Earlier this week, the metal world was shocked to learn that Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo would not be joining bandmates in Australia this week for the Soundwave Festival. Slayer insiders have known about Dave's problems with the band finances since January but it was hopeful that a deal would be worked out. With Dave's pending departure from the band, word has begun to trickle out that longtime Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman might be the next to leave.
Hanneman has been suffering the ill effects of a spider bite, necrotizing fasciitis, for a couple years now. He has had multiple operations on his arm to repair the damaged skin, muscle and blood vessels. This is often referred to as his reason for not returning to the band. While the recovery has taken it's toll on Jeff, it might not be the reason he hasn't joined the band. Jeff has been going through a divorce recently which took a lot of attention and had an emotional toll on him.
Jeff's time away from the band has given him a much needed break from the band. If Jeff were serious about joining back up with Slayer soon, he'd be more diligent about attending his physical therapy. We have been told by several people that Jeff needs to start getting serious about his physical therapy if he wants to regain full use of his arm. Jeff rarely picks up the guitar to practice anymore. Instead he spends morning, noon, and night drinking heavily. Jeff has cited to close friends that he's bummed out that he's unable to play the guitar like he used to. He had been going through physical therapy to strengthen his arm but hasn't been serious about it as it hasn't happened as quickly as he expected and has been growing more and more depressed about it.
As things stand now, Slayer will be playing the Australian dates then returning to the U.S. to record their new album for a Summer release. This will be the first Slayer album without any contributions by Jeff. How important is Jeff's music and song writing you might ask? Jeff wrote the fan favorites "Raining Blood", "Angel Of Death", "Season in the Abyss", "South of heaven", and "War Ensemble."
The duo of Kerry King and Tom Arraya are no strangers to the writing process either, but for some time now we have been hearing rumors from inside the Slayer camp of Kerry King being unhappy with the new material so far.
With Lombardo most likely out of Slayer, this could bring about the decision for Jeff to walk away. It was Jeff in 2002 who convinced Kerry King to allow Dave Lombardo back in Slayer. Only time will tell, but there is a lot of resentment going on inside the Slayer camp.