SLAYER guitarist Kerry King led the crowd in a “moment of noise” followed by a toast in honor of the band’s late axeman Jeff Hanneman at the Revolver Golden Gods on Thursday night (May 2) in Los Angeles. Video footage of King‘s tribute can be seen below.
Hanneman died at about 11 a.m. yesterday (Thursday, May 2) near his Southern California home. He was 49. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure.
Hanneman had been on hiatus from SLAYER since early 2011, when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease that doctors believed might have been caused by a spider bite. Hanneman almost lost his arm, and was briefly placed in a medically induced coma. After a series of skin grafts, he had been working on his physical rehabilitation. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry.
In a March 1, 2013 interview with MetalObsession.net‘s Nick Tevelis, King stated about Jeff Hanneman‘s health status: “I don’t have an update. I haven’t seen Jeff in forever. He’s always been a recluse, and he’s even been more of a recluse since he’s not going on tour with us. But our manager talks to him from time to time and sees him in L.A. just randomly. But I’m far from L.A., so I’m not in that loop. But I guess he’s just getting better. It’s just one of those things where he can do anything in life. He could be hanging here having a good time with us. He can probably play ‘South Of Heaven’, but he’s not gonna be playing ‘Jihad’, you know what I mean?! So it’s just a muscle memory kind of thing, I guess, at this point.”
Asked whether Jeff had been involved in the songwriting process for the new SLAYER album, Kerry said: “It’s just all my stuff for now. But I did that just in case, ’cause I don’t know what Jeff‘s intentions are. So I wanted to have SLAYER covered in case he doesn’t come to the party. If he comes to the party, then we’ve got tons of songs.”
Regarding whether contingencies had been made in case Jeff doesn’t make it back to SLAYER in the near future, Kerry said: “I think Gary [Holt, EXODUS guitarist who has been filling in for Jeff for the past couple of years] is in for the long haul. I haven’t really discussed it with him. But he keeps his schedule free when he knows we’re on tour. And I’m pretty sure, if Jeff all of a sudden came back in June, we would probably pay Gary for freeing up his time. I don’t wanna treat somebody that’s bailed us out for two years badly. But if Gary played with us forever? I’m OK with that. But if Jeff got better and said, ‘Hey, man, I’m ready to play,’ and he came to rehearsal and showed us he was good enough, that’s his show.”