GARY HOLT: JEFF HANNEMAN Was ‘A True Original And One Of The Greats’

Decibel magazine’s July issue (on newsstands in June) features a nine-page tribute to late SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman in the form of a moving retrospective obituary, some of Hanneman‘s most biting quotes, and a litany of heartfelt remembrances from EXODUS, Philip Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA), AT THE GATES, TESTAMENT, CANNIBAL CORPSE and countless other contemporaries, including EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt, who has been filling in for Jeff on stage with SLAYER for more than two years.

“I will never forget the first time SLAYER came to the Bay Area to play with EXODUS at Ruthie’s Inn,” Gary said. “After their show at the Keystone Berkeley, we all headed over to their hotel and proceeded — with their permission, of course — to absolutely destroy the place! Pizza nailed to the ceiling with screwdrivers and shit — which we pulled down and ate the next day! We scattered like roaches with the lights on when the cops were called. We felt bad for about five minutes! It was a whole new level of destruction, to say the least: me ripping the mattress to shreds with Jeff‘s upside-down cross guitar slide, the one on ‘Show No Mercy’. He gave that to me that night; it was still in my possession up until around 1994, when it vanished in a move. l would give anything to still have that thing: a piece of metal history right there.

“But through all the one-off shows, the VENOM tour — with SLAYER and EXODUS, dubbed ‘The Ultimate Revenge’ — etc., Jeff was always the one guy [Paul] Baloff [late EXODUS frontman] and myself would wreck shit and just go crazy with. A true legend, one who didn’t care about being a legend in the first place.

“R.I.P., Jeff. You were a true original and one of the greats.”

Decibel‘s Jeff Hanneman tribute issue can be purchased here.

Hanneman passed away on May 2 from liver failure at the age of 49.

Members of SLAYER released a statement on May 9 saying that Hanneman died of alcohol-related cirrhosis.

Hanneman had actually not been playing with SLAYER for more than two years since he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating disease, from a spider bite in his backyard in January 2011. The infection ravaged the flesh and tissues of Hanneman‘s arm, leading to numerous surgeries, skin grafts and intense periods of rehab that forced him into semi-retirement and left him near death at several points.

Hanneman‘s last appearance with SLAYER was in April 2011, when he played an encore with the band at the “Big Four” concert in Indio, California.



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