Last night, while at my favorite bar in the world, Duff's Brooklyn, I read on Facebook that Jeff Hanneman, a founding member of one of thrash metal's big four Slayer, passed away, at age 49! I was shocked and saddened deeply, to say the least. We of course wasted no time in playing some Slayer at the bar. We had, too. And, I have been listening to their music, almost all day, today, as well.
He died of liver failure due to flesh-eating bacteria. This is rumored, but not confirmed, to have come from a spider bite he got years ago. That ended up causing him an arm infection. It was ultimately dealt with, but it is possible that this liver disease was some underlying result.
Regardless, of the cause, it's a tragic and sad death, and to be taken so young, too. He was an exceptional guitarist, one of the greatest ever, I and many would say. I got into Slayer as a sophomore in high school, with what remains my favorite album of theirs: Seasons in the Abyss. That was one of those albums that changed my life. It would push me to look for darker and more evil bands, but none could or can touch the mighty Slayer. They, along with the other Big Four (Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax) remain my four favorite bands, ever.
I met them in 1994, a week before Divine Intervention came out at Sam Goody in NYC. I only really talked to singer and bass player Tom Araya, but they were all cool, to their fans.
You can see Jeff, in the middle, face covered by his long blonde hair. You can spot me as the guy with Metallica hat and Megadeth backpatch with a Jansport schoolbag.