A lifelong friend just informed me that Jeff Hanneman, guitarist and founding member of Slayer, passed away today at the young age of 49.  My first thought was simple:  this sucks.

My next thought was about the impact the band has had on my life.  Some of you know I started playing music when I was…well, I can’t even remember how young I was.  Anyway, I’ve had a lot of influences over the years but one that stands out in my mind is when I went to high school and met a friend of my brother’s (he’s a couple years older than me).  His friend, Barry, if I remember correctly, gave me a cassette copy of Hell Awaits.   


I brought it home and listened to it about a million times.  I was completely blown away.  This was…maybe 1986?  A couple years later and South of Heaven came out.  I even covered that song in a old band.  I like to think we did it at least some justice.


So what does this have to do with writing?  Well, nothing and everything.  At face value, nothing, but I’m okay with that.  However, if you’ve read anything I’ve written you may understand what I’ll now try to explain.  Slayer has influenced me not just in the music I’ve written and played but in the writer I’ve become.  It’s angry, violent music and I hear it in my head seemingly all the time.  I’ve said before that I don’t write with music on because it distracts me, but that doesn’t mean it’s not in my head.  

Read something like Stripped and imagine Slayer playing in the background.  Step back in time to Bad Cop and imagine Tom Araya screaming in the background.  You will likely find that it fits very well.  I don’t think I intended that, but I acknowledge it’s there just the same.  I’ve said before that I’m not a violent person, and I don’t believe that any of the members of the band are either.  They simply kick ass at what they do.  

So why am I rambling on my blog about this?  Because I’m a little sad, and a little nostalgic.  Mostly I’m just sad.

Jeff Hanneman    1964 - 2013

Jeff Hanneman
1964 – 2013