“It’s been fueling my lyrics for the last probably 40 years. So, thank you religion for keeping me occupied” – Kerry King shares where he gets the inspiration

Author Benedetta Baldin - 5.6.2024

Kerry King recently discussed his propensity to write lyrics critical of institutional religion for both Slayer and his solo project in an interview with Consequence. Kerry gave this response when asked what he observes in the actual world that inspires him to write songs on the subject.

Well, I think it’s a farce. When I was in grade school, I couldn’t tell you what grade, but during the summer one year, my parents said, ‘Hey, you want to go to Sunday school?’ Because I did all kinds of extracurricular stuff at school. So I’m, like, ‘Yeah, I’ll check it out.’ I didn’t know what church was. And this isn’t what gave me my hatred for it, but it’s just a fun story. So I went to Sunday school, [and] like a week into it, I went to my parents. I’m, like, ‘I don’t think I want to go to this anymore.’ Even that little kid knew it was a bunch of dog shit. It’s like politics these days. What’s said in the press is gone within 48 hours. All the things Donald Trump did as president, I remember seeing on the news how many lies he’d made in four years, and like 36 hours later, it’s like it never happened. That’s basically how religion is. You hear about all these priests around the world getting convicted for sexual assault or inappropriate conduct with minors, and a day later it’s gone. But I remember that shit, and it’s been fueling my lyrics for the last probably 40 years. So, thank you religion for keeping me occupied.

Speaking with Germany’s Moshpit Passion last month, King discussed how lyrics pertaining to religion and occult themes are now more common in heavy metal than they were when the band originally formed, over 40 years ago.

Yeah, I think people got desensitized over the decades, ’cause when we came out, it was far more taboo than it is now. And I think what I do is more like just putting opinions on the table. I think a lot of people are just born into their beliefs — they come down from their parents, their friends, whatever. And I don’t believe in God or the devil — I don’t believe in anything; I’m an atheist — but I like to put options on the table for those people that may never question what they believe or why they believe it. I don’t care if you believe in God — good on you; have fun with that; that’s a good story — but I just like to throw things on the table and say, ‘Hey, have you ever thought of a different perspective? Have you ever thought of all the preachers that get arrested for fondling little boys?’ This world isn’t perfect. So I just put things out on the table and hopefully get people thinking about their own life and figure things out for themselves. That’s why, first and foremost, I always say I am an atheist. I don’t believe any of it. But I don’t mind writing about it. [Laughs] I like to think of my songs as mini screenplays that give you visuals in your mind. And it just makes you think of things, makes you think like you’re watching a movie in your head. Maybe someday somebody will make up a movie based on a short story by Kerry King, and that story is my song.

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