I never claimed to be the biggest Slayer fan. Do I have all their records and CDs? Yeah, I do. Did I just buy a big silk Slayer flag to hang in my studio a few weeks ago? Yeah, I did. Did I spend countless years of my youth, drinking heavy and driving fast, blasting ‘Reign In Blood’ through a blown car stereo? Of course, I did. Can I describe to you the feeling I got when my disgust of organized religion was so intense that while singing along to ‘Disciple’ I found, to my surprise, I knew all the words, through the mysterious power of the subconscious? Yes, I can describe it, but that is a tale for another time. I never claimed to be the biggest Slayer fan but I do think I can write a brief post to honor the memory of Jeff Hanneman, who has undoubtedly inspired many of those who will be reading.
When Darrell Abbott died in 2004, I didn’t have Forbidden Magazine or any other place to speak my mind or pay my respects. Many who read this would be quick to call me a poser for even enjoying Pantera or even the post-Reign In Blood Slayer. Let’s not kid ourselves, here. I will assume that most of you reading this, myself included, play an instrument, write, produce, etc. Many of us will never even come near the level of ‘success’ that Hanneman did. How amazing would it really be to sell-out concerts, have rabid fans scream every lyric you wrote and be the meanest fucking guitarist that 80’s thrash had ever seen? I mean, how many pictures have you seen of the man with a Raiders jersey and black fucking sunglasses? Ice cold doesn’t even begin to describe how cool this motherfucker was!
Maybe it isn’t ‘kvlt’ or ‘cool’ or ‘underground’ to be good at something…for Hanneman, it certainly was. I will make my point and shut up so you can push play on the video below, enjoy the music and dig out your old Slayer albums. What Hanneman accomplished he worked hard for, every day, for over 30 years. Every time he practiced, you heard the result of his labor. When he sacrificed his free time to perfect his craft, you heard the result of his labor. When he should have been saving for a retirement, he invested in Slayer and we all heard the result of his sacrifice and enjoyed the fruits of his labor. All that he worked for was taken from him at the young age of 49, Abbot at 38, Burton at 24. Live every day like it is your last, practice your craft and SHOW NO MERCY!