Kerry King

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Kerry King
Slayer Munchen 2016 (3 von 6).jpg
Background information
Birth nameKerry Ray King
Born (1964-06-03) June 3, 1964 (age 55) [1]
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres Thrash metal
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
InstrumentsGuitar, piano
Years active1981–present
Labels Def Jam, American, Metal Blade, Nuclear Blast
Associated acts

Kerry Ray King (born June 3, 1964) is an American musician, best known as a guitarist and songwriter for the American thrash metal band Slayer. He co-founded the band with Jeff Hanneman in 1981 and has been a member ever since.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Slayer American thrash metal band

Slayer is an American thrash metal band from Huntington Park, California. The band was formed in 1981 by guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman and vocalist and bassist Tom Araya. Slayer's fast and aggressive musical style made them one of the founding "big four" bands of thrash metal, alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. Slayer's current lineup comprises King, Araya, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt. Hanneman and drummers Dave Lombardo and Jon Dette are former members of the band.

Jeff Hanneman American guitarist

Jeffrey John Hanneman was an American musician, best known as a founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Hanneman contributed both lyrical and musical material to every Slayer album up until his death in 2013 and wrote the songs "Raining Blood", "War Ensemble," "South of Heaven," "Seasons in the Abyss," and "Angel of Death," all of which have been played at almost every live Slayer performance after their respective compositions. He had his own signature guitar, the ESP Jeff Hanneman Signature model.



King was born in Los Angeles, California. His father was an aircraft parts inspector, and his mother worked for the telephone company. [1] King attended Warren High School in Downey, California, and started learning guitar at Calvano's Music in South Gate.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of nearly four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second-most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Warren High School, formerly Earl Warren Senior High School, is a public secondary school located in Downey, California. Warren High School enrolls students in grades 9-12 and is a part of the Downey Unified School District.

In school, King was a good student who excelled in math. However, his grades slowly declined after he "discovered" girls as a teenager. He said it worked out in the end because he did not plan to go to college. King confesses that he is an experienced drinker, but claims he has never used drugs in his entire life. [2]

In 1981, King was at an audition trying out for the position of guitarist in a band that King described as turning out to be more of a Southern rock-type band. Afterwards, King approached Jeff Hanneman, who was playing guitar at the reception desk, and said they should jam together and see if they liked playing together. [3] King and Hanneman subsequently decided to start their own band, which would soon evolve into Slayer. [4]

King has a trademark personal appearance and extensive tattoos all over his arms and head. His tattoo was praised to such a degree by Blender Magazine that they once produced a tour of his body ink. [5] King's abbreviation, KFK, was revealed to mean "Kerry Fuckin' King" in the January 2007 Issue of Guitar World . [6] King currently resides in Corona, California. [7]

<i>Blender</i> (magazine) magazine

Blender was an American music magazine that billed itself as "the ultimate guide to music and more". It was also known for sometimes steamy pictorials of celebrities. It compiled lists of albums, artists, and songs, including both "best of" and "worst of" lists. In each issue, there was a review of an artist's entire discography, with each album being analyzed in turn.

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase. It consists of a group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word abbreviation can itself be represented by the abbreviation abbr., abbrv., or abbrev.

<i>Guitar World</i> magazine

Guitar World is an American monthly music magazine for guitarists, published since July 1980. It contains original interviews, album and gear reviews, and guitar and bass tablature of approximately five songs each month. The magazine is published 13 times per year. Formerly owned by Harris Publications, Future US bought the magazine in 2003. In 2012, NewBay Media bought the Music division of Future US. The latter company also published a spin-off title, Guitar Legends, each issue of which typically combined past articles from Guitar World under a specific theme. The first Guitar Legends was on Eddie Van Halen. In 2018, Future acquired NewBay Media, returning Guitar World to Future US.

Guest appearances

King performing with Slayer at Wacken Open Air 01-08-2014-Kerry King with Slayer at Wacken Open Air-JonasR 08.jpg
King performing with Slayer at Wacken Open Air

In addition to appearing on Slayer's albums, he has also made several guest appearances for other artists. While lending production to 1986's Reign in Blood , Rick Rubin was also helping with the production of the Beastie Boys' debut album Licensed to Ill . Rubin felt the track "No Sleep till Brooklyn" needed a guitar solo, so he called in King to lay down the part. [8] King has since commented that his playing ability "certainly wasn't that of a virtuoso". [8] The video for "No Sleep till Brooklyn", whose title was a spoof on Motörhead's 1981 live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith , was originally intended to feature King being knocked offstage by a gorilla, although King refused. [8] King replied, "If there's gonna be anyone knocking anyone offstage, it'll be me knocking the gorilla", which was what subsequently happened. [8] King has reminisced that he thought the Beastie Boys were cool, although he had never heard any of their music at the time. [8]

<i>Reign in Blood</i> 1986 studio album by Slayer

Reign in Blood is the third studio album by American thrash metal band Slayer, released on October 7, 1986 by Def Jam Recordings. The album was the band's first collaboration with producer Rick Rubin, whose input helped the band's sound evolve. The release date of the album was delayed because of concerns regarding the lyrical subject matter of the opening track "Angel of Death", which refers to Josef Mengele and describes acts such as human experimentation that he committed at the Auschwitz concentration camp. However, the band's members stated numerous times that they did not condone Nazism and were merely interested in the subject.

Beastie Boys American hip hop band

The Beastie Boys were an American hip hop group from New York City formed in 1981. The group comprised Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "MCA" Yauch and Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz.

<i>Licensed to Ill</i> 1986 studio album by Beastie Boys

Licensed to Ill is the debut studio album by American hip hop group Beastie Boys. It was released on November 15, 1986 by Def Jam and Columbia Records, and became the first rap LP to top the Billboard album chart. It is one of Columbia Records' fastest-selling debut records to date and was certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America in 2015 for shipping over ten million copies in the United States.

On Licensed to Ill, King also played the guitar solo on the song "Fight For Your Right (To Party)". [9]

King contributed a lead guitar outro part to Pantera's song "Goddamn Electric", which appeared on the 2000 album, Reinventing the Steel . [10] King's rig was set up in Pantera's bathroom backstage just after Ozzfest in Dallas, as the group still did not have their own dressing room, on top of not appearing on the festival bill. [10] After King had finished the first take, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell ran in and yelled, "Don't let him do it again!" [10] King tried again in the hope he would perform a superior rendition, but the first take was used. [10] King has also made several guest appearances on Marilyn Manson's Rape of the World Tour, joining the band to play tracks such as "Little Horn", "1996" and "Irresponsible Hate Anthem". Many fans noticed elements of King's own style used on these occasions. [11] On October 21, 2010, the final date of the Jägermeister Music Tour, King joined Megadeth on stage at the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood to perform "Rattlehead" which was the first time in 26 years that King had shared the stage with Megadeth (King had been a touring substitute for a few months in 1984). [12]

He made a movie appearance in the 2009 movie Brooklyn's Finest as a member of SWAT team led by Ethan Hawke's character.

Style and influence

King at Nova Rock 2014 20140613-055-Nova Rock 2014-Slayer-Kerry King.JPG
King at Nova Rock 2014

King's first experience with a guitar was when he was a child. [13] Steve Huey of AllMusic has commented in his review for Reign in Blood that Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman's demented soloing often mimics the screams of the songs' victims. [14] He also described his and Jeff Hanneman's guitar solos as "wildly chaotic". [15] Thom Jurek, also of AllMusic, described his work on 2006's Christ Illusion as creating "an intensely harrowing and angular riff that changes from verse to verse, through the refrain and bridge, and comes back again." [16]

King listed Venom, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath as his favorite bands during his teen years. [17] He said once "Anybody who plays heavy music and doesn't cite Sabbath as an influence is lying, because that's where it all started." [18] He cited Glenn Tipton and K. K. Downing of Judas Priest as his biggest influences as a guitarist that inspire his style, tone, and gear. He mentioned Eddie Van Halen, Ted Nugent, Ronnie Montrose, Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Randy Rhoads as other influences. [19] [20]

Personal life

King has been twice divorced and has a daughter named Shyanne Kymberlee King with his first wife; his current wife is Ayesha King. [21]

King is known to despise organized religion and expresses his views in his songwriting. [22] In a 2006 interview with, King expressed his anti-religious views: "I don't really have a life philosophy; my thing is just rebelling against pretty much organized religion. That is my main thing, because personally I think it's a crutch for people that are too weak to get through life on their own. I'm the kind of guy that says if I don't see it, then it doesn't work. And nobody can show me God." [23] When asked by Revolver Magazine what superpower would he want if he was a supervillain, King replied "the ability to burst a church into flames by simply walking by it." [24]

King is an avid snake collector who owns a reptile house and herpetology nursery called Psychotic Exotics. [25]

King has stayed clear of politics, but stated in 2017 that he was "embarrassed about Trump's presidency," which he described as "divisive and polarizing" [26]



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