After missing several tours this year due to an infected spider bite on his arm, guitarist Jeff Hanneman has announced his departure from Slayer “effective immediately.” Shortly following his statement, Slayer gave word that they plan to officially disband after their upcoming tour with Rob Zombie.
In an official joint statement, Tom Araya, Kerry King and Dave Lombardo had the following to say:
“We want to thank Gary Holt [Exodus guitarist] and Pat O’Brien [Cannibal Corpse guitarist], as well as all of our fans for their support these past few months. But with Hanneman’s mind made up, we simply can’t move on.”
In his own statement, Hanneman had the following to say about his departure:
“I am deeply sorry to my brothers in Slayer and the fans. However, I just couldn’t bear the thought of ‘Big 8’ or ‘Big 12’ thrash bands stepping all over my rhythm tracks while I recuperate. I founded this band with Kerry King 30 years ago, and having to sit on the sidelines and watching them play is unbearable. And so I had to make the second hardest decision in my life.”
No word on who Slayer will have fill in for Hanneman during their remaining performances once O’Brien’s time with the band is up, although Holt will be opening for the Zombie/Slayer tour, so that’s likely.
Slayer formed in 1981 in Huntington Park, California, releasing their debut album in 1983. Their commercial peak came with the “trinity” of 1986’s Reign In Blood, 1988’s South of Heaven and 1990’s Seasons In The Abyss. To read statements from both Slayer and Hanneman, click here.
[Update]: Since posting this on Friday, which was April 1st, which was also April Fool’s Day, it was reported as fact by some. It was obviously an April Fool’s joke and the majority of people reading this post either realized it was a joke from the fake statements, or more obviously, by the link at the end of the article. However, since many people just read/post headlines, and also because Hanneman’s health problems have him temporarily sidelined, the story was juuust plausible enough for some of you to take it at face value. That, combined with Metal Underground’s story, which unbeknownst to us, ran earlier in the day, and it was enough to create a ‘OMG they really broke up’ buzz for a few hours. So let us state that Slayer is NOT breaking up, Hanneman is still in the band, and their festival appearances and Summer headlining tour are still on. If we fooled any of you, well, we’re not going to apologize – it was April 1st for fuck’s sake!