Gene Ambo

Kerry King Reveals Why He Played Bass On Many Of Slayer’s Albums Instead Of Tom Araya


Earlier in the year, while discussing his then upcoming new eponymous project, Slayer guitarist Kerry King casually announced that he had been handling tracking the bass on Slayer‘s albums since the ’90s. As King told Rolling Stone in a chat published this past February, “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.”

It certainly wasn’t common knowledge at the time that Araya had only been laying down the vocals on a significant chunk of the catalog from the aforementioned thrash metal greats. In a recently published chat with Guitar World, King has now elaborated on why he assumed that role.

After describing his new solo release, “From Hell I Rise“, as “the first record I haven’t played bass on, probably, since the Nineties”, King was asked by the aforementioned publication why Araya wasn’t playing bass on Slayer‘s albums. King responded:

“We would always let Tom play bass until he got tired of not being good at it. In Tom’s defense, up to that point, he had never played the songs. It was always just me and Paul going through ’em. And then we get in the studio, it’s time to record. I think Tom’s got it in his head that he’s gonna be able to pull it off. But for anybody that’s never played a song before, to come in without knowing the music and get it up to recording level is not realistic.

So, if I’ve already done my guitar tracks, Jeff’s done his guitar tracks, And Tom doesn’t know the bass parts, I can pick up a bass and get it done in less than a day ’cause I already know the songs. It got to where he’d mess around and play one song for eight hours before he got frustrated and just said, ‘Here, you do it!’ I don’t want anybody to think for a second that he couldn’t do it if he had the time to learn it.”

Slayer surprisingly announced that they will be returning from retirement this year, after previously hanging it up back in 2019. This new reunion run will find the band playing the following shows this fall:

09/22 Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
09/27 Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life
10/10 Sacramento, CA – Aftershock

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