MTV’s Alternative Nation talked with Slayer guitarist Kerry King in Romania on June 4, where the band played at the Arenele Romane in Bucharest in front of more than 3,000 people.
Asked about guitarist Jeff Hanneman, who’s been sidelined for the last year due to necrotizing fasciitis from a spider bite, King said:
Jeff is… If you look at him, he looks fine. But playing the intricate things that we do, he’s not ready to do that. He doesn’t know if he has the stamina for an hour-and-fifteen-minute set. He can play any of the slower stuff and do it just like the record. But we made a name for ourselves, historically, for being good live, so we had to make the decision and say, “You’ve gotta get better before you try to come back. If you come back, make it a special thing, not just an adequate thing.”
Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has been filling in for Hanneman at live performances.
Also discussed with King was Slayer’s upcoming two song EP planned for release this summer to coincide with the band’s participation in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, which begins on June 30, and “to keep the fans pacified until we come out with the full-length record,” as drummer Dave Lombardo has said. Slayer announced earlier this year that they were beginning work on a new full length album.
King confirmed that the two tracks “are done, but they’re just not mixed.” He continued:
It’s [like], do you put them out now or do you just wait for the [full-length] record to be done [and include them as part of the final package]? We’re gona finish the record September-October. So I, myself, would rather wait, because I don’t like to put those two songs out and then include them on the record. In my thinking, if you put those two songs out, then make ten more songs and put those two on that album just as an afterthought. But I feel like I’ve gotta give people ten new songs. That’s why on the last one [2009’s “World Painted Blood”] we did 11, ’cause “Psychopathy Red” was already out. So [the two new songs are] done. We’ll see what the record company proposes. I think they’ve been talking about an EP, which is kind of a throwback to the ’80s, which is really cool, I think. But we’ll just have to see.
Commenting on the progress of the full length album, vocalist/bassist Tom Araya told Romanian Web site Metalhead last month that the band had entered the studio in April, and that
Kerry put together a bunch of songs. I did vocals for two songs before I flew out [to Europe]. We are in the process of finishing those up. And hopefully they’ll have them mixed and we should have something out by the end of summer.
He added that the album “Sounds like Slayer to me.”
Slayer will be supporting headliners Slipknot on the Mayhem Festival, which will be in two locations near Springfield: Oklahoma City at the Zoo Amphitheatre on July 18 and Maryland Heights at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre on July 20. Other bands playing on the tour include Anthrax, Motorhead, As I Lay Dying and more. More information can be found at the Festival’s official Web site.