Kerry King Explains Why He Took Over Bass Duties On Slayer Albums From Tom Araya

In a recent interview with Guitar World, Kerry King clarified his previous statement, revealing that he has played bass on every Slayer album since the early 90s, instead of the band’s bassist and vocalist, Tom Araya.

In response to a question about Tom not playing bass, Kerry offered: “We would always let Tom play bass until he got tired of not being good at it. In Tom’s defense, up to that point, he had never played the songs. It was always just me and Paul [BostaphSlayer drummer] going through ’em. And then we get in the studio, it’s time to record. I think Tom’s got it in his head that he’s gonna be able to pull it off. But for anybody that’s never played a song before, to come in without knowing the music and get it up to recording level is not realistic.

“So, if I’ve already done my guitar tracks, Jeff [Hanneman, late Slayer guitarist]’s done his guitar tracks, And Tom doesn’t know the bass parts, I can pick up a bass and get it done in less than a day ’cause I already know the songs. It got to where he’d mess around and play one song for eight hours before he got frustrated and just said, ‘Here, you do it!’ I don’t want anybody to think for a second that he couldn’t do it if he had the time to learn it.”

Following the announcement of King’s solo album, From Hell I Rise, and his remarks suggesting Slayer was finished, metal fans were shocked when Slayer revealed three reunion shows just days later.

“I was very surprised”, King said. “I made my comments [about Slayer being finished] based on [Tom Araya] not wanting to play anymore. As far as I was concerned, we were done and never going to play again. To be honest, I don’t know what switched.”

“We’ve been turning down offers to play shows for at least three years. So, one came up that, I guess, enticed Tom to the point where he wanted to roll the dice and try a couple. I don’t know, but that’s all it is.”

King released his debut solo album, From Hell I Rise, on May 17. The album features Death Angel vocalist Mark Osegueda, longtime Slayer drummer Paul Bostaph, former Hellyeah bassist Kyle Sanders, and ex–Machine Head and ex-Vio-Lence guitarist Phil Demmel.