Jeff Hanneman (born January 31, 1964 in Oakland, California) was the guitarist and founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer and wrote “Angel of Death”, arguably the best Thrash Metal song of all fucking time.
Hanneman grew up in Los Angeles in a family of war veterans, leading to his fascination with warfare. Hanneman’s father fought in Normandy during World War II and brothers in Vietnam, often talking about their experiences at dinner. At the time war movies were shown on TV a lot, and Hanneman would join brothers building and coloring tank and plane models, leading to his interest in warfare and history.
Hanneman was once a heavy cocaine and pill user in Slayer’s early years with Slayer vocalist Tom Araya. The two decided to one day quit, realizing “this can lead to only death or something, this is going too far”. Araya only smokes marijuana and Hanneman only drank beer. Hanneman’s favorite was Heineken lager and can be seen with the drink backstage and in publicity photos. During The Unholy Alliance Chapter II tour, Hanneman could be seen playing a guitar with a Heineken logo as a custom finish.
Hanneman married his wife Kathryn in 1997 whom he met in the early 1980’s. While Slayer were on tour Kathryn stays home as Hanneman had stated when he came home she’s “all brand new again”. Kathryn has toured with the band twice in twenty years. The two lived in Los Angeles with no children, forty minutes away from King, and had BBQ’s, watch hockey and have a beer.
Hanneman wrote the music and lyrics for the songs “South of Heaven”, “War Ensemble”, “Raining Blood” and “Seasons in the Abyss”, all becoming live staples at Slayer shows. Hanneman’s favorite album was Reign in Blood, and enjoyed performing the songs “Raining Blood” and “Angel of Death”. Hanneman has contributed lyrics and music to every Slayer album, forming a music and lyric writing partnership with Araya. Hanneman stated that writing lyrics and music is a “free for all”; “It’s all just whoever comes up with what. Sometimes I’ll be more on a roll and I’ll have more stuff, same with Kerry — it’s whoever’s hot, really. Anybody can write anything; if it’s good we use it, if not we don’t.”
The Metal community as well as the world has lost one of the greatest talents in music history. He will be cherished for what he has given us and missed every time we listen to a Slayer song… We Love You Bro… R.I.P. \m/
RIP Jeff Hanneman 🙏👊❤
“This is one of my favorite photos I took of Chi back in the early days of the Deftones” - Rick Kosick