First and foremost, Demmel explained that he first approached King in 2018, knowing the end of his tenure with Machine Head was on the horizon: "The way that this came about on my end was Slayer was on its way through the Bay Area and they played San Jose. I think it was with maybe — Napalm Death opened that one and Lamb Of God, and maybe even Testament played. I think it was maybe the last day of the tour. And this was maybe the summer of 2018.
"And I knew that I was on my way out of Machine Head, and I had approached Kerry kind of, like, 'Hey, what are you doing after Slayer ends? What do you got going?' And he was kind of, like, 'Ah, I'm sure I'm gonna keep playing with Paul. I'm probably gonna ask Gary Holt to play with me in my new band as well.' And that was about it."
Fast forward to a Raiders game a year later, and King officially offered Demmel a spot in his secret project: "And so fast forward to my announcing that I was quitting Machine Head in September 2018, and the same day Kerry shoots me a text, like, 'That's why you were asking me what I was doing next.' So it was no secret to Kerry that that's what I was interested in doing after.
"And when the call came to fill in for Gary and the way that I came through in that spot really showed those guys a lot. So, Kerry, I remember we at a Raiders game against Denver, which was probably 2019, that he had said, 'Hey, this is what I'm thinking,' and where he committed to me being in the band. So it was pretty fucking awesome."
Imagine keeping this news under wraps for almost half a decade! Demmel confessed to the struggle, calling it "the best worst-kept secret."
"So I've been waiting since August of 2019 to be able to announce that I was in Kerry's new band. A couple of people knew. Kerry wanted it to be a secret, so we didn't kind of share. So that was four and a half years of holding on to the secret. Some would say that it was the best worst-kept secret or the worst best-kept secret. But we're all pretty stoked to get this started."
The wait wasn't just for fans – according to Demmel the band members themselves were chomping at the bit, somehow dealing with the internal struggle of keeping the lid on. But hey, the anticipation only amplifies the excitement, right?
"Kerry wrote all the music. He wrote all the lyrics. They had pretty much all of it done for a while. He and Paul worked on everything. He sent me parts. It was the slowest of the slowest rolls that I've ever been involved with, just due to the quarantine and the singer search. So it took a bit, and it's taken a bit for all of the reasons. I mean, there was a reason for all of it. So it got to a point where all of us, the guys in the band, were, like, 'Have you heard anything?' 'No, I haven't heard anything.' It was almost like the swimming instructor when you're learning how to swim, and then the instructor keeps backing up. 'Come on, you can make it.' And you're swimming and you're swimming and you're swimming, and they keep backing up. And it was all worth it."
"They recorded the record. I was structuring solos at home. I have a home studio, and I was constructing my leads. And I had 'em done for a bit. And he'd give me a couple of more: 'Hey, why don't you see if you can come up with something over here?' And I wrote a couple of little harmony bits that you don't hear a lot in Slayer.
"So I think that that's what sets this band apart, other than Mark's vocals, of course, is the melody in some of my solos. I wrote a few things and I sent 'em to him, and the solo you hear in 'Idle Hands' is the first one that I wrote. And so I had to ask him, I said, 'Are you gonna be okay with my style?' It's kind of different from what Jeff Hanneman and Gary had done, and he was digging it. So I was glad that that was the case, 'cause it's kind of what I am and what I can bring."
Kerry King's solo album, From Hell I Rise, features Demmel alongside Death Angel vocalist Mark Osegueda, former Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph, and former Hellyeah bassist Kyle Sanders, and it's scheduled to release on May 17 via Reigning Phoenix Music.
Check out their first single "Idle Hands" right here to get a taste of the sonic firestorm that awaits. You won't regret it!