Kerry “Ray” King was born in Los Angeles in 1964 and is the lead and rhythm guitarist in thrash metal band Slayer.
Slayer was formed in 1981 when Kerry King met Jeff Hanneman at an audition when they were both trying out for a band. Deciding to form their own band instead, after finding a shared musical interest in Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, they recruited singer and bass player Tom Araya and drummer Dave Lombardo.
Slayer’s early set relied mainly on covers by Judas Priest and Iron Maiden coupled with a satanic style stage act which bought them to the attention of Brian Slagel of Metal Blade records who signed them. The debut album “Show No Mercy” was released in 1983. The band toured extensively in 1984 to promote the album slowly gaining underground recognition.
In 1984, Kerry King left Slayer for a period to tour with Megadeth, Dave Mustaine’s new band. Mustaine asked Kerry King to join on a permanent basis but King decided to go back to Slayer, causing a rift between the two bands and most notably between Kerry King and Dave Mustaine that was to last years.
Slayer finally hit the success they had been searching for in 1986 with the release of “Reign in Blood” The album with its lyrics and artwork based around Nazi experiments and concentration camps was controversial and received no airplay but was the band’s first gold album in the US.
Since then, Slayer have released a further eight albums and are credited with being one of the four most influential thrash metal acts, along with Anthrax Metallica and Megadeth.
Kerry King plays both rhythm and lead guitar in Slayer, sharing duties with fellow founder Jeff Hanneman. Kerry King endorses BC Rich guitars and has a signature model. He has also played with other metal acts such as Marilyn Manson and Megadeth.
Kerry King is an outspoken character. He has publicly insulted many other musicians and called Dave Mustaine a liar and a hypocrite. However, his long running feud with Mustaine was healed when in 2010 the two met at an airport by chance. King has also publicly insulted many other metal musicians for no apparent reason. One reason to explain this is that Kerry King is a big Pro wrestling fan. His appearance and behaviour has similarities with the pantomime showmanship more often seen in the wrestling ring.