Kerry King Invited Phil Demmel to Join Slayer via Text Message
It’s quite a high-tech world we live in, and whatwith Slipknot firing Joey Jordison via the decidedly old-school method of singing telegram several years back it’s nice to learn that the members of Slayer are keeping up with the times.
In a recent interview with Metal Casino (embedded below), ex-Machine Head guitarist Phil Demmel, who was tapped last-minute to fill in for Gary Holt on the final five dates of Slayer’s European tour while Holt flew home to be with his dying father, revealed that he got the invite from Kerry King less than 24 hours after stepping off stage for the final time with Machine Head… via text message!
“I wrapped up the Machine Head tour – I quit Machine Head, did our last show – and the next day I got a text from Kerry King saying, ‘Do you think you can learn 19 Slayer songs and be out here in two days?’ So, my wife had been at home with our son and running our business, and I had been gone for two months. And I showed her the text. She was so happy to have me home. So I showed her the text, and she had said, ‘You’ve gotta go. You have to go do it.’ So I started studying [the songs] on the plane. And I came out and played my first show [Monday] night.”
Demmel went on to speak about whether he already knew how to play Slayer’s songs from a lifetime of fandom or if he had to cram to learn them:
“There was songs that I knew, but I didn’t know every little part, and I had to figure out what part is Gary’s and how they do it live now. So it was a lot of work – it was a lot of work – but it paid off. I killed it. I got it done. Very exciting.”
“I had to concentrate on what I was playing [live], so I’d look up every once in a while [and see the crowd]. Scott Ian was just saying that some of the guys were running back: ‘It’s his first night, and he’s yelling at the audience.’ So, yeah, I was feeling it. Sometimes I tend to smile onstage, and there’s no smiling in Slayer. You can’t smile onstage. So, yeah, I felt very welcomed by everybody.”
On growing up listening to Slayer and being asked to perform with them:
“So, yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the first Slayer record coming out… And I saw them back in 1983, one of their first shows up in the Bay Area. They were the reason why I play heavy music, and so to be able to… I’ve got goosebumps right now just thinking about it. Just thinking about jamming with Tom [Araya]… And Paul’s [Bostaph] been my buddy from Forbidden up there. And with Kerry, that intro starts and I’m just fucking so… It’s Slayer -legendary band; one of my favorites. I couldn’t even dream [of something like this happening]. It’s beyond my wildest dreams.”
Congrats are once again in order for Phil. Amazing work, dude!