Tom Araya Uncertain About Slayer Future: 'It Wouldn't Be the Same Without Jeff'

"After 30 years, it would literally be like starting over," the frontman said.

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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.

55 comments sorted by best / new / date

    At least Tom has the right mindset about this whole thing. Unlike Kerry.
    He's a good Catholic Makes me proud that a fellow Catholic in That industry and in That scene like that can represent. He's the only decent human being remaining in Slayer
    "I don't think we should throw in the towel just because Jeff's not here." Kerry-Douche-bag-King Ladies and Gentlemen
    Kerry was all up for carrying on without Jeff, he's been quoted more than once. I firmly believe that Kerry loves playing music but doesn't care if he ruins the Slayer name if he will make money. Jeff and Dave are both gone and before Jeff died, he didn't even care. So he had every intention on carrying on without them both. Tom can't even bang his head anymore, just let 'SLAYER' retire after you've finished arranged shows. Both of you. and leave us with the awesome memories and albums of one of the greatest thrash bands ever. None of us want the Kerry King show.
    well, the thing about jeff is often misunderstood, kerry wanted jeff to return, just like jeff did. Now kerry stated jeff isn't good enough! making us think what an *****! (one of those things) but i read an interview with jeffs wife, talking about the time he was bitten( they don't know if it was a spider)until he died. Jeff would not go to therapy because he thought he can fix it on his own, going to rehearsals and play, but he soon realised that it would not work. falling into depression, he started to drink until he died, while everyone was hoping he would get healthy again. so he pretty much died, because he lost everything that meant something to him, Slayer and also his ability to even play the guitar, and thats a damn sad thing!
    Yeah he drank himself to death through depression. Changes nothing about what I've written above.
    Finally! Tom starts talking. This is proof that Slayer just is not Slayer anymore without the remaining guys. IMO,finish out the obligations left on the plate and bow out honorably. Give the remaining guys a chance to look at solo work or starting a super group even.
    Tom, would it still be the same without Dave?
    Well considering Dave had very little writing credits and had left the band prior to all this years drama, i think it's fair to say Losing Jeff has a way bigger impact.
    Still neither did Bonzo and they stopped w/o him...theres nothing as pure in rock n roll as still having the full line up...thats why zz top is so badass
    Why isnt playing drums considered 'writing'? I'm not a full-on drummer but I respect that it is hard as hell to make the perfect drum track for a song
    I knew I could count on Tom to be some sort of voice of reason for this group. The majority of fans (both die hard and casual) don't like the idea of moving on without Jeff AND Dave. Let's not forget him in all this either.
    As someone who's been in bands that have lost (founding) members and chosen to move on - it's never an easy choice. But in most cases it's a choice based on the music more than anything else. You get to a point, in part because of that band member, to where you love the music you're making, and you can't imagine playing anything else. So when you lose someone you have to ask - I love this band so much, how can i continue playing in it, and making this music? - the answer is, you just do. Even if it means replacing the missing limb. It won't ever be the same, but odds are, you as people, and as a band, have evolved, grown, and changed since you started, so you just have to consider it another step in the evolutionary ladder. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. But when you love the entity you've dedicated your life to like that, it's hard to just let it go.
    I'm sorry, but it starts to look like King's trying to make money.
    God forbid the man wants to continue being successful.
    A good start to that would be learning a new riff. I love Slayer, but honestly every song that Kerry King has written in the last ten years sounds exactly the same to me.
    Josh Reubenking
    At least Tom isn't an ass about it like Kerry. Slayer will never be the same anymore. Dave's gone, Jeff's gone. They were huge in the band's sound.
    Tom and Dave should form a new band name it Reyals. Mind blown, I know.
    That famous saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" well... this is definitely broke and can't be fixed.
    Im boycotting every new Slayer album in the future. Word of advice to Kerry, no more solos, the only good Slayer soloist is no longer with us.
    Boycotting the albums is the only way to make them quit.No albums sales no tour tickets sales and maybe King [oops Slayer] will quit.
    Oh look, just like Slipknot: "Without Paul Grey - Slipknot can't continue" And tour dates and a rumoured new album surface... Simply put, they've been doing it so long, they don't know how to stop. No band of their size could. Money isn't an objective.
    Yeah but Slipknot is fairly new compared to Slayer. Pushing 30 ****ing years of nonstop play, they've gotta give in eventually. Tom is getting tired, Jeff died, Dave left, and Kerry is well.. who ****ing knows. But Slayer is getting older and worn out, this might be the actual end.
    Someone said it a while ago, so Im just going to repeat it: One last album, honoured to Jeff. And one last world tour, for all the fans in the world. After that, a well deserved retirement.
    But it would be the same without Dave?
    probably yes, lombardo left in the '90s because of paying issues, bostaph came, bostaph left, lombardo came, lombardo left, now bostaph again. Same procedure as every year, James? Actually, i like them both, but its a shame how they treat him. Also when dave left the first time, no one seemed to care about it, not even jeff
    Well don't look at Kerry like that , he is not a douche , and he does not give a crap what you guys think , he said that they should carry on without jeff , YES ! What other choice do they have , they cant bring him back ! He wants to do more with Slayer ! Dont we all ! Nobody cares what you douche bag fans think , why should they stop , because you tell them too ! NO ! Go eat a dick ! He will do what he wants !
    The thing is, Kerry's name is huge anyway, people will want to listen to his stuff no matter what name it is released under. I think a new band would be something fresh and exciting. I think a lot of people would prefer to enjoy Slayers legacy rather than a new album that is only from 1/2 of slayers creative mind. I don't care what people think of Kerry King, whether he's a douche or not, I do want to hear more from him but preferably in something not Slayer.
    It's "cool" to bash Kerry King around here. I agree with you but everyone will downvote you and make negative comments.
    Being in a band...I could never even begin to imagine moving on without one of my members. If they left, I could deal with that, if they died, no, I would just stop the band right then and there. It just wouldn't feel right at all. Starting another band would be acceptable but continuing the old one wouldn't in my opinion. I agree with Tom all the way even though I've never been a big Slayer fan.