Kerry King Suggests Jeff Hanneman Might Be Permanently Replaced

Slayer guitarist and co-founder Kerry King.

Slayer’s temporary lineup might not be as temporary as we once thought as Kerry King has hinted that the band could move on without original member Jeff Hanneman, who’s been sidelined for two years after sustaining a near fatal spider bit.

King revealed that he hasn’t spoken with Hanneman in some time, leading him to wonder whether his co-guitarist has any intention of rejoining the legendary thrash band. With two songs already underway for the next album, King suggested that he’d be comfortable if Hanneman’s stand-in, Gary Holt of Exodus, took a more permanent role in the group.

This could mean that the band might soon consist of just two founding members after they fired drummer Dave Lombardo for their Australian tour following a contractual dispute. Lombardo’s replacement Jon Dette has already spoken positively about his chances in his return being a full-time gig.

“I don’t have an update – I haven’t seen Jeff in forever,” King told Metal Obsession in a recent interview. “He’s always been a recluse, and he’s even been more of a recluse since he’s not going on tour with us. Our manager talks to him from time to time and sees him in LA just randomly. But I’m far from LA, so I’m not in that loop.”

King also suggested that he believes Hanneman could easily be on the road with the band if he wanted to. “He can do anything in life – he could be hanging here having a good time with us.” But he also accepts that Hanneman might just not be at full-strength. “He can probably play South Of Heaven, but he’s not gonna be playing Jihad, you know what I mean?”

The band plan to mix the tracks they’ve already recorded then continue with work on the rest of the album over the summer – and King believes it could easily be completed without Hanneman’s input. “It’s just all my stuff for now,” he says. “I did that just in case; I don’t know what Jeff’s intentions are. So I wanted to have Slayer covered in case he doesn’t come to the party. If he comes to the party, then we’ve got tons of songs.”

On the drummer front, King believes that having Holt become a permanent member might not be such a bad idea. “I think Gary is in for the long haul,” says King. “I haven’t really discussed it with him. But he keeps his schedule free when he knows we’re on tour.

“If Jeff all of a sudden came back in June, we would probably pay Gary for freeing up his time. I don’t wanna treat somebody that’s bailed us out for two years badly. But if Gary played with us forever? I’m okay with that.”

Even with all that said, King still insists that the door is wide open for Hanneman to return – if he’s up to snuff, that is. “If Jeff got better and said, ‘Hey, man, I’m ready to play,’ and he came to rehearsal and showed us he was good enough, that’s his show.”

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