Jeff Hanneman


On January 31, 1964, in Oakland, California, one of the greatest guitarists and most creative minds in metal was born.  Jeff Hanneman would be his name and he would go on to be one of most notorious names in thrash metal.  Hanneman is the founder of Slayer, if not the best then one of the greatest metal bands of all time.  Slayer’s other guitarist and founding member Kerry King met Hanneman when showing up to audition for another band.  Hanneman and King met in the lobby and after King’s audition, he sought out Hanneman.  In 1981 the two would found Slayer along with drummer Dave Lombardo and singer/bass player Tom Araya.

Hanneman grew up in a military household as his father fought in France in WWII, and his brothers both fought in Vietnam.  His father would bring back Nazi memorabilia and antiques to give to Hanneman.  Hanneman would collect Nazi and Third Reich souvenirs from a young age and into his adulthood.  This would inspire some of the songs Hanneman wrote for Slayer such as the very popular “Angel of Death” named after Josef Mengele, a German officer and physician during WWII.

Hanneman was the brains behind Slayer, as he not only wrote riffs and played guitar for the band, but he also wrote many of the lyrics to their songs despite never singing.  Some examples are “Angel of Death,” “Raining Blood,” “Die by the Sword,” “South of Heaven,” and many more.  From 1981 until his death in 2013 Hanneman contributed many riffs and lyrics to Slayer’s music.  He is beloved by fans and metal heads everywhere for his contributions to metal and for being a huge reason behind Slayer’s success.  Unfortunately, on May 2, 2013, Hanneman would die from liver failure due to his heavy drinking in the 80s and 90s.  A memorial was held for him called “Remembering Jeff Hanneman” in which his fellow band members gave their condolences and told old stories reflecting on their good times and good memories with Jeff.  Rest in peace to a great guitarist, song writer, metal icon, and good soul, Jeff Hanneman.