Jeff Hanneman Was Writing New Music Before He Died

Slayer frontman Tom Araya has described what happened when he first heard of Hanneman's death, revealing that the late guitarist had been busy writing new music.

logo
Ultimate Guitar
34
Tom Araya has recalled his last memories of late Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman, and reveals that his old friend had been writing new music before his death. Sadly, he adds that their relationship grew more distant as Jeff's depression set in after his battle with a flesh-eating disease from a spider bite left him unable to play guitar. Jeff died on May 2 from alcohol-related liver cirrhosis. "I had been texting with him, and he even sent me a song that he had been working on. So it seemed like he was doing okay," Araya told Guitar World (via Blabbermouth). "But when I got the call that he was back in intensive care, I became concerned. Eventually he stopped responding to my texts. It was like a one-sided conversation." Araya says he had to hang up the phone and cry when Slayer's manager called him with news of Jeff's death. "It hit my family hard, because they really liked Jeff. My mother was really upset, my sisters loved Jeff, and my brother too - he was Jeff's tech for a long time," he said. The Guitar World feature includes insightful comments from others in Jeff's life, including his wife Kathryn who suggests that Jeff's problems may go further back than his infamous spider bite, to the death of his father in 2008. "That's when things really started to go downhill for him," said Kathryn. "It was probably the hardest thing he ever had to face in his entire life. When I met Jeff, he didn't have all that great of a relationship with his father. But as time went on, they became very close. So that took a toll on him. He was never quite the same after that. I just don't think he cared anymore."

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

comments policy
    DreamGate
    'he had to hang up the phone and cry' That has to be the worst feeling ever. I had that happen to me when a very close friend of mine died. Something I never want to relive again.
    PrimalFeelings
    Very sad the way that it had to go in the end. I guess sometimes it gets too deep to get out. R.I.P.
    Kaseke
    Music is what keeps me going at my worst moments, that's when I get the most out of myself
    SonOfAnarchy
    The only way the new Slayer record will not suck is if they get to use the music (and hopefully lyrics) Hanneman was working on. If King makes it on his own it will be a disaster.
    Abacus11
    I hope they use Jeff's songs too but I don't think it'll necessarily be a disaster if King contributed the majority of material... he wrote about half of the songs on Reign In Blood, South of Heaven and Seasons in the Abyss and not to mention later era Slayer. Jeff was my favorite guitarist and writer in the band but I don't feel like all of this Kerry King bashing is really called for.
    SonOfAnarchy
    The songs Slayer made in the 80s are classics, no matter who wrote them. The difference now is that Jeff kept writing good songs on every record after, while Kerry lost his creativity. I like Snuff and Dittohead, but everything else he's written since '94 I generally don't enjoy that much. I just can't see him write ten songs that all are awesome, when he hasn't written more then two the last 20 years. It's just my opinion, feel free to disagree with me. Proof of Jeff being the best writer in Slayer: look at the set lists from Slayer's concerts and tell me how many Jeff was a part of writing. So again: a record solely written by King will (I really hope I'm wrong tho) suck.
    Abacus11
    I hear what you're saying, all totally valid points. Hanneman was always more creative while King always seemed to write similar songs... but with them both writing their styles meshed well. I'm optimistic about Bostaph being back in the band too - even though Lombardo is probably my favorite metal drummer of all time. I've been a huge Slayer fan since 1990 (yeah, I'm sorta old) and with all of the upheaval in the band lately it's hard to imagine what's going to happen with them. They're now literally one of my favorite bands with half of the members not there anymore. I hope they continue to make great records and tour so I'll be optimistic until I can't anymore. Who knows what will happen but I wish them the best.
    boogaboom
    How can Kerry just think about Slayer businness, that stupid bald dickhead... He has no respect for Jeff's memory
    Thatguy89
    he's bottling it up and i think work is the only thing keeping him from cracking
    Theophillis
    Different people have different ways of dealing with things like this. I bottled it up after someone very close died, people accused me of being cold, until it boiled over and I blacked out with blood on my face and hands at 3am. I've since learned from this. Maybe King will too.
    zalant
    There's also the distinct possibility that Slayer (all-original or not) may be contractually obligated to do certain things, like continue touring and show up to play gigs. I have no idea of how contracts are structured for such things, but maybe there is no way out of them. I'm certainly the last person who'd want to make excuses for Kerry King, but sometimes there's more to things than we see from the outside looking in. Don't get me wrong; I still think he's a dick. } : - ) >
    BuckinFuffalo
    I don't like Slayer at all, but reading all of these articles about Jeff just sucks. Hopefully he's happier now. R.IP.
    LESMING
    HE'S NOT.... LIKE HIS GOOD BUDDY TOM SAID ON 2006 6 6 FOR THE OMAN MOVIE DEBUT...WE'VE MADE OUR CHOICE!... IF THERE'S A HELL WE ARE GOING THERE! STUPID FUCK...HELL AIN'T COOL... HELL IS A PLACE WHERE YOU NEVER REST ..!!! DANG HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE!!
    kratos379
    Apparently stupid enough to use all caps on a post even knowing that nobody ever takes those posts seriously.
    eVwaylon
    Even though I believe strickly in Hell you shouldn't go around saying shit like that. Someone going through ultimate suffering isn't something to pile disrespect on, whether you believe in the place or not. Respect.
    denzer1992
    Jeff died on May 2 from alcohol-related liver cirrhosis. Thank god james hetfield went to rehab back then.... if he hadn't made that decision he could be dead aswell...
    Abacus11
    The danger of serious alcoholism gets overshadowed a lot by drugs and the fact that alcohol is legal. It kills way more people than most people know and in so many sad ways. RIP Jeff
    GodzillaRAWRRR
    I think the best thing they could do is just do one more album with the songs that Jeff wrote so his legacy would be complete and the songs he wrote would be heard and just call an end to Slayer after thar. Anyone agree?
    munkybusiness
    Kerry, you know you could never pull off a 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 00000 2 0 like Jeff.
    UniformRecon
    If Slayer is going to come out with a new album, at least have the decency to use the work Jeff was working on before he died, and then don't release anything else, because a Slayer without Jeff is no Slayer at all to me.
    TJWhonley
    TBH i think this might be the one thing that will set Kerry's ego straight. So sad to hear about him and his dad, RIP Jeff.