Kerry King (SLAYER), Dave Lombardo (SLAYER), Gary Holt (EXODUS, SLAYER), Robert Trujillo (METALLICA), Shavo Odadjian (SYSTEM OF A DOWN), Robb Flynn (MACHINE HEAD), Paul Bostaph (SLAYER, TESTAMENT, EXODUS), Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT) and John Tempesta (THE CULT, EXODUS, TESTAMENT) are among the musicians who attended the public memorial celebration for SLAYER‘s late guitarist Jeff Hanneman, which was held yesterday afternoon (Thursday, May 23) at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California.
High-quality photos of the event from photographer Stephanie Cabral can be found at this location. Fan-filmed video footage is available below.
A full report, including photos from Stephanie Cabral, has been posted at the web site of U.K.’s Metal Hammer magazine.
Members of SLAYER released a statement on May 9 saying that Hanneman died of alcohol-related cirrhosis. He is credited for writing many of the band’s classic songs, including “Angel Of Death” and “South Of Heaven”.
The guitarist, who passed away in Los Angeles on May 2, 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.
Hanneman recalled in a 2011 interview with Classic Rock magazine that he initially didn’t even feel the spider bite, adding, “But an hour later, I knew that I was ill. I could see the flesh corrupting. The arm was real hot. I got to the emergency room, and thank god the nurse knew straight away what it was . . . At that point, I was an hour away from death.”
Hanneman was well known for his aversion to the spotlight, avoiding interviews and even turning off his phone when he was not on tour to spend time with his family. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry.
SLAYER was founded in 1981 in Los Angeles and went on to become one of most popular bands of the speed/thrash metal movement, eventually being considered one of the “Big Four” alongside METALLICA, MEGADETH and ANTHRAX.
While never a band that got any substantial radio airplay, the group has long been considered a major influence on the metal genre and acclaimed as one of the best live metal acts of the past 30 years.
SLAYER guitarist Kerry King received a huge ovation from the crowd at the Revolver Golden Gods awards show on May 2 at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, where he said that Hanneman would have wanted “noise” rather than a moment of silence and then drank two shots in his bandmate’s honor.
King and SLAYER basist/vocalist Tom Araya confirmed that their summer European dates will go on as planned, starting June 4 at the Impact Festival in Poland and running through mid-August.
In a statement, the two said that, “We know that our fans everywhere are hurting for the loss of Jeff just as we are. We want to let you all know that when we come to Europe this summer in June, July and August we’ll ALL be making noise together for our brother and dear friend Jeff…We’ll see you then!”
King and Araya also released their own statements in tribute to Hanneman.
Kerry: “I had so many great times with Jeff… In the early days when we were out on the road, he and I were the night owls, we would stay up all night on the bus, just hanging out, talking, watching movies… World War II movies, horror movies, we watched ‘Full Metal Jacket’ so many times, we could practically recite all of the dialogue.”
Tom: “When we first formed SLAYER, we used to rehearse all the time, religiously, 24/7. Jeff and I spent a lot of time hanging out together, he lived in my father’s garage which was also our rehearsal space. When he got his own apartment, he had an 8-track and I would go there to record songs I’d written, not SLAYER songs, other stuff I’d written. At a certain point, you still have the band but you start your own lives outside of the band, so that 24/7 falls to the side, you don’t spend as much time together as you once did. I miss those early days.”
Kerry: “He was a gigantic World War II buff. His father served in that war, so when SLAYER played Russia for the first time — I think it was 1998 — Jeff and I went to one of Moscow’s military museums. I’ll never forget him walking around that place, looking at all of the tanks, weapons and other exhibits. He was like a kid on Christmas morning. But that was Jeff‘s thing, he knew so much about WW II history, he could have taught it in school.”
Tom: “We were in New York recording ‘South Of Heaven’. Jeff and I were at the hotel and we had to get to the studio — I think it was called Chung King, a real rundown place. So we left the hotel and decided to walk, but then it started raining. We walked maybe five blocks, and it was raining so hard, we were totally soaked, so we decided to get a cab. Here we are, two dudes with long hair and leather jackets, absolutely soaked, thumbing to the studio. No one would stop. We had to walk the entire way.”
SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo sat out the band’s recent Australian tour due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).
Photo credit: Stephanie Cabral