider bite [causing him to contract a flesh-eating bacteria, forcing him off the road], so he wasn’t playing with us much. I said, “We need [Dave]. The fans won’t get it if we replace him right now.”

And then the Australia thing came up. He threw me under the bus, and I’m like, ‘I’m the guy that kept you here.’ So I thought, ‘Fuck that guy.'”

Speaking of his relationship with Lombardo now to Rolling Stone, King stated that Lombardo is “dead to me.” Addressing the contractual dispute mentioned above, King stated:

“He was listening to this woman that was his attorney at the time, and she thought we had Metallica money, which we’ve never had fucking Metallica money. So she’s just blowing shit in his ear, and he thinks he should be getting more than he should be getting. It’s like, talk to somebody that actually knows the situation and isn’t just blowing sunshine up your ass to make money in your commission.”

King also opened up on losing Jeff Hanneman and more in the interview. You can dig into it via Rolling Stone.

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