It seems that thrash veterans Slayer might be on the verge of yet another drama. After firing longtime drummer Dave Lombardo from the latest Australian tour, guitarist Kerry King has recently commented on the status of his fellow axeman Jeff Hanneman. And judging by the statements, the possibility of Hanneman ending up like Lombardo doesn't look too far-fetched.
In an interview with the Metal Obsession, King has admitted not hearing with Hanneman for quite some time, calling him recluse. When asked for an update on the current situation, King started off by saying he doesn't have one.
"I don't have an update. I haven't seen Jeff in forever. He's always been a recluse, and he's even been more of a recluse since he's mot going on tour with us. But our manager talks to him from time to time and sees him in L.A. just randomly. But I'm far from L.A., so I'm not in that loop. But I guess he's just getting better. It's just one of those things where he can do anything in life. He could be hanging here having a good time with us. He can probably play 'South Of Heaven', but he's not gonna be playing 'Jihad', you know what I mean?! So it's just a muscle memory kind of thing, I guess, at this point."
The guitarist even went far enough to consider permanently hiring Gary Holt, saying he is "OK with that."
"I think Gary is in for the long haul. I haven't really discussed it with him. But he keeps his schedule free when he knows we're on tour. And I'm pretty sure, if Jeff all of a sudden came back in June, we would probably pay Gary for freeing up his time. I don't wanna treat somebody that's bailed us out for two years badly. But if Gary played with us forever? I'm OK with that. But if Jeff got better and said, 'Hey, man, I'm ready to play,' and he came to rehearsal and showed us he was good enough, that's his show."
As far as the new album recording goes, King remains hopeful the new record will see it's release by the end of the year. Whether or not Jeff Hanneman will be involved in the writing process is still unknown.
"It's just all my stuff for now. But I did that just in case, 'cause I don't know what Jeff's intentions are. So I wanted to have Slayer covered in case he doesn't come to the party. If he comes to the party, then we've got tons of songs."
Jeff Hanneman has contracted a flesh-eating disease called necrotizing fascilitis from a spider bite over two years ago and wasn't able to play ever since. The group has brought in Gary Holt of Exodus as a temporary replacement until the full recovery is reached. In the previous update of Hanneman's condition, the band has stated that they are still uncertain of him coming back.