SLAYER Frontman: JEFF HANNEMAN Will Return To The Road ‘When He’s 100 Percent’

Linnéa Olsson of SVT conducted an interview with SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Arayaprior to the band’s July 3, 2011 “Big Four” concert at Ullevi stadium in Gothenburg, Sweden. You can now watch the chat below. Also available is professionally filmed footage of the Gothenburg show.

Gary Holt of EXODUS is once again filling in for SLAYER founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman who in January contracted necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused by a spider bite, and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and intense rehab since.

When asked for an update on Hanneman‘s health and when fans can expect to see Jeff back up on stage with SLAYER, Araya said, “Jeff was seriously ill. Jeff ended up contracting a bacteria that ate away his flesh on his arm, so they cut open his arm, from his wrist to his shoulder, and they did a skin graft on him, they cleaned up… It was a flesh-eating virus, so he was really, really bad. So we’ll wait for him to get better, and when he’s a hundred percent, he’s gonna come out and join us.”

Araya told Billboard.com that SLAYER will not return to the studio until Hanneman has fully recovered.

“There’s no way we’d go into a studio without him,” Araya said. “As a band we’re not going to do something without him. He’s an integral part of the band. We require his musical skills, his writing skills. He’s an integral part of the band. So we’re going to hold off until he’s at 100 percent and can join that process and be part of it.”

Hanneman stepped onstage with SLAYER at the April 23 “Big Four” concert in Indio, California, marking the first time he has played with the band since last October. Hanneman surprised the crowd of 50,000 when he walked out onto the stage, unannounced, and played the two-song encore, “South Of Heaven” and “Angel Of Death”.

“It was a big deal for him to play — for us it was, too,” Araya told Billboard.com. “We thought that would be a nice surprise for everybody and also make everybody aware that he’s still there. It’s pretty severe what he’s going through. He’s had skin grafts, and he’s got to rehabilitate his arm and get it back in shape again. It’s going to require a lot of time.”

The “Big Four” bands of 1980s thrash metal — METALLICA, MEGADETH, SLAYER and ANTHRAX — played the second show of their current European tour in Gothenburg.

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