‘That Guy’s Crazy’: Why Kerry King Quit Megadeth In ’84 After Just 5 Shows

Paulo Mendes & Ralph Arvesen (via Wikipedia)
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Here’s an often overlooked moment in metal history: Slayer’s Kerry King’s brief tenure with fellow metal legends, Megadeth.  In 1984, Dave Mustaine invited Kerry to join his first post-Metallica band.  However, the collaboration was incredibly short-lived.  In a newly resurfaced interview by Loudwire, Kerry King explains why he quit Megadeth after just five shows.  

You can read (or watch) the conversation below.

How Kerry King Joined Megadeth

Interviewer: In 1984, you joined Dave Mustaine’s new band, Megadeth.  Jeff was worried about your decision, and while Mustaine wanted you to play on a permanent basis, you left Megadeth after playing 5 concerts. 

Kerry King:  “I did play Megadeth’s first five shows. That being said, I was one of the lucky people (and certainly no offense again Kirk Hammett) – he’s a wonderful friend of mine – but I was lucky enough to see Metallica with Mustaine. And I say that because it’s just a rare thing to be able to say that. I saw them play at the Woodstock, and I was so intrigued by Mustaine because he was just ripping on guitar and looking out that way somewhere, and I’m like, I can’t do that to this fucking day.”

Why Kerry King Quit Megadeth

“I was just blown away at his guitar playing, and then to find out through B.C. Rich, that Dave was inquiring if I would play, and at the end of the day I thought this was a gigantic learning situation. And I also thought that people would see me and know me from Slayer cause we only went to the Bay Area – we only got up there – so I think if people saw me, it would at least make them think “Slayer” so I had Slayer’s best intentions in mind.  I didn’t go and say, ‘hey, I’m gonna be in Megadeth.’  I don’t know how anybody can be in Megadeth for more than a couple of hours cause that guy’s crazy.”

Interviewer:  Any weird experiences with them in those five shows?

Kerry King’s Relationship with Dave Mustaine

Kerry King: “He was cool.  He was cooler back then. I think there’s been a lot of drugs and funny extracurriculars between now and then that helped shape who he is today, but it was good times back then.  But playing all the venues Slayer played, and just playing different music.  His stuff is definitely more – I don’t wanna say intricate cause we’ve got intricate parts too, but – he writes riffs in a very different perspective that I, even after playing with him for a numbers of months, I wouldn’t do it; it’s just not my style.”  

Interviewer:  Gotcha.  It said that the split – when you did leave Megadeth – it caused a rift between yourself and Dave Mustaine, which evolved into a long-running feud between Megadeth and Slayer.

Kerry King:  (Shrugs) “Yeah.  That’s fair.”