Thrash metal veterans Slayer will not return to the studio to record a new album until guitarist Jeff Hanneman has recovered from illness – the band continue, however, to play live.
Speaking to Billboard.com, bassist and singer Tom Araya said, “There’s no way we’d go into a studio without him. As a band we’re not going to do something without him. He’s an integral part of the band. We require his musical skills, his writing skills. He’s an integral part of the band. So we’re going to hold off until he’s at 100 percent and can join that process and be part of it.”
Hanneman is currently suffering from a nasty case of necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection that can destroy muscles, skin and tissue. It is thought Hanneman contracted the disease from a spider bite.
Slayer continue to tour, however, and played in Australia as part of the Soundwave Festival (though had to cancel a Sydney show due to Araya’s own health issues). Gary Holt of Exodus has been filling in for Hanneman, though the latter did join his band for two songs at a recent show, described by Araya as a ‘very emotional’ event.
“It was a big deal for him to play – for us it was too,” said Araya. “We thought that would be a nice surprise for everybody and also make everybody aware that he’s still there. It’s pretty severe what he’s going through. He’s had skin grafts, and he’s got to rehabilitate his arm and get it back in shape again. It’s going to require a lot of time.”