Monday, May 6, 2013

5.6.13 Hero of the Day: Jeff Hanneman

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on

Name: Jeff Hanneman
Age: was 49
Occupation: guitarist for Slayer
Last Seen: South of Heaven
Awarded For: being one of rock's finest - and underrated - guitarists


The world of rock music lost a few more last week.

Of course, there was Chris Kelly of 90s rappers Kris Kross, whose death is currently being rumored as a drug overdose. While wearing his clothes backwards and rapping about chillin' in the playground, Kelly got hooked on coke and heroin, and when the duo reunited earlier this year for a 20th anniversary reunion, he was making money again and blew it all on drugs.  

But it was the death of Slayer founder Jeff Hanneman that shocked a lot of people, but also might be even more sad over the fact that the band has been ignored by radio over the years. Known for his fast-paced guitar work, Hanneman's style helped cement Slayer as one of the most-important rock bands of the 20th century and beyond.

Slayer formed in 1981 with Hanneman alongside fellow guitarist Kerry King and drummer Dave Lombardo. The trio recruited lead singer and bassist, Chilean-born Tom Araya and the rest is history. From the early days, Slayer was notorious for their use of Satanic pentagrams and lyrics representing serial killers - one of their biggest hits, "Angel of Death" which Hanneman wrote, was about Nazi physician Josef Mengele - but the band always defended their style of music. As a matter of fact, Araya even proclaims that he's a practicing Catholic, although the other band members are not religious.

Hanneman was always interested in German metals, which might have fueled his love of writing about the Holocaust and serial killers. He also wrote or co-wrote such tunes as "Raining Blood", "Jihad" and "Eyes of the Insane".

Over the years, Slayer helped define speed metal as leaders of that genre. Their first album, Reign in Blood sold over 500,000 copies. Many of the band's other albums went gold - South of HeavenSeasons in the Abyssand Divine Intervention - all on limited-to-to promotion or airplay. The band played out to sold-out arenas and had one of the most-devoted fanbase in rock.

However, it was a noted and dark creature that led to Jeff's downfall.

According to Hanneman, while he was soaking in a friend's hot tub, a spider bit him. He contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease. There are multiple causes of the disease, including being exposed to human waste and eating undercooked meats. Even though he was thought to have been cured of the disease, it led to other health problems. On May 2nd, Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure. He was 49.

Once again, in a world of wannabes, there were people like Jeff, whose music exposed us to reality. Although some considered him and the rest of Slayer to be Satanists and Nazis, He just wrote about it, that's all. While the future of Slayer still somewhat remains in question (and I think they will still be around no matter what), Nobody can truly replace Jeff Hanneman, a kid from California who just wanted to rock.

And rock was something he did... Harder.

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