Black Collar Workers

Slayer’s Kerry King Says Bookers of This Year’s Mayhem Fest “Made a Gigantic Error”

  • Axl Rosenberg

king mayhemSomething is rotten in the state of Mayhem Fest.

We’ve heard some behind-the-scenes chatter that this year’s edition of the big summer package tour isn’t selling so well, but it’s now becoming apparent that the situation is spectacularly shitty.

First, Mayhem founder/organizer Kevin Lyman called this year’s bill “the best available for what we had to work with” and scolded metal bands for refusing to “take a little less than they could on their own to bring the whole scene forward, so we could make sure we had a good [touring] package around them.” Those don’t sound like the words of a man whose tour is selling well… and now Kerry King has confirmed as much in a new interview with Metal Insider. Says the guitarist for this year’s Mayhem headliners, Slayer:

“Do I know this tour wasn’t booked correctly? Absolutely I know this tour wasn’t booked correctly. Gary Holt made the comment that usually there’s the Main Stage, a second stage, a third stage, and then that piece of shit record stage…now what they’re calling a second stage is at best a fourth stage and they’re wondering why people aren’t showing up. I think they waited too long and think all the talent that could have been on this took gigs in Europe. Because there’s nobody here touring. It’s easy to fill these stages but I guess they wanted a different price point, take away the second and third stage which I think had a lot of value. To me a second stage headliner is Anthrax, Machine Head…Whoever booked this made a gigantic error.”

King continued:

“(Without the extra stages) It’s basically a glorified Slayer show. Let me put it to you this way, last year Slayer, Suicidal (Tendencies), and Exodus played the Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee and sold it out. Mayhem came through 10 days ago and didn’t sell it out. That’s what I’m going up against here.”

King went on to say that “I wouldn’t spend money to come to this [year’s Mayhem Fest], either,” and even asserted that This might be the last time you see Mayhem.”

How much of King’s sentiment is accurate, and how much is just King being King (that is, a man full of bluster)? It’s no secret that the guitarist took offense to Lyman’s statement that “Metal got gray, bald and fat,” despite the fact that Lyman apologized for said statement. It’s also in King’s best interest to deflect blame for low ticket sales, because if the fest’s financial failure isn’t the fault of Lyman and his fellow organizers, then it could be interpreted as being the fault of Slayer, and if it’s the fault of Slayer, that could impact their guarantees in the future.

Still, given Lyman’s own complaints about the financials of it all, King’s contention seems plausible.  I guess we’ll find out in 2016.

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