As you all know by now, guitarist Jeff Hanneman has been absent from Slayer’s touring commitments for over a year now while recovering from an infected spider bite on his arm. While his condition has been improving, Slayer have just announced that Hanneman will continue to sit out, with Exodus’ Gary Holt filling in once again this Summer on the road.
Slayer released the following statement regarding Hanneman:
“Slayer fans everywhere – it’s time to let you know what is going on with our brother Jeff Hanneman.
As you know, Jeff was bitten by a spider more than a year ago, but what you may not have known was that for a couple of days after he went to the ER, things were touch-and-go. There was talk that he might have to have his arm amputated, and we didn’t know if he was going to pull through at all. He was in a medically-induced coma for a few days and had several operations to remove the dead and dying tissue from his arm. So, understand, he was in really, really bad shape. It’s been about a year since he got out of the hospital, and since then, he had to learn to walk again, he’s had several painful skin grafts, he’s been in rehab doing exercises to regain the strength in his arm; but best of all, he’s been playing guitar.
We were all excited when he joined us onstage for the encore a year ago at The Big Four show at Coachella. Since then, we’ve given him all the time and support he’s needed to continue his rehab so he can come back to the band fully recovered and able to deliver the kind of shows we all want him to. While Jeff’s been doing some writing and has been coming to rehearsal over the past several weeks, he has decided he needs to take more time to continue his rehab. While we want him back onstage with the band, all of us support his decision. So, we’re very grateful that Gary Holt will continue to fill in for Jeff, and will tour with us until Jeff completes his rehab and is ready to return.
How long will that be? The best and most honest answer we can give you is ‘as long as it takes.’ We also wanted you to know that we’ve been doing some writing and recording for the next Slayer album – we’ve tracked a few songs, and will finish the album when we’re off the road later this year. Gary will join us on tour in Europe and the UK in May and June, and then we’ll all see you on this Summer’s Mayhem Festival.”
Though Hanneman will not be on the road with Slayer, it is safe to assume from the statement that he will indeed appear on the newEP and album. Frontman/ bassist Tom Araya previously said that they would never consider moving on without the ailing guitarist. So though they’ll have to perform without him once again, it’s great to see that Slayer are continuing to show support for Hanneman. Here’s hoping that his condition continues to improve.
For those who don’t remember, guitarist Jeff Hanneman has been forced to sit out of Slayer’s recent performances as he rehabilitates from a spider bite infection on his arm. The band has been able to perform with Exodus’ Gary Holt and Cannibal Corpse’s Pat O’Brien filling in. Since then, it’s been unclear as to when Hanneman will return to the stage. However, it now appears that it could be as soon as this weekend at the Big 4’s U.S. concert.
While he made it clear that it’s still not a guaranteed thing, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya told LA Weekly that Hanneman wants to return in time for the Big 4’s U.S. debut. When asked how the guitarist is doing and whether he’d be able to make it to the show, Araya said the following:
“From what I’m being told, he wants to do the show, but we don’t really know what condition he’s in. He’s obviously doing well enough to play his guitar, so that says a lot that he’s determined to want to play the show. Apparently he’s healing well. He has two tender areas on his arm that cause him pain when he plays the guitar, but he’s eager to play, he’s eager to get back out on the road with us. I know that he’s healing well enough to want to play the show. We’ll see.”
At the very least, it’s great to hear that Hanneman has been recovering well. We got a little scared that his condition was worsening after a second fill-in for him was brought in for more performances. It is unclear as to who would be filling in during the Big 4 U.S. show in the instance that Hanneman is not ready to return. However, this update gives hope that Hanneman could be ready for Slayer’s tour with Rob Zombie this Summer. We’ll keep you posted when more is revealed.
Last month, Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman underwent emergency surgery on his right arm for a serious infection, diagnosed as necrotizing fasciitis and likely rooted from a spider bite. Hanneman is expected to make a full recovery (already beginning the process of subsequent medical procedures such as skin grafts), though he is forced to sit on the sidelines for the time being. While the band has canceled touring plans in the past to allow frontman/bassist Tom Araya to recover from back surgery, Slayer has decided to go forward and perform the upcoming Australian Soundwave Festival tour, kicking off on February 26, without Hanneman.
Guitarist Kerry King gave the following explanation regarding their decision:
“After everything that happened last year, we all agreed that we just can’t let our fans down again. Jeff is totally on board with this decision, so we will tour as planned. At this point, we can’t pinpoint exactly what day he’ll be back, but he’ll be back as soon as he possibly can. And we can’t wait for Jeff to get better and get his ass back on the road.”
Slayer will be bring in a guest guitarist to fill in for Hanneman. Details regarding the fill-in are expected to be revealed shortly. It’s weird to think of Slayer performing without Hanneman, just as weird as it would have been to see them perform without Araya for that matter. But it’s cool to see Slayer acknowledging that they didn’t want to disappoint fans like they did the last few times with Araya’s injuries. We will keep you updated when more is revealed.