Slayer’s Kerry King Explains Why He Didn’t Last Long In Megadeth

Slayer’s Kerry King Explains Why He Didn’t Last Long In Megadeth
Original Photo Credit: Antje Naumann (AllSystemsRed), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kerry King is iconic in the metal community as the tattooed guitarist for thrash legends Slayer. The band was instrumental as one of the “Big Four” of thrash alongside Metallica, Anthrax and Megadeth, and the group has sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. Slayer retired after a 2018-19 farewell tour following more than three decades of performing. 

Many may not remember that King actually had a brief tenure as a guitarist for Megadeth during the band’s formative period in 1984. In a new interview with Loudwire, King said: “I was lucky enough to see Metallica with (original guitarist Dave) Mustaine, and I say that just because it’s a rare thing… I was so intrigued by Mustaine because he was just ripping on guitar… And I’m like, I can’t do that to this day. So, I was just blown away at his guitar playing. I think it was through BC Rich that I found out that Dave was inquiring [about me].

“At the end of the day, I thought, ‘This is a gigantic learning situation.’ And I also thought people would see me and know me from Slayer, and if they saw me, it would at least make them think [of] Slayer. So, I had Slayer’s best intentions in mind. I didn’t go and say, ‘Hey, I’m gonna be in Megadeth.'” King also explained that working with Mustaine was interesting. “I don’t know how anybody can be in Megadeth for more than a couple of hours—that guy’s crazy. His stuff is more—I wouldn’t say intricate because we have intricate parts, too—but he writes riffs in a very different perspective.” King also confirmed that his leaving Megadeth years ago caused a rift between Megadeth and Slayer. “Yeah, I would say that’s right.” 

Megadeth recently revealed the final details of their forthcoming album, “The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!” The album will come out on Sept. 2 via UMe and feature 12 new tracks and two cover songs. Megadeth also released the first song from the album, “We’ll Be Back,” which was accompanied by the video, “We’ll Be Back: Chapter 1.” The video is an actioned pack short film that details the beginnings of Megadeth’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead. “For the first time in a long time, everything that we needed on this record is right in its place,” Dave Mustaine said in a release. “I can’t wait for the public to get hold of this!”

Follow B.J.