As soon as Slayer played their final show in November 2019, guitarist Kerry King has teased you will be hearing more from him. He even teased as much during the band's final tour, giving out guitar picks that had his signature and the text "Reborn 2020." In a new interview with Metal Hammer, King gives fans an update on when they could hear from him.
King acknowledged the guitar picks and basically said the pandemic threw off his entire schedule. "I had picks that I threw out at those shows — 'The Final Campaign' — at the end of the show. And in every city, I threw out two that said, 'Reborn in 2020,' because that was my plan — I planned on touring in 2020. Then the pandemic came up and we were into 2021 because I want everybody to get the bumps out of the road before I go out."
King noted that he wanted things to settle with the touring protocol before he decides to go back out. He laid out the following timeline. "Here we are at the end of 2021 and I'm looking at the end of 2022 now. And we'll see what happens next year because it's evolving. I don't want to go out and feel stuff out, I want to go out and have a good time. I'm not being selfish, I don't mean it like that. I mean that whatever the new rules are, I want them to be smooth before I go out."
When pressed as to why he's been so quiet about future plans, King responded "I'm dragging my feet on letting the world know what I'm doing because there's no rush. I have a tour that I'm considering doing, but I'm not going to announce a band, I'm not going to announce a record, I'm not going to announce anything. But you will see me in the future — it will be fucking good."
King popped up earlier this week in a Machine Head tribute video, and while paying tribute to the band offered that he thought Slayer retired too early, saying "Congratulations are in order for my friends in Machine Head. Apparently, it's [been] 30 years, which is quite an achievement. Not a lot of bands get there. We [in Slayer] did, and then we quit too early. Fuck us. I know. Fuck me. I hate fuckin' not playing. Besides the point. This is a Machine Head celebration, and I gotta say. I'm not sure Robb knows this – I think Robb knows this, but if you don't then here you go – the only band I ever demanded to open for Slayer was Machine Head."
Rumors persisted in recent years that the new project would feature King's Slayer bandmates Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph with Phil Anselmo on vocals.
In an interview last year, Bostaph even discussed the new material he was writing with King. Speaking to Australia's Riff Crew, Bostaph said
"I guess the best way to put it is Kerry writes what he writes. Is this gonna be a rock and roll record? No. Is it gonna be what you want it to be? Yes. Is it gonna be what you expect it to be? Yes. It's not gonna be some rehashed stuff… It's gonna sound like Slayer without it being Slayer — but not intentionally so. I mean, Kerry's been writing songs in Slayer his entire career, and he has a style. And that style, as a songwriter, you just don't change your style because your band is done. But that's what you love to write.
"Are things gonna maybe morph over time? Yeah. I would imagine so," he continued. "I don't think the first song Kerry wrote as a kid is the same as the last song he wrote for [Slayer's final album, 2015's] 'Repentless'. Songwriters do change over time based on their influences and how they feel at the time.
"Kerry's on fire right now. So, all I can say is if you like heavy music and you like Slayer, you'll like this. Is it gonna be Slayer? It's not gonna be Slayer — Slayer is done; they retired…
"The thing about it is that we don't wanna sound like 'Baby Slayer,' you know what I mean?" he added. "There is Slayer. But it's gonna be good — it's gonna be really good. I've been listening to the music and I just cannot wait to get into the room and start jamming with Kerry.
"Part of it for me is that I don't have to… And this is not an insult; it's definitely a compliment… I don't have to drum under the show of [original Slayer drummer] Dave's [Lombardo] drumming badassery. That's a good thing to do, but I might be able to stretch out a little bit and do some things that I like to do and still make it fit within the framework of what we're doing. I'm looking forward to trying some things that I've wanted to try within Slayer but couldn't, just because I didn't have it developed well enough. And we'll see if I can make some of that stick in some of the new music."
Bostaph eventually concluded "Right now, the formula's gonna be the same. I know how Kerry writes."
Last year, King also offered this quote to Dean Guitars about his new material. “I’ve been very, very lucky with riffs in 2020. Maybe because I can’t go anywhere — I don’t know — but riffs have certainly not been a problem. And looking forward into the future, what that means for me is I’m gonna be able to cherrypick the best stuff. And it’s good stuff. I’ve got more than two records’ worth of music, but to be able to go through that and cherrypick the best 11 or 12 [songs]… That first record should be smoking.”