Singer/bassist Tom Araya of Slayer recently discussed the band's future plans and the extent to which the passing of guitarist Jeff Hanneman still affects him. While chatting with Billboard, Araya remembered some of the tough moments from the latest tour, singling out the encore moment when the band dropped the banner with Hanneman's name. "Everything was fine until we would drop the banner," he said. "I had a tough time maintaining control at first. I mean, even though he wasn't part of our live performances for the past two years, there was hope. There was always the possibility and chance he'll be coming back - there was never any doubt he was coming back from my perspective. "So when we got the call [that Hanneman had died] it was like, 'Holy s--t! It's permanent now,'" Tom continued. "And still, every now and then I have to remind myself that he's not gonna be back. This is how it is. I have to remind myself that he's not alive anymore. That's hard." When it comes to the band's future, Araya noted that Slayer are "at a point where we're obviously going to have to do a lot of communication and figure out where we want to go." "Three weeks after [Hanneman] died we were back on the road," the bassist said. "A lot of stuff was put together in advance, so we're meeting our contractual obligations, in a sense. We've never really had an opportunity to really sit down and discuss what we're feeling and where we are and where we want to go. Jeff was a big part of the band; some people are just now realizing that, but I've always known it." Tom concluded, "So Kerry and I have a lot of thinking to do, a lot of talking to do and we haven't been in a place to do that yet" During a separate LA Weekly interview, Kerry King pointed out that the decision to continue came as a difficult, yet necessary route. "At the end of the day, this is my job," he said. "I have to earn money for myself, my bandmates, and my crew."
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