Today is the one year anniversary of the passing JEFF HANNEMAN – guitarist & (best) songwriter of Los Angeles-based Thrash Metal icons SLAYER.

Next to AC/DC, SLAYER is one of my top favorite bands of all time. Ever since their second release, the “Haunting The Chapel” EP, they instantly became the band I was the most ravenous about – something about their aggression and tales of the darkside attracted me like no other band has since. Though musically, their albums have been spotty ranging to god to mundane after of the release of “Seasons In The Abyss” – they still were the incredible live act with one of the, most craziest, joyously violent fans on the planet.


In the early days, it was guitarist/founder Kerry King that drew my attention. With his overtly Satanic image and ominous -looking nail wrist band, he kinda became the band mascot akin to AC/DC’s Angus Young in his schoolboy uniform. However later, Jeff started to get my attention. Most of my favorite songs were written mainly by him and he was always had an energetic stage presence with his long blond mane rapidly swinging in time to SLAYER’s thrashing beat.

My fondest memory of him, was when I got to see SLAYER perform for a 2nd time ever in 1985 (during their “Hell Awaits” tour at The Stone in San Francisco with local evil thrashers POSSESSED opening up). At some point during the show, I wanted to stage dive, so I wound up being thrown to the stage and I landed at the feet of Jeff Hanneman. Lying on my back, I was kind of stuck their on the floor between him on one side, playing and headbanging away and the crowd on the otherside. We made eye contact, and I knew I needed to get the hell off the stage immediately. I kept wondering what was going through his head seeing the site of little black kid metalhead lying at his feet. Though I was nervous, I banged my fist on his leg three times like a true metal head to acknowledge how bad ass he was, then I got up and lept off the stage. I always think myself that he could have easily kicked me off the stage like a football – yes, I was that tiny then at 15 years old. But he didn’t. He just kept playing away, and I got to have memory that has stayed with me for all of these years.

(photo of EXODUS live below to get an idea of what I’m describing above – c/o Brian Lew: MURDER IN THE FRONT ROW Book)

Cut to last year, when SLAYER announced to the world that Jeff had passed due to a weakened liver, most likely from drinking too much while still recovery from necrotizing fasciitis caused by a brown recluse spider bite. Because of this incident, he was unable to tour with the band, missing out on playing some seminal shows in the America, consisting of METALLICA, SLAYER MEGADETH and ANTHRAX aka the BIG 4. These former thrash metal rivals did play together (with a healthy Jeff) in Europe.

But then Jeff got bit shortly afterwards at his home. He did manage to make one triumphant appearance with his bandmates, playing one song towards the end of their set at the last of the BIG 4 shows in Southern California. With his arms raised, he wasn’t shy at revealing at what had become of his arm due to the flesheating disease the spider bite had caused (he had to undergo many skin grafts to get his arm to heal). I don’t know what had happened afterwards from the time of this show to his death (there has been many seculations on his personal life as SLAYER had to continue onward without him with fill in guitarist Gary Holt of San Francisco Bay Area Thrashers EXODUS, longtime friends of all of the BIG 4 bands).

MAY 23, 2013 – JEEF HANNEMAN MEMORIAL at the Hollywood Palladium
The event was cool, yet bittersweet as Kerry King and other close family & friends talked about their favorite memories of Jeff. This was followed by montage video of Jeff’s life both personal, showing him a s a child to personal photos, including wedding photos with his wife and of course with the band and other musician friends. You can view some of the pics I took on Facebook – click here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151458726704562.1073741832.580404561&type=1&l=b77d5fc03f

At a certain point during the memorial, the SLAYER song “Raining Blood” written by JEFF HANNEMAN blared over the speakers and INSTANTLY 5 thrash circle pits erupted on the floor. At this exact moment, I was caught between 2 pits – this one in front of me and another one behind me. Had to snap this quick and then protect my belongings, while pushing thrashers out of my way, like I used to do back in the day.

Overall, the memorial was a great event, and one year later, Jeff Hanneman is still sorely missed by all of us SLAYER fans around the world! REST IN PEACE.


0 Responses to “REST IN PEACE JEFF HANNEMAN (JANUARY 31, 1964 – MAY 2, 2013) ONE YEAR LATER”

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