The remaining members of Slayer seem to have different stands on what the future holds for the iconic thrash act. During an interview with Guitar World, guitarist Kerry King and singer/bassist Tom Araya showed different levels of determination to move on without the late axeman.
As Blabbermouth reports, Araya was more uncertain in his predictions, saying that "after 30 years, it would literally be like starting over."
"To move forward without Jeff [Hanneman] just wouldn't be the same," he said, "and 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."
On the other hand, King clearly stressed that he has no intention in letting the Slayer machine stop. "I plan on continuing," the guitarist said. "I don't think we should throw in the towel just because Jeff's not here."
Araya also discussed the state of Hanneman's health during his final years and the arthritic condition the axeman was battling.
"His ability to play was slowly deteriorating," the frontman said. "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. He was very proud and didn't want to make anyone worry about anything. Jeff would show up and play, and he didn't want anyone to know or worry about what else was going on with him. He tried to be really strong and sometimes that can weigh you down."
The group's former drummer Dave Lombardo also chipped in on the subject, saying, "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."
After Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis from a spider bite, the band was forced to find a temporary replacement. Araya remembers that time as a rough period, admitting that he considered it almost impossible to move on without Jeff.
"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."
"It eats you up because you think 'Why can't I fix this guy?'" King concluded. "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."
Jeff Hanneman passed away on May 2 near his Southern California home after suffering a liver failure. He was 49.