kerrykingNeedless to say, the tension that’s been mounting recently between Slayer and the Mayhem Festival is starting to bubble over. At Sunday night’s Mayhem gig in Hartford, CT, we asked guitarist Kerry King about Mayhem Fest co-founder Kevin Lyman’s recent comment that metal was becoming “gray, bald, and fat.” King was still clearly perturbed, despite Lyman’s apology:

“It’s a very generalizing statement and it basically throws his tour under the bus. That’s just…that’s not even Business 101. That’s just insane.”

King, who putting it nicely, has always been a bit unfiltered, didn’t stop there in his critique of this year’s version of Mayhem Festival, or even previous years’ incarnations:

“Do I know this tour wasn’t booked correctly? Absolutely I know this tour wasn’t booked correctly. Gary Holt made the comment that usually there’s the Main Stage, a second stage, a third stage, and then that piece of shit record stage…now what they’re calling a second stage is at best a fourth stage and they’re wondering why people aren’t showing up. I think they waited too long and think all the talent that could have been on this took gigs in Europe. Because there’s nobody here touring. It’s easy to fill these stages but I guess they wanted a different price point, take away the second and third stage which I think had a lot of value. To me a second stage headliner is Anthrax, Machine Head…Whoever booked this made a gigantic error.”

When asked if King felt Slayer were in the position of having to carry this year’s Mayhem Festival maybe more so than in previous years he seemed to agree with that assessment:

“(Without the extra stages) It’s basically a glorified Slayer show. Let me put it to you this way, last year Slayer, Suicidal (Tendencies), and Exodus played the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee and sold it out. Mayhem came through 10 days ago and didn’t sell it out. That’s what I’m going up against here.”

King finished again with a lament about what’s missing with this year’s Mayhem Festival as opposed to previous years saying, “I understand it from a fan’s perspective. I wouldn’t spend money to come to this either.” When asked if this would be the last time we see Slayer on Mayhem Fest he responded, This might be the last time you see Mayhem.”

Clearly, King is passionate about his band, his touring, and what Slayer both gives to and receives from their crowds. It should be noted that one glance around the venue during Slayer’s set showed that the attendance at the Hartford stop of Mayhem on Sunday night was sparsely attended when compared to previous years. Regardless of what the final numbers are going to say about Mayhem, it’s clear that with over a week’s worth of shows left on this run that things between Slayer and the promoters could become even more interesting. And while this might not be the last time we see Mayhem, it’s pretty clear that Slayer won’t be playing it anytime soon.

We reached out to Kevin Lyman for comment, and he didn’t have anything immediate to say about King’s comments, stating “He took offense to something I said and is voicing his opinion. All good with me.” Man, Kevin Lyman is a zen master as far as we’re concerned.



[Photo: Lisa Sanchez Gonzalez]