Today, we honor the Slayer guitarist, Jeff Hannemann, who passed away on May 2, 2013, at age 49 due to liver failure. It’s hard to believe that it’s been two years since his passing. Born Jeffrey John “Jeff” Hanneman on January 31, 1961, Jeff had met Kerry King in 1981 while he was auditioning for another band and approached him to talk about playing together and forming their own band. King, who was in agreement with Hanneman, introduced drummer Dave Lombardo to Hanneman and after recruiting bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, Slayer was born. The band often played covers of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs at clubs and parties. During a show at the Woodstock Club, Slayer were noticed by Metal Blade founder, Brian Slagel, who asked them to record an original song for his Metal Massacre III compilation. The song Aggressive Perfector, led to a recording contract with Metal Blade records. Jeff contributed both musically and lyrically to every Slayer album and wrote the songs Raining Blood, War Ensemble, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss and Angel of Death. Jeff was a huge fan of early heavy metal and punk music and sported a DK (Dead Kennedys) symbol, as well as the likeness of Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten on his guitar. ESP also released a signature Jeff Hanneman model guitar, based on his Jackson Soloist. In 2011, Jeff had contracted necrotizing fasciitis which forced him to take a hiatus from Slayer and while Slayer had announced that Jeff had recovered from the disease, Hanneman was still not well enough to return to Slayer. Kerry King had noted earlier this year that although Jeff was planning on laying down his tracks for the new album he still had on-going health issues. His death changed the face of metal forever. As a longtime Slayer fan who grew up in the 80’s when I first heard Slayer I was hooked. The first time I heard Show No Mercy and the song Chemical Warfare, there was no doubt in my mind that Slayer would achieve the success they have attained and beyond. If you went to any metal club, you would hear SLAYER chanted at least once or twice during the night and Slayer shows always have some very intense mosh pits. Rest in peace Jeff, you left us way too soon and the legacy you left the metal world will live on forever!!
SLAYER – LIVE AT STUDIO 54 – 1985