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List: 6 Things You Didn't Know About Jeff Hanneman

List: 6 Things You Didn't Know About Jeff Hanneman

When Revolver’s Golden God Awards took place four years ago, it was intended to be a night of celebrating and unifying metal. The celebration soon turned into somber chaos as news started to break that founding Slayer guitarist and prolific songwriter, Jeff Hanneman, died at the age of 49. Every fan, musician and staff member alike were affected by this tragedy, not only because it was shocking in nature, but because Hanneman was such a wildly respected icon who transcended generic boundaries with his trademark songwriting. While the tone had changed that night, one thing was certain: every single person in that room was unified in mourning.

At the top of the ceremony, Kerry King and Zakk Wylde took the stage together to pay tribute to their fallen brother. King said he originally wanted to have a moment of a silence, but changed his mind. “This is the Golden Gods, man. Jeff fuckin’ Hanneman, he played in Slayer. He does not want a moment of fuckin’ silence. Jeff wants a moment of fuckin’ noise. You got a drink, raise it up, you got a fist, raise it up and tip one back to our fallen brother.” King’s gesture was a reminder that we should not grieve, but rather continue to celebrate the life and storied career of the mastermind behind iconic metal anthems such as “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death.” Hanneman would not have wanted heavy metal’s biggest night to become a stark memorial, but would rather have seen everyone raising their glasses in unison and living it up to the fullest, just as he did while he was alive.

Today, we’re remembering Jeff Hanneman by sharing six facts about the shredder. So, crack open a Heineken [Hanneman’s favorite beer], peep the list and let us know how you’re celebrating the fallen Slayer axman in the comments!

1. He met Kerry King while auditioning for another band
As a teen, Hanneman arrived for an audition for his friend’s blues rock band, where he met Kerry King. The two jammed together for some Maiden and Priest tunes when they decided to just start their own band instead. Eventually, Dave Lombardo and Tom Araya were recruited… the rest is history!

2. He was in another band with Dave Lombardo
In 1984, Hanneman partnered up with then-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo and Suicidal Tendencies’ Rocky George to start a hardcore punk band, which they dubbed Pap Smear. They eventually disbanded in favor of focusing on Slayer instead.

3. He was a WWII history buff
As Hanneman came from a family of veterans, including his grandfather who served in World War II, he developed a fascination with that historical time period. His hobby was reflected some of his lyrics, including “Angel of Death,” which is about Dr. Josef Mengele - a Nazi doctor who performed unethical surgeries and experiments on his “patients” during WWII.

4. It was not a spider bite that killed him
While it is true that Hanneman was bitten by a brown recluse spider, causing him to lose functions in his arm due to necrotizing fasciitis, it was actually alcohol-related cirrhosis that was cited as his official cause of death. This was not unrelated to the spider bite, as it is believed that a combination of the medications he took to treat his arm and alcohol is ultimately what caused his liver to fail.

5. He was the reclusive member of Slayer
Unlike the other members of the band, Hanneman was very reserved and kept his life very private. It was rare to snag an interview with the guitarist, and even rarer to catch him hanging around just to socialize.

6. Poland renamed a traffic circle after him
In 2014, a traffic circle in Jaworzno, Poland was renamed “Jeff Hanneman’s Circle Pit.” The message on the sign also noted that he was an “unforgettable Slayer guitarist.”

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