New Slayer secrets unveiled: Kerry King’s unexpected role as bassist over Tom Araya

Author Benedetta Baldin - 9.7.2024

Earlier this year, when promoting his then-upcoming new namesake project, Slayer guitarist Kerry King casually said that he had been tracking the bass on Slayer albums since the 1990s. It wasn’t widely known at the time that Araya had only been providing vocals on a substantial portion of the band’s catalogue. In a recent interview with Guitar World, King explained why he took on that role. After declaring his new solo album, “From Hell I Rise,” as “the first record I haven’t played bass on, probably, since the Nineties,” King was questioned by the aforementioned outlet on why Araya was not playing bass on Slayer‘s albums. 

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 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’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.

Slayer have so far confirmed these shows:

09/22 Chicago, IL – Riot Fest
09/27 Louisville, KY – Louder Than Life
10/10 Sacramento, CA – Aftershock