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Jeff Hanneman

Today we're going to tell you about Jeff Hanneman, one of the most influential guitarists in the thrash metal scene.

(Photo: Metal Hammer Magazine)

Hanneman was born on January 31, 1964, in Oakland California but grew up in Los Angeles. His full name is Jeffrey John Hanneman.

The musical influences on Hanneman were a combination of punk and metal from bands like: "Led Zeppelin", "Iron Maiden", "Judas Priest", "Black Sabbath", "Aerosmith", "Wasted Youth", "Minor Threat", "Dead Kennedys", "Black Flag" and more.

He was one of the founders of the thrash metal band "Slayer", along with Kerry King whom he met in 1981.


Hanneman had a significant influence on Slayer's unique sound and was also the one who brought the influences of the punk genre to the band.

Hanneman's father fought in Normandy during World War II and his brother in the Vietnam War, so he was drawn to a military history that would also influence the music he would later create. Among other things, he was interested in war medals and the history of Nazi Germany and this is reflected in the songs he wrote, which are sometimes misinterpreted as if he is a fan of Nazism.

The song "Angel of Death" was written by Hanneman about Joseph Mangala. This led to accusations against him as a neo-Nazi, but he denied it and noted that he was only interested in the subject. Hanneman and the band even donated money to the Institute for Holocaust Studies.

During his years in Slayer, Hanneman contributed lyrics and melodies to each of the band's albums. Some of Hanneman's compositions are: "South of Heaven", "War Ensemble", "Raining Blood", "Angel of Death", "Mandatory Suicide", and "Seasons in the Abyss. And more.

In 1984, Hanneman embarked on a side music project called "Pap Smear" but producer Rick Robin persuaded him to focus on Slayer.

Hanneman is ranked along with his friend Kerry King in 10th place on "Guitar World" magazine's list of 100 greatest guitar players of all time. Their crazy solos have been defined by music critics as "wildly chaotic" and "twisted genius."

(Photo: AP/Mark Seliger)

In 2011 Hanneman was stung by a spider. The bite caused tissue inflammation that led to necrosis that almost caused one of his hands to be amputated. In 2012 Tom Araya released a statement saying he had recovered, but in February 2013 Kerry King announced that he was still suffering from health issues that prevented him from continuing to play with Slayer.

On May 2, 2013, Hanneman passed away due to medical complications. He was only 49 years old. The cause of death was determined to be liver failure.

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