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Here’s a special treat for all the metalheads out there. As you probably already know, Slayer’s founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman died of liver failure on May 2, 2013. That means tomorrow is the anniversary of Jeff’s death.

My friend Jason was very active in the Baltimore music scene in the 80s/early 90s. Jason dug up a couple incredible pieces of heavy metal history to celebrate one of metal’s most innovative songwriters.

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Jeff Hanneman With Slayer Slayer at The Jules Loft circa 1984 Haunting The Chapel Era

Jeff Hanneman live at the Jules Loft, circa 1984

From Jason:

“..this place was having shows for a few years at Eutaw and Mulberry for a few years in downtown Bmore…my friend Dave took it from on top of the PA…I forgot my money and Jack paid for me…Haunting the Chapel tour…oh BTW COC was the opener for that show…”

I saw Slayer back in 2006 on the Christ Illusion tour. Although I’m glad I got to see the original lineup, it would’ve been truly incredible to see Hanneman, King, Araya and Lombardo destroy a small club back in their heyday. I can’t help but drool a bit in jealousy over how cool this show must’ve been.

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Tom Araya Kerry King Slayer Live live at the Jules Loft 1984

Tom Araya and Kerry King live at the Jules Loft, circa 1984

My heavy metal narrative is pretty textbook. I grew up in a small town full of wacko Jesus people, so spending my sundays sleeping instead of rolling in the aisles meant that I was generally ostracized by “them regular folk.” Discovering Slayer in junior high was like hearing the soundtrack to warfare. I’d previously been listening to mediocre bands like Nirvana and White Zombie, so the minute Slayer’s hellish riffs screamed through my speakers, I was hooked. I was one of the lucky few kids who never experienced any form of parental music censorship, so I shelled out all my hard-earned fry cook money to purchase every single Slayer album. I spent long hours getting baked in my parents’ garage, slaving away in front of a guitar amp learning songs like South of Heaven and Hell Awaits so I could mimic the metal masters.

Slayer holds a special place in my dead, black heart, so whether you’re watching the Mayweather/Pacquiao fight tomorrow on Pay-Per-View©™ or simply getting high in your parents’ garage, raise your horns to Jeff Hanneman – one of heavy metal’s greatest guitarists. RIP Jeff and play some fuckin’ Slayer!

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