Kerry King’s solo project was almost named differently

Author Benedetta Baldin - 22.5.2024

Kerry King appeared on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show, discussing his new solo album. Despite its release under his own name, King revealed to Jackie that this wasn’t his initial plan. The veteran Slayer guitarist had been brainstorming potential band names right up until the announcement of the tour. In the interview below, he explains how his name ultimately became the title of his and his band’s first album.

The funny part about that is it was never supposed to be. It was never supposed to have my name on it and I was adamantly against it. But let me tell you something. You try to make up a metal band name, right, and see how far you get. I worked on that for four years, and every time I land on something, we’d start running down the copyright trail and there was always a roadblock. So what happened was the festivals we’re going to be playing on were getting ready to announce and they had to announce something, so my name got attached to it and here we are. I’ve got probably a list of 40 to 50 names on my phone. Just anything that would conjure an idea of another idea that would come from that. And that’s where the logo came from. It was gonna be King’s Reign. And I can’t remember why we couldn’t use that, but we couldn’t use that. So then, we just … Kerry King. That’s my name.

He then talks about his band and the speculation about who would sing for him.

Of course there’s been rumors of everybody under the sun singing with me, but Mark’s the only guy we actually tried.

Then he talks about vocalist Mark Osegueda and his vocals on the album.

Just when we were in the demo stages, I told him very early on, I said, “I don’t want Death Angel Mark, I want grown up Mark. Let’s see what you can become. Let’s see where we can get to, let’s work on your enunciation, let’s work on your cadence. Let’s work on everything under the sun.” I thought, or Josh Wilbur, the producer, thought, or even Mark thought if there was anything we could fix, we fixed what we could try. I think the Mark we got is just the most forceful Mark I’ve ever heard. Some of these performances on this album are just off the charts in my book. I think it was “Residue” actually, when he sang “Residue,” I was in another room in the studio working out leads or lyrics or something, and I came in and Josh played it back for me, and I’m like, how did you guys end up at this register? I’d never heard it this intense, ever. I immediately went into Mark and I said, “Listen, dude, you can reproduce this, right? Because I don’t want to play two shows and then you cancel the next three because you blew your voice out.” He swore up and down he could. So I had that conversation with him three times. I kept going back in there. I’m like, you can reproduce this, right? Yeah, we’re tight. We’re friends and everything, but I don’t know him that well, so I just had to make sure he wasn’t shooting himself in the foot.

He continues to talk about pyrotechnics and fire in videos and live shows.

It has to be fun to see how you’ve been able to incorporate more and more fire to the live shows and videos from your early days of performing to the production you can present now. I enjoy seeing everything in a live show production, not necessarily in my own show. But video screens are also very effective. I think that’s a very common go to. I don’t think that every time you see video screens, the video content’s that great. Sometimes it looks like they mailed it in, so I didn’t want that fire. It is what it is, and you know what you’re going to get. There is no mailing in fire. It’s there. It’s awesome. It is what it is. It heats the place up. It goes hand in hand with this kind of music, you know? And I think fire, I think of bands like Sabbath, I think Venom. I think Slayer. That being part of my pedigree, that’s where my love of fire comes from, I’m sure.

Finally, the choice of Lamb of God and Mastodon for his tour.

I’ve got a lot of history with both those bands. When Mastodon came out, they were on a tour with us off and on for probably the better part of two, three years. The Lamb of God guys were on most of our last run, if not all the last run, I can’t remember, but they did a lot of our final tour, so we’ve got a lot of history with both those guys. So them being on tour and giving me the opportunity to play with them, it’s kind of the whole idea coming full circle. So, yeah, I’m looking forward to it. Those decisions of what are we going to play in the show … 45-50 minutes. I’ll be barely getting sweaty and then it’ll be time to go have a beer.

And of course, the second solo album.

Honestly, there’s still three or four songs I have left over from Repentless that I’m working on for record two. There’s songs left over from From Hell I Rise that I’ve been working on for record two. There’s songs I’ve written since From Hell I Rise for record two, so there’s plenty of material. I just think I probably have to come up with one or two more because I’m not sure I have the opener yet. Once I’m convinced I got the opener, I think we’ve got more than enough music, so there’ll actually be leftovers for record three.