Illinois Entertainer July 2015 | Page 20

N ot long ago, Slayer co-founder Kerry King had a day off on the southern shore of Lake Erie. Don't call it a vacation. Typically, when killing time in those hardscrabble stretches of the United States that still favor thrash metal, the 51-year-old SoCal native does what comes naturally: sleep until 4 p.m., read reviews of local steakhouses, maybe talk to Illinois Entertainer about Cleveland. For kicks, the day off would be a break from old routine. He'd wake up early enough to see how badly the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum butchered the Metallica exhibit. A diehard fan in the early days, circa No Life 'Til Leather, when Dave Mustaine was Metallica's lead guitarist, King played second guitar at Megadeth's first five shows. The dude knows his artifacts. "I was surprised how cool it is, actually," he says of the place, laughing nervously by phone in Portland, Maine. "I didn't know what to expect. I didn't expect the enormity of it. It's floors, and there's just so much allencompassing stuff in there. I was blown away, really." It's hard not to picture the guitarist standing in front of Jason Newsted's fossilized shirt and pants, studying Doris' scales of justice, stroking that pointy beard of his, grinning. In the mind's eye, he's the only patron on seven floors wearing sunglasses. Metallica, inducted in 2009, are arguably the only full-on metal band to have been given a pass by a committee that took 20 years to acknowledge Kiss, Rush, and Alice Cooper. Surely, you don't think... "Absolutely," King states, abruptly. He's serious: Slayer should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. "I can't think of too many bands that are sneaking up on 35 years together that are still relevant." Well, they are eligible, ever since 2008, 25 years after the release of their blasphemous debut, Show No Mercy. King formed Slayer in 1981 with fellow guitarist Jeff Hanneman (who died in 2013 of liver failure) and snagged vocalist/bassist Tom Araya, whom King had played with in a cover 20 july 2015 band. But, what would be in a Slayer exhibit? Spiked wristbands? A book on Josef Mengele that inspired Hanneman to write the infamous Holocaust song, "Angel Of Death"? German war medals pilfered off dead Nazis by Hanneman's father during the D-Day invasion (and later worn in Slayer photo ops)? Cans of Stella? "I think the important a big fucking picture of just an intense crowd. We played Carolina Rebellion recently, and I was just blown away. We were next to the last band, on the last day. And that crowd looked like they were fresh, man. They ripped shit up. And a big part of Slayer's live show is the intensity of the crowds." If the members of Slayer are ever seriously considered for induction, should the subjects of their songs be held against them? The nation's visual-art equivalent to the Rock Hall, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, had on prominent view a 1946 piece by Francis Bacon (Painting) at its 2004 reopening that rivals the wickedness of any Slayer tune. A shadowy figure rules from an armchair of meat. An umbrella obscures his identity, protecting his suit and bright yellow boutonniere from a mess of crucified animal tissue. The blinds, appropriated from a photograph of Adolf Hitler's bunker, are pulled down. Enter to the realm of Satan. Advertisements declared, "Manhattan is modern again." Bacon told art critic David Sylvester in 1966 that he kept his paintings raw in an attempt to be honest. "People feel that that is horrific," said the English painter of Irish birth. "Because, if Continued on page 55