Slayer’s Kerry King Says Dave Mustaine’s Style Is What Shaped Metallica
The first time King saw Metallica play live was at the Woodstock Theatre in Anaheim, Calif., and Mustaine was their guitarist.
“I liked it. I like speed metal or thrash metal – which hadn’t been named yet – which is what they were to me," the guitarist recalled to Metal Hammer. "I liked what they were doing with it and I was already into Venom. I’ve always been a big Venom fan, and I think that a cross between Venom, Judas Priest and Metallica kind of made Slayer what Slayer is.”
King founded Slayer with Jeff Hanneman in 1981, but he also played a brief stint in Megadeth with Mustaine three years later. He remembered that Mustaine may have held some resentment toward Metallica at the time, who'd released their debut Kill 'Em All in '83.
"I looked up to Mustaine ever since he was in Metallica. I was in the crowd with Jeff actually, saying, ‘Look at that dude! He’s just ripping up there!’ He’s got a great style and in the beginning, it helped Metallica become what Metallica is. And let me tell you something – to this day, he’s a great guitar player," King explained.
The guitarist only played five shows with Megadeth, and Mustaine wanted him to remain in the band.
"But I didn’t have any reason to stay around because I had Slayer. I remember having a conversation with him and saying like, ‘Yeah, but we have all this dark stuff,’ and Mustaine saying something like, ‘Well, we’ve got this song, it’s pretty Satanic,’ and I was like, ‘At the end of the day, dude, it ain’t about that. I came to play with you. I think it went spectacularly well but it’s time for me to get back to my band.’”
King attributes Metallica's success to their melodic style, which he referred to as "everyman's music," because it was more digestible for many listeners than Slayer's material was.
"I may not have been super-stoked on [The Black Album], but I never hated it the way a lot of people did. To this day, I like that record a lot. I think it’s Metallica but I don’t think it’s thrash Metallica," he said. "You can hear where all the influences come from, from all of their older stuff. They just super-slowed it down and made it super-heavy. They made it super-catchy."