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Kerry Ray King (born June 3, 1964) is an Americanmarker guitarist, best known as one of the founding members of American thrash metal band Slayer.


King was born in Los Angelesmarker, Californiamarker to a father who was an aircraft parts inspector and a mother who worked as a telephone company employee. In his teenage years, Kerry moved to Burlington, Ontariomarker to attend Nelson High Schoolmarker and graduated as valedictorian. He went on to move to the USA away from most family. He has been married twice, his current wife is named Ayesha King, and has a daughter named Shyanne Kymberlee King from his first marriage.. His main influences are Judas Priest, Venom, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath.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. Hanneman mentioned "Why don’t we start our OWN band?” [Laughs] I was like, “…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, long beard 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 Fuckin' King" in the January 2007 Issue of Guitar World.


Henkka Seppälä (Children of Bodom) has described King as "a real metal guy, very real, and doesn’t try to be anything. He is just as he is. He is the same on stage and off stage. He is a really, really friendly dude, very polite, but very straight in ways of saying out loud his opinion. He’s not afraid to disagree. He is real!" Children Of Bodom Tunnelblick Henkka Blacksmith talks Metal 22.02.08 | METAL HAMMER


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. Recently in's Dear Guitar Hero, King "admires him to this day" as a guitarist, even though he considers Mustaine a "hypocrite".

In 2009 Slayer co-headlined a small, four show Canadian tour alongside Megadeth, which may or may not mean that the feud with Dave Mustaine has been resolved.

Another feud is with Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn, who claims that King started "talking shit about us out of nowhere." King labeled 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", "'they have no integrity left.". Flynn has since noted that King has "finally squashed the beef". Another indication the feud is over are some comments King made referencing a proposed tour between the "Big Four" Thrash Metal bands; King suggested that Machine Head be included instead of Anthrax

In 2006, Slayer's producer Rick Rubin lent production to Metallica's then-untitled Death Magnetic album, instead of Slayer for their album Christ Illusion. King deemed this action a "slap in the fucking face," labeling Metallica as a "sinking ship."

During an interview on drummers, King stated that Soulfly drummer Joe Nunez could not join Slayer because "his mother wouldn't let him", that Adrian Erlandsson "hits his drums like a fag", and that Raymond Herrera of Fear Factory "has no hands" in regard to his drumming abilities.[30233]

Guest appearances

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 on 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 anyone knocking anyone 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 at the time. On Licensed to Ill, King also played the guitar solo on the song "Fight For Your Right ".

King contributed a lead guitar outro part to Pantera’s song "Goddamn Electric", which appeared on the 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 didn't have their own dressing room on top of not appearing on the festival bill. After King had finished the first take, Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell ran in and 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 King, who is a big wrestling fan, was the guest announcer for the match between Supreme and Kronus, the finals match of the death match tournament at the XPW event "Baptized in blood" on June 20, 2000. He was however announced by regular announcer Kris Kloss as the "lead singer of Slayer", which King immediately corrected by yelling "It's guitar" as soon as he was given the microphone. He entered the ring to the sounds of the Slayer song "Angel of Death" from the album Reign in Blood.

King has also made several guest appearances in Marilyn Manson's recent "Rape Of The World" tour, joining the band to play classic tracks such as "Little Horn" and "Irresponsible Hate Anthem". Many fans noticed elements of King's own style used on these occasions.



Kerry King has been a major endorsee of B.C. Rich guitars for many years. He is best known for playing his signature model guitars (many are all maple with ebony fingerboards), with EMG pickup and Dunlop strings.

When performing live and in studio recordings, King favors neck-thru guitars.

King's guitars:

Amplifiers and cabinets

Throughout Slayer's career, King has used mainly the same equipment. He has been an endorser of Marshall amplifiers since the 1980s. Today, King uses his signature amplifier, through 4x12 cabinets with Celestion G12K-100 and Vintage 30 speakers.


To avoid problems with pedals being damaged during live performances, King keeps his effect pedals in a rack along with his amplifiers and rack effects. He controls them through a pedalboard onstage. The pedal controller allows him to change between different effect pedals and amplifiers.

  • Shure UHF Wireless System
  • Voodoo Lab Ground Control Pro floorboard
  • Eventide H3000S Harmonizer
  • MXR Smart Gate Pro
  • Radial Tonebone Trimode Classic Tube Distortion


    • After Dimebag Darrell was killed, King, a good friend of Darrell's, received a guitar designed by Dimebag and built by Dean Guitars. The guitar is silver gun metal and shaped like a Razorback V with black tribal designs in a finish reminiscent of King's tattoos. Despite a long-standing endorsement deal, BC Rich has offered to allow Kerry to play this guitar onstage in light of the sentimental value the guitar possesses.

    • On early recordings, King used a DiMarzio Mega Drive humbucker in the bridge position of his guitars.
    • King's first custom 7 string Wartribe (finished in red and black) featured a Floyd Rose tremolo and custom DiMarzio pickups due to 7 string Kahler bridges not yet being made and EMG not yet having a seven string version of the 81.


Kerry is a long time and noted snake breeder, and is known to pop up at Southern California reptile events and pet shops with little notice. He currently specializes in carpet pythons. Kerry's snakes were recently shown in an interview with Kerry King's Obsessions: Snakes! Kerry King also participated in online chat discussions at the popular reptile web site in 2005 and again in 2008 and then a podcast interview in [30234] 2009.


  1. Kerry King interview
  2. , Blender Online, retrieved on March 2, 2007
  3. King now lives in Corona, California in the gated community The Retreat, where he also belongs to their golf club.
  4. news/details.cfm?newsid=46527

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