Dave Lombardo Says Jeff Hanneman Would Fight to Keep Slayer Going
Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo recalled how the band’s decision to dismiss Jeff Henneman “crushed” the guitarist in 2011, two years before his death from alcohol-related disease.
He also argued that Hanneman would have done anything to prevent Slayer’s upcoming retirement, if he’d been in the position to do so.
Lombardo, who split with Slayer in 2013, wrote in a Metal Hammer tribute to Hanneman that "towards the end of his time in Slayer, he had gotten to a point where his performance wasn’t up to par with the rest of the band. The alcohol was taking its toll, and so were the operations he had had. It was sad, but we had to make the decision and break the news to him. I know that it crushed him.”
He revealed that the decision to bring in Exodus guitarist Gary Holt had been an indirect one as a result of doubt as to whether frontman Tom Araya wanted to continue. “He was contemplating retiring even back then,” Lombardo wrote. “So Kerry [King] and I were talking about putting a band together, and we said, ‘We need to recruit Gary Holt.’ … As it turned out, Gary became the guitar player that took Jeff’s place, and that was approved by Jeff. He was a big fan of Gary’s playing – Gary had that feel and soul that Jeff loved in guitar players.”
Lombardo noted that if Hanneman was still around and in Slayer, "he wouldn’t want to retire." "He’d fight to keep the band going," he said. "He’d have taken the band by the horns and driven it on. His love and his passion was music and being onstage. That passion was dampened by toxins, but it was still there.”