According to Rick Rubin, Slayer’s Kerry King and the Beastie Boys Never Much Liked Each Other
Something I like to point out as a metalhead is that Kerry King performed the guitar solo on the Beastie Boys song “No Sleep Till Brooklyn,” and that he’s the dude in the gorilla suit in the video. Watch it below — Kerry’s solo starts around the 3:23 mark, and he appears outside the gorilla suit around 4:17:
“See?!” I tell my friends and family. “Slayer were somewhat relevant to a band you liked! Slayer helped bring rap into American households!”
Except apparently, my example of how Slayer briefly broke into the mainstream isn’t as idyllic as I thought. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone about twenty-one of his career-defining moments, Def Jam co-founder and longtime Slayer producer Rick Rubin says that while the collaboration was a solid move, Kerry King didn’t much care for the Beastie Boys, and vice versa:
“Kerry King from Slayer did the guitar solo. I don’t think he liked the song. I think he just thought it was bizarre. He’s a real, serious metalhead. He really loves metal, and I don’t think he listens to much music outside of metal. At least then he didn’t. I don’t think it spoke to his aesthetic. And honestly, in retrospect, I don’t think he really spoke to the Beasties’ aesthetic. They didn’t really like him either [laughs]. It was kind of mutual.”
Awwww! While I’m not terribly surprised, I’m a little disappointed. I pictured King and Mike D clinking tall boys and thinking, Perhaps we’re not so different after all, when in fact it was probably more like, Man, these rap guys take a long fucking time picking out outfits…
Meanwhile, Rubin does go on to sing the praises of Slayer when he talks about “Angel of Death,” and even has plenty of good things to say about Glenn Danzig:
“I remember Glenn being really excited about the song ‘Mother’ and telling me that, content-wise, it’s one that he’d been wanting to do for years and just never really found the way to do it. For him, it was a breakthrough in writing. I remember when we were recording, Glenn had laser-beam focus on all the parts. It was so much fun hearing him sing it. It was a trip. That song has got such a great vibe, and he’s such a great singer.”
Rubin must have kept Slayer away from Danzig’s private stash.
Anyway, the whole interview is a pretty interesting examination of rock and hip-hop’s evolution, so I urge you to go take a look. Meanwhile, if you want to know more about Slayer’s relationship to hip-hop and Def Jame, read D.X. Ferris’ 33 1/3 about Reign In Blood. There’s a great scene where Rubin, LL Cool J, and some other Def Jam dudes go check out Slayer at L’Amours in Bay Ridge and fear for their lives.