|Born on: 03.06.1964
Kerry King was born June 3, 1964 in Los Angeles, California to a father who was an aircraft parts inspector, and a mother who worked in telecommunications.
In 1981 King was trying out for the position as a guitarist in a band. After the session was over Jeff Hanneman approached him and the two began playing Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs with the session drummer. King mentioned "Why don't we start our OWN band?", Hanneman replied "...Fuck yeah!". Like most heavy metal musicians, King had long hair, but then shaved his head when he started balding. His bald head, spiked wristband, and extensive tattoo work (which covers his hands, arms and head) are his trademarks, to such a degree that Blender included a tour of his body ink.
King's acronym, KFK, was revealed to mean "Kerry Fucking King!" in the January 2007 Issue of Guitar World.
Over the years, Kerry King's guitar style has remained the same, giving him a very distinctive sound. On earlier Slayer albums up to and including South of Heaven his playing focused more on speed and chaos than melody. However, in his post-Seasons in the Abyss work, Kerry has managed to capture more feel to his guitar work, showcasing more diverse and melodic styles. Aside from his strong rhythm work, he is also recognised for his distinctive and unique lead guitar work which critics disparage with definitions such as: 'grab the guitar neck and hang from the whammy bar as if your life depends on it'. However, despite such criticisms, it must be noted that King almost singlehandedly created an entirely new style of guitar soloing, and his influence is prevalent in countless metal bands, particularly thrash and death metal bands, where diatonicism is less important than in traditional rock and metal.
King's lyrics are mostly based on Satanic subjects, which he attributes to his love of horror movies. He has stated he does not believe in God, and he does not believe in Satan, but he writes about Satanic subjects because he says it is more fun to sing about Satan than God. King actually dislikes all organized religion and describes it as a "crutch" for people who are "too weak to get through life on their own." Kerry then goes on to say, "I'm the kind of guy that says if I don't see it, then it doesn't work. And nobody can show me God." He stated in the 2005 documentary Metal: A Headbanger's Journey that he feels religion is "the ultimate form of mind control that is perfectly legal." In the same documentary King says that he believes religion is a "load of shit".
King has had well-publicized disagreements with several of his contemporaries, including a long-standing feud with Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, who attempted to persuade King to leave the "posers," "lame spikes," and "eyeliner" of Slayer behind and focus on Megadeth. Another feud is with Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, who claims that King started "talking shit about us out of nowhere." King labelled Machine Head as "sell-outs" after the release of their 2001 album Supercharger. King continued to criticize the band stating "They're responsible for rap-metal", "they fooled me into thinking they're metal", and "they have no integrity left."
In 2006, Slayer's producer Rick Rubin lent production to Metallica's ninth studio album, instead of Slayer for their album Christ Illusion. King deemed this action a "slap in the fucking face," labelling Metallica as a "sinking ship."
In addition to appearing on Slayer's albums, he has also made several guest appearances as lead guitarist. While lending production to 1986's Reign in Blood, Rick Rubin was also helming production of the Beastie Boys' debut album Licensed to Ill. Rubin felt the track "No Sleep till Brooklyn" needed a guitar solo, so he offered King several hundred dollars to lay down the part. King has since commented that his playing ability "certainly wasn't that of a virtuoso". "No Sleep till Brooklyn", whose title was a spoof of Motörhead's 1981 live album No Sleep 'til Hammersmith, was originally intended to feature King being knocked offstage by a gorilla in its music video though King refused. King replied "If there's gonna be any knocking offstage, it'll be me knocking the gorilla", which is what subsequently happened. King has reminisced that he thought the Beastie Boys were cool, although never having heard any of their music.
King contributed a lead guitar outro part to Pantera's song "Goddamn Electric", which appeared on their 2000 album Reinventing the Steel. King's rig was set up in Pantera's bathroom backstage just after Ozzfest in Dallas, as the group still had their own dressing room despite not appearing on the festival bill. After King had finished the first take, late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell yelled "DON'T LET HIM DO IT AGAIN!" King tried again with the hope he would find a superior rendition, though the first take was used.
King also contributed lead guitar solos to the following songs; "Disorder" with rapper Ice-T (from the 1992 album Judgment Night), Rob Zombie's "Dead Girl Superstar" (from the 2001 album The Sinister Urge), Hatebreed's "Final Prayer" (from the March 2002 album Perseverance) and Sum 41's "What We're All About (The Original Version)", (from the June 2002-released Spider-Man movie soundtrack).
Kerry is a long time and noted herpetoculturist and snake breeder who is known to pop up at Southern California reptile events and pet shops with little notice. In 2005, he participated in an online chat discussion with both music and snake fans at the popular online reptile community kingsnake.com where he discussed both his involvement with Slayer and his interest in reptiles.
King favours neck-thru guitars in studio recordings and live performances, and also uses:
Marshall JCM-800 Amps
Marshall 4x12" speaker cabinets
Celestion G12K-100 and Vintage 30 Speakers
Dunlop .009-.042 Strings
EMG 81 and 85 Pick-ups with EMG Afterburner
MXR Smart Gate Pro
MXR KFK 10 band EQ
Shure UHF Wireless System
Kahler Tremolo Systems
In Tune Guitar Picks
BOSS RGE-10 Graphic EQ
Dunlop DCR-1SR Rack Crybaby Wah
Dunlop Q-Zone pedal
Dunlop Zakk Wylde Signature Wah
B.C. Rich signature KKV.