by Chris Haire
During his time in Slayer, Hanneman penned some of trash metal's all-time classic rippers, like "Angel of Death" and "South of Heaven." However, after contracting necrotizing fasciitis — most likely from a untreated spider bite — Hanneman had to leave the band while he recovered, a process that ended up taking years. The band continued to tour in his absence.
Following the news of his passing, we turned to a few of the Holy City's most notable metal heads for their thoughts.
Camden McIver, Skwril Grinda
"I was 6 or 7 the first time I heard slayer. It was right around the time Reign in Blood came out. I was like holy hell, this is heavy metal! I immediately fell in love, and nothing else even compared. Metallica, psssh lame! I still listen to Divine Intervention, which is my favorite album, all the time. Jeff's passing is a huge loss and a shock to the metal community. I don't even know if I would have ever picked up a guitar if I hadn't been introduced to that style of music at such a young age, it just fascinated me. Thank you Jeff, you will truly be missed, but you will always live on through your music! You have truly influenced me and our band! Rest in peace my brother, Cam and Skwirl Grinda!"
Big Gore, Coffin Syrup
"Jeff Hanneman, the human, has passed away. Jeff Hanneman,the guitarist from Slayer, is an immortal metal god. Jeff and his contribution to Slayer have helped shape most of the modern heavy music we have today.I wonder what kinda shit he's jamming on with Dimebag, Vitek, and Cliff Burton. I guess I'll find out when I get to Hell, or should I say... "South of Heaven"!"
Joel Moore, Wolf Lord
"Jeff Hanneman's passing is a devastating loss to the metal community. So incredibly unfortunate. It's the end of an era. I'll be blasting Slayer for the next few days."
We also turned to the folks at Monster Music and Movies. Out of all of the store's employees, Wray Newcombe was the biggest Slayer fan. He writes:
"The first slayer album I owned was Reign in Blood on cassette. The entire album fit on one side, so when you finished it all you had to do was flip it over and listen again. At just over/under 28 minutes it still is a sonic blast of pure thrash/punk/metal.
I will never forget at 16 getting to see Slayer at the King Street Palace downtown on the Clash of the Titans tour. That tour has now fallen into the halls of legend and everyone there that night was waiting for Slayer. They did not disappoint. I was able later that night to walk around and hang with the band for several hours. Jeff Hanneman was the only member to not come off the bus. I met him briefly and then he dissapeared leaving the other members to chat and sign autographs. I was 16 and it was only my second show. The bands on the bill that night were, Alice in Chains, Slayer, Anthrax, and Megadeth in that order. Slayer killed that night over them all.
I have seen the band a total of five times. The fourth show was in Atlanta. Almost sixteen years to the day that I saw them here. I gained all access passes this time and before they went on a friend and I went backstage to see if we could meet them again. My memory of this, now last, meeting is the best.
Jeff Hanneman was standing in the middle of their little room off to the side of the other bands and simply playing video games. He offered, along with the other members, both my friend and I any snacks we wanted from their fridge. I watched from the doorway. Dave Lombardo eating almost an entire tray of Oreos while taking huge gulps of Red Bull to wash them down! We chatted a bit about success and doing any song they wanted on the set list they were making at the time. Tom Araya played with his children in the halls and the vibe that night was all zen. I will never forget how kind Jeff and the band where to a goofy kid who was so excited to meet them and just shake hands with musical legends.
Jeff's sound and his uncompromising approach to life and songwriting will never be forgotton. If you don't know Slayer, well, you don't know metal. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Hanneman, R.I.P."