Slayer Wasn’t Kerry King’s ‘Perfect Band,’ David Ellefson Explains

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During the early days of Megadeth, Kerry King joined forces with the band’s founding members, including Dave Mustaine, David Ellefson, and Lee Rausch. Ellefson recently unveiled some behind-the-scenes stories about King’s tenure in the group during an interview on the ‘Disturbing The Priest Podcast.’

He shed light on King’s enthusiasm for collaborating with Mustaine, noting:

“Kerry was around our age, fitting perfectly into our group. He was a notch above in terms of skill and really connected with Dave. Kerry was deeply influenced by watching Dave perform with Saxon, with Metallica as the opening act. That moment was pivotal for him, shaping his musical journey, his guitar techniques, and his entire career. He thoroughly enjoyed his time playing alongside Dave.”

Although King’s period with Megadeth was short-lived and didn’t result in any recorded albums, he made a significant impact during their initial five performances in 1984. Ellefson remarked on King’s exceptional guitar prowess, mentioning:

“Kerry had this incredible ability to immediately pick up and replicate riffs. Dave would demonstrate a riff, and Kerry would flawlessly echo it back. It was remarkable. Together with my bass playing, we forged a distinct sound and style. That’s what bands do—they come together to craft a unique musical journey.”

In a 2022 interview with Loudwire, King himself reflected on his stint with Megadeth, viewing it as a valuable learning experience. He joined the lineup, aware that his association with the band would also bring attention to his primary band, Slayer, stating:

“I saw it as an enormous opportunity for growth. I also figured it would draw attention to Slayer, keeping the band in people’s minds. It wasn’t about just being part of Megadeth.”

King candidly expressed his feelings about working with Mustaine, humorously noting:

“Staying in Megadeth for more than a few hours is a challenge—that guy is intense.”

He fondly remembered his days with Megadeth as ‘good times’ but acknowledged that a mix of substance use and other factors meant that his tenure with the band was destined to be brief.

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