In Memoriam: Jeff Hanneman 1964 – 2013

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Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founding member of Slayer, died of liver failure at 11 am Thursday morning.

He was 49.

 

 

 

 

 

The band’s website released the following statement:

Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed.

 

 

Jeff freaking defined thrash metal with fellow guitarist Kerry King, Drummer Dave Lombardo, and Bassist/Singer Tom Araya when they started Slayer in 1981.

Personally, Slayer has been a big influence on my life.  I went to a Lutheran school, and Slayer gave me an escape. They weren’t afraid to call out some religious institutions for their hypocrisies: Schools that taught you to love your neighbor, unless, of course, if they’re gay, atheists, or look different. Schools that saw quiet young men with long hair as deviants that needed prosthelytizing or banishment. Churches that decry violence when it comes from another religion, but praise it when it comes from their own. Listing to Slayer in the dark corners of my bedroom at night kept me mindful of these things.

Slayer taught me something else. Community. Don’t be mistaken, Slayer shows are the most brutal shows you will ever come across. But everybody knows the rules. You’re there to throw yourself into a sweaty crowd to be pushed, slammed, and tossed around to the dissonant  accompaniment of Angel of Death. And there’s only one rule:

If anyone falls, you pick them up.

This happens at other shows, but nowhere else is this rule followed as vehemently as at a Slayer show. This rule is dogma. At a Slayer show, there is no religion except for this one rule. Black, white, short, tall, fat, skinny, long-hair, jock, girl, boy, or whatever else in-between, if that person is on the floor, you push your way through until you get that person back on their feet again.

Line 6

You may never see these people again, but you will always think of them as friends.

That’s why you always hear the call of loyal Slayer fans at other shows. Hell, I went to a goddamn Eagles concert and I heard some dude yell out “Slayer!” while I was taking a piss. As is custom, I yelled back in response: “Slayer!”

No matter where you are, you will always find one of these nameless friends who are willing to pull you up if you fall down.

And that’s what Jeff Hanneman did with his life.

When it all goes quiet and you hear the unmistakable sounds of raindrops hitting the ground. A few moments before the drums kick in:

bum bum bum

bum bum bum

The guitars kick in and the world erupts into chaos. On stage, Jeff’s long strands of blonde hair flail endlessly to flattened fifths and chromatic shredding madness.

Rock in Peace, Jeff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the Author: Marc published his first novel Becoming in 2010. It’s a kick-ass book with monsters and dreams and stuff, and you should buy it. Since then, he’s written thousands of articles for TheToneKing.com, many of which have been picked up for circulation by manufacturers and other news outlets. His next book, Drugs and Pancakes, should be available early 2014 if his alcoholic editor can find time to work on it in-between destroying his liver and screaming about punctuation. He graduated from Roosevelt University with honors, which means that he’s not as dumb as he looks. He’s been playing guitar for over 25 years, which is almost twice as long as most of his students have been alive.

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