By Jon Wiederhorn
Slayer has announced that there will be a public memorial to commemorate the band's late guitarist Jeff Hanneman on May 23. It'll take place at Los Angeles's Hollywood Palladium from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Fans are encouraged to attend, and will be admitted on a first come, first-in basis until the venue is full.
The Jeff Hanneman Memorial Celebration will be an opportunity for Hanneman’s family, friends, and fans to reflect over the guitarist’s colorful personality and considerable musical accomplishments.
Two years after being bitten by a recluse spider and developing the flesh-eating skin disease necrotizing fasciitis, Hanneman died on May 2 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver. He was 49.
In a statement to their fans, Slayer said, "Jeff Hanneman helped shape Slayer's uncompromising thrash-metal sound as well as an entire genre of music. His riffs of fury and punk-rock attitude were heard in the songs he wrote, including Slayer classics 'Angel of Death,' 'Raining Blood,' 'South of Heaven,' and 'War Ensemble.'
Hanneman co-founded the band with guitarist Kerry King, bassist Tom Araya, and drummer Dave Lombardo in Huntington Park, Calif. in 1981. While other members of Slayer regularly conducted interviews and appeared at promotional events, Hanneman enjoyed his privacy and avoided the public.
"For more than 30 years, Hanneman was the band member who stayed out of the spotlight, [and] rarely did interviews," the band said. "[He] amassed an impressive collection of World War II memorabilia; was with his wife Kathy for nearly three decades; shut off his phone and went incommunicado when he was home from tour; did not want to be on the road too late into any December as Christmas was his favorite holiday; and, from the time he was about 12 years old, woke up every single day with one thing on his mind: playing the guitar."
In an anecdote that reflected Hanneman’s refusal to compromise, the band wrote about a time when a record label executive tried to convince Slayer to write more commercially directed material.
"It was once suggested to Slayer that if they would write 'just one mainstream song that could get on the radio,' they would likely sell millions of records and change the commercial course of their career, similar to what had happened to Metallica with 1993's 'Enter Sandman,'" the statement read. "Jeff was the first to draw a line of integrity in the sand, replying, "We're going to make a Slayer record. If you can get it on the radio, fine, if not, then f--k it."