In a recent interview with Guitar World, the lasting members of thrash icons Slayer have expressed different opinions on the bands future since the departure of guitarist Jeff Hanneman. Of course you’d expect Kerry King to feel no need to stop, but Tom Araya has admitted to feeling somewhat uncertain about the group’s future, fearing a long-term replacement is just not possible.
Araya explained that “to move forward without Jeff just wouldn’t be the same,” expressing his fear that Hanneman’s musical ability and intuition cannot be matched, especially in the eyes of fans:
“I’m not sure the fans would be so accepting of that drastic a change. Especially when you consider how much he contributed to the band musically. And you can have someone sit in for him, but there’s no-one on this planet that can do what Jeff did. There’s no replacing him.”
As it turns out, he’s had issues with the situation since the beginning:
“For me it was really difficult to make the decision to go on without Jeff,” he said. “They started naming names to take his place, and I’m like, ‘How can you guys even think about this? We can’t do this without Jeff.’ But we had to do something. Slayer, aside from being band members and really tight-knit, we are a business. Those are aspects of what we do that fans have a tough time understanding. So we had to make decisions because we were obligated to do these tours.”
Hanneman’s fellow axe man and Slayer co-founder Kerry King feels a lot different about the situation, simply stating that he plans on continuing, stating, “I don’t think we should throw in the towel just because Jeff’s not here.”
Both bandmates have also elaborated on their experiences with Jeff in the months leading up to his death. Araya recalled, “His ability to play was slowly deteriorating… But he didn’t let anybody know that. We could just tell that things were going wrong. It was becoming hard to get stuff out of him.” The frontman added, “He tried to be really strong and sometimes that can weigh you down.”
This seems to match up with Hanneman’s wife’s version of events, explaining that her late husband refused any form of rebab after his debilitating spider bite.
In the interview, King exposed a much softer side than we’re used to seeing, telling Guitar World, “It eats you up because you think ‘Why can’t I fix this guy? And it’s not that he didn’t want to be fixed. I mean, he didn’t want to die. But he also couldn’t help himself before it was too late.”
Even the groups former drummer Dave Lombardo has weighted in on the topic:
“You would notice it in his hands and a little bit in his walk. It seemed like he was struggling with his playing – it wasn’t fluid. You could hear it in the leads. His playing just wasn’t as tight as it could have been.”
Hanneman passed away Thursday, 2nd May following liver failure and years of necrotizing fasciitis contracted from a spider bite.
(Via Guitar World)
Gallery: Slayer – Soundwave 2013, Sydney