Phil Demmel Says Slayer Saved His Career
Phil was asked by Kerry to join Slayer on their 2018 farewell tour of Europe after Gary Holt returned home to look after his ill father.
Speaking to MusicRadar, Phil revealed that he received the “mind-blowing text” from Kerry less than a day after his final show with Machine Head – the band he’d been a part of for 15 years.
“I think Slayer saved my musical career in some way. In under 24 hours, I went from the last day of a tour wondering whether I was even good enough to be in bands any more, to this mind-blowing text from Kerry King asking if I could play in Slayer,” says Phil.
“I guess the reason I’m in this position now is because of the people I had met, almost from a networking standpoint.
“I knew the guys in Slayer before I got that text. If being a session player is the route you want to go down, I would say avoid getting too centrally focused on one style. Watch that Netflix movie Hired Gun – everyone they talk to explains how session players are there to do whatever the artist wants. You have to play what you are expected to.”
Phil departed Machine Head in 2018 along with drummer Dave McClain. The two took part in the band’s Freaks & Zeroes tour, which ended at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA on November 24.
Since the pair’s departure, Dave has rejoined Sacred Reich and and Phil has resurrected his Bay Area thrash band Vio-lence. And more projects are starting to roll in for the guitarist.
“I want to be honest to who I am as a player. I was already 36 when I joined Machine Head. Then there was 16 years of that and now I feel like I’m just getting started again,” says Phil.
“Things are popping up. I’ve done a few guest solos here and there as well as music for video game companies.
“Mainly, I’m just enjoying being at home and running the business – me and my wife Marta bought a bar where we live and it’s doing well. There will be a solo record at one point I’m sure, so let’s see what happens. I’m flying by the seat of my pants right here!”
Recently, Machine Head frontman Robb Flynn posted a video from the studio, hinting he was working on new material. No word as yet on who is replacing Phil and Dave.
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