Headbangers argue all day whether Slayer is the greatest heavy metal band ever. And 25 years into the band's unparalleled career, a smaller number of music fans -- not all them metalheads -- claim the thrash kings are one of the best rock bands ever, hands-down, period. But here's one undisputed superlative: No group's fans are so ready to carve a band's logo into their flesh.
Read more about Slayer in this week's Scene. The story features an interview with guitarist Kerry King, a legendary hellion. The lifelong metal fan has been let down by Metallica and Megadeth, but in recent years, no California institution has disappointed him more than the Oakland Raiders.
"The Raiders are gonna get it together when they get a coach that has a nut sac," King told Scene shortly before the team hired Lane Kiffin. "They haven't had one since Gruden, and they let him leave town. It's been a horrible five years. It's not an enviable place to go unless they get an upstart offensive or defensive coordinator. I don't think any established coach is going to come to Oakland because they've got to work with Davis. I still watch football every day. That's my church, man."
Some other quick interview excerpts that didn't make the story:
The band's fans long had a reputation as being the toughest metal audiences, a fanatical following that was merciless on opening bands. That's changed in recent years.
King: "Ever since God Hates Us All, we've had a good run of bands. When you listen to your management too much, and they're like, 'Hey, this'll bring a crossover audience.' After God Hates, we were like, 'Fuck that. Nobody cares. We're having metal tours.' We haven't had anybody get booed for years — that used to happen all the time."
After 25 years in the band, taking up to five years between albums, he's got to have a giant stockpile of leftover material, right?
King: "No. I've got tons of riffs on tape somewhere. But if it doesn't do me any good to finish it for Slayer, I don't even waste my time. There's a handful of people I'd like to play with, probably. But this comes first. Always has, always will. Maybe if me and Zakk Wylde get drunk and do a guitar-noodling album, it'll come out."
His favorite Slayer albums:
King: "I like Reign in Blood, I like Seasons in the Abyss, I like God Hates Us All, and I like Christ Illusion — those are my top four. My best? I wrote most of this one [Christ Illusion], so I'd have to say this one." — D.X. Ferris