Though he may not have been an active member of the band in his final months, guitarist Jeff Hanneman was enough to keep his Slayer bandmates motivated. Now, as his departure sinks in, the remaining members of the band are struggling to find certainty in the iconic thrash band’s future.
Frontman Tom Araya has voiced serious concern about the issue, suggesting that once the band has completed its current touring commitments they may pack up their road cases for good. Though they continue to perform with gusto, Ararya explains that Slayer’s current tour was booked months prior to Hanneman’s passing and the members haven’t even had a chance to get their heads around it.
Speaking to Steppin’ Out Magazine, the frontman says:
“His death has changed everything. Knowing that Jeff was on the sidelines, I was OK. It was always about, ‘Jeff is going to come back.’ Then he passed away and it was more like, ‘Why am I doing this now?’ It changed my attitude about some things. Someone said, ‘It’s really great that you decided to tour and move on,’ but these tours were scheduled in advance.
“At the end of this tour, Kerry and I are going to have to sit down and talk as far as how we want to move forward, if we want to move forward. There hasn’t been time for me and Kerry [King, guitarist] to talk. We’ve been on the road but we haven’t really sat down and talked about it. Jeff and I collaborated a lot, and he offered me the opportunity to write or to collaborate with him. Like I said, there are things we have to discuss to either move forward or just to figure something out.”
The topic was once again brought up during an interview with Metal Assault, where Araya commented on the fan’s take on the whole situation. Undeterred by what they might think, Araya understands full well that “a lot of Slayer fans have been making up their own decisions and minds about what the band should do”. He adds:
“There are some Slayer fans out there that have an opinion, and it’s 50-50. They can live with those opinions. Some of the things that people have said are a little upsetting. But like I said, some SLAYER fans have already made up their mind, so they can live with that.”
It seems to be touring that will severed from the band’s future, though the status of new material is also up in the air. As Araya insists, let’s wait for him and King to hammer out a plan before we start to worry.