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Guitarist of GRAMMY-winning thrash metal band Slayer dies at age 49
Dec 2, 2014 - 4:06 pm
Jeff Hanneman, founding guitarist of the GRAMMY-winning thrash metal band Slayer, died of liver failure on May 2 in Los Angeles. He was 49. Heralded as one of the "Big 4" influential metal bands (along with Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica), Slayer issued their debut album, Show No Mercy, in 1983. The quartet — bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Hanneman and Kerry King, and drummer Dave Lombardo — quickly garnered a reputation for their extreme thrash metal style and graphic lyrics. The band teamed with GRAMMY-winning producer Rick Rubin to record a series of seminal metal albums, Hell Awaits (1985), Reign In Blood (1986), South Of Heaven (1988), and Seasons In The Abyss (1990). Hanneman, who was a key ingredient in the band's signature heavy guitar sound, co-wrote many of the band's live set staples, including "Raining Blood," "Mandatory Suicide" and "South Of Heaven," and, on his own, "Angel Of Death." Slayer earned their first career GRAMMY in 2006 for Best Metal Performance for "Eyes Of The Insane." The band earned the same award in 2007 for "Final Six," joining Metallica as the only band to win the category in consecutive years. In 2009 Slayer released their most recent studio album, World Painted Blood, and the title track earned them their fifth career GRAMMY nomination. In 2011 Hanneman took a leave of absence from the band after falling ill from the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis. Slayer have reportedly been at work on a new studio album, tentatively due in 2013.
"Jeff Hanneman was an intense and powerful guitarist and a force to be reckoned with onstage," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "The music industry has lost a true trailblazer."
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Jamie Harvey Los Angeles
In February 2012 I was en route to the Pre-GRAMMY Gala when I received news that Whitney Houston had died. I was en route to the Fifth Annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards on May 2 when I learned that founding Slayer guitaristJeff Hanneman had died. This news made heavy metal's biggest night even heavier.
The show started off strong as Anthrax performed one of metal's classic anthems, "Caught In A Mosh." One of the biggest show highlights for me came early when half of Pantera — Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown — joined Anthrax to form Panteranthrax and perform my favorite Pantera song, "This Love." Considering Pantera were my first metal show, I suddenly felt 16 again. The supergroup finished with the opening riff to Slayer's "Raining Blood" as a tribute to Hanneman. Later, while presenting the award for Best Live Band Slayer's Kerry King brought out two shots of Jägermeister, one of which was for Hanneman, and called for a "moment of noise," a fitting somber tribute for a member of Slayer.
The first award announced was for Best Guitarist, which went to Rob Zombie's John 5, one of my favorite musicians. Then it was time for Dillinger Escape Plan, who started with two songs from their upcoming release, One Of Us Is The Killer, before being joined by Deftones' Chino Moreno for a cover of Depeche Mode's "Behind The Wheel," which completely blew my mind. During this performance, vocalist Greg Puciato, whose face was covered in blood from an injury that happened at some point between jumping off the Orange amp stack and crawling across the stage, lit a torch and breathed fire. Chino's presence onstage reminded me of the recent passing of Deftones' bassist Chi Cheng. Coupled with seeing half of Pantera and remembering the late Dimebag Darrell and the news of Hanneman still fresh on my mind, that made the night even more heavy.
Stone Sour later performed a cover of Black Sabbath's "Children Of The Grave" with members of Slipknot, conjuring memories of another loss to the metal community — Slipknot bassist Paul Gray. Speaking of Black Sabbath, Tony Iommi was honored with the Riff Lord Award. Lemmy Kilmister took home the award for Best Bassist in Gray's name, and Gray was surely on lead vocalist Corey Taylor's mind as he delivered an emotional speech upon accepting the award for Best Vocalist.
Halestorm, featuring the night's Best Drummer award recipient Arejay Hale, performed their GRAMMY-winning track "Love Bites (So Do I)," and subsequently delivered one of the most surprising moments of the night — a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love" with Disturbed frontman David Draiman. Later, Draiman's new project Device were named Best New Talent over my favorites Ghost B.C. and Kvelertak (hilariously written on the screen as Kuh-veh-ler-takk). The award for Most Metal Athlete went to the WWE's Triple H and Best Live Band went to Slipknot. GRAMMY-nominated comedy duo Tenacious D were named Comeback of the Year.
Five Finger Death Punch debuted a new track, "Lift Me Up," with an epic performance featuring Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. Five Finger Death Punch were also joined by Golden God Award honoree Rob Zombie and John 5 for a cover of White Zombie's "Thunder Kiss '65." Between that set and the Pantera performance, I had a partial recreation of my first metal show in 1996 ... 17 years later!
After the award for Song of the Year was presented to Black Veil Brides for "In The End," Danzig performed with Doyle as the Misfits, ushering in the part of the show everyone was really waiting for — the presentation of the Album of the Year award. The anticipated trophy went to one of my favorite albums — Deftones' Koi No Yokan.
Then it was time for Metallica, who were also honored with the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award.
"We're going to play a combination of songs from our history," Metallica vocalist James Hetfield told me earlier that evening. "We're not going to be too mushy about it and just go kick some a**." And that they did, beginning with "Disposable Heroes" and leading into "For Whom The Bell Tolls" and Judas Priest's "Rapid Fire" with Halford before finishing with "Seek & Destroy." I couldn't help but think of original Metallica bassist Cliff Burton.
In what may have been the heaviest night ever for heavy metal, I was reminded that life is short. To quote Black Sabbath, "Is it the end, my friend?" For these metal kings we have loved and lost, their memories live on in the music they left behind.
Anthrax "Caught In A Mosh" (with "Earth On Hell" intro) "Fight 'Em 'Til You Can't" "This Love" (Pantera cover featuring Philip Anselmo and Rex Brown with "Raining Blood" outro)
Dillinger Escape Plan "Prancer" "When I Lost My Bet" "Behind The Wheel" (Depeche Mode cover featuring Chino Moreno) "43% Burnt" (outro)
Halestorm "Love Bites (So Do I)" "I Miss The Misery" "Whole Lotta Love" (Led Zeppelin cover featuring David Draiman)
Five Finger Death Punch "Burn It Down" "Lift Me Up" (featuring Rob Halford) "Thunderkiss '65" (White Zombie cover featuring Rob Zombie and John 5)
Stone Sour "Gone Sovereign" "Absolute Zero" "Children Of The Grave" (Black Sabbath cover featuring Slipknot's Chris Fehn and Michael Shawn Crahan)
Danzig "Hammer Of The Gods" "Mother" "Death Comes Ripping" (Misfits cover featuring Doyle) "Skulls" (Misfits cover featuring Doyle) "Last Caress" (Misfits cover featuring Doyle)
Metallica "Disposable Heroes" "For Whom The Bell Tolls" "Rapid Fire" (Judas Priest cover featuring Rob Halford) "Seek & Destroy" (with "The Frayed Ends Of Sanity" jam at the end)
(Jamie Harvey lives in Los Angeles and is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She has attended and written about more than 500 shows since 2007. You can follow her musical adventures at www.hardrockchick.com.)
Tom Araya of Slayer
Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Slayer Final Tour Adds North America Dates In May slayer-extends-final-tour-north-america-dates-may-2019
Slayer Extends Final Tour With North America Dates In May 2019
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Fans have gone to extremes to attend the thrash icons' final gigs ever, so some relief is on tap with 16 new U.S. and Canada dates added in May 2019
Dec 10, 2018 - 1:10 pm
The Final World Tour for GRAMMY-winning metal icons Slayer has been extended with 16 new dates in May 2019 across North America. "We want to assure our fans that we'll be on the road through 2019," guitarist Kerry King said previously, "and will get to as many places around the world as possible to make it easier for everyone to come and see us one last time."
King's remarks were in response to dramatic anecdotes of fans' extreme-travel experiences, to see the band on their farewell tour.
The tour encountered another challenge when Slayer guitarist Gary Holt was pulled off tour by news of his father's failing health. Their GRAMMY-nominated new recruit is Phil Demmel, formerly of Machine Head.
"I wrapped up the Machine Head tour," he said. "I quit Machine Head, did our last show, and the next day I got a text from Kerry King saying, 'Do you think you can learn 19 Slayer songs and be out here in two days?'"
The response from Demmel, his wife and concert audiences has been an enthusiastic "yes," but Demmel warns that it's nothing to smile about. Because "there's no smiling in Slayer," he said. "You can't smile onstage."
Slayer Are Ready To Slay The U.K. One Last Time slayer-announce-final-uk-tour-dates-anthrax-lamb-god
Slayer Announce Final U.K. Tour Dates With Anthrax, Lamb Of God
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The legends of thrash metal have revealed the dates for their final run of U.K. shows
May 11, 2018 - 6:11 pm
GRAMMY-winning gods of thrash metal Slayer are finally hanging up their guitar straps and retiring from life on the road.
Amid their previously announced European farewell tour, the band have now revealed their final shows in the U.K., with a planned run of six dates across England, Scotland and Ireland.
Along for the ride are Anthrax — GRAMMY-nominated icons of thrash in their own right — and GRAMMY-nominated metalcore rockers Lamb Of God, with additional tour support from death metal pioneers Obituary.
In a 2016 Loudwire interview, bassist Tom Araya joked, "After 35 years, it's time to like, collect my pension."
Slayer's final sonic assault on the European territories will kick off on Nov. 1 in Dublin, Ireland, and run through Dec. 8, where it will sow its final seeds of mayhem in Helsinki, Finland.
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Dream Theater, Megadeth, Mastodon, and Sum 41 look to join GRAMMY-winning hard rock/metal alumni such as Foo Fighters, Judas Priest, Metallica, and Motörhead
Dec 2, 2014 - 4:06 pm
Nearly a quarter of a century ago, The Recording Academy introduced the Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance category at the 31st Annual GRAMMY Awards in 1988.
In the ensuing 23 years, a variety of hard rock/metal artists have garnered GRAMMY recognition, including Judas Priest, Korn, Living Colour, Metallica, Motörhead, Slayer, and Slipknot, among others.
This year the competition is fiercer than ever. The nominees for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance include veteran progressive metal band Dream Theater, who received their first-ever nomination for "On The Backs Of Angels." Also landing their first nomination are Canadian pop/punk rockers Sum 41 for "Blood In My Eyes." Mastodon received their second career nod for "Curl Of The Burl," while Megadeth were recognized for "Public Enemy No. 1," a track from their 13th studio album, aptly titled Thirteen. Rounding out the list is "White Limo," from six-time GRAMMY winners Foo Fighters' Wasting Light.
For some, the marriage of hard rock/metal and the GRAMMYs might seem incongruous given that heavy bands have enjoyed being a thorn in the side of the mainstream. But many artists relish the peer recognition of being nominated for a GRAMMY, and the opportunity to strike gold.
"We're ecstatic," says James LaBrie, lead vocalist for Dream Theater. "Personally, I've already got the cleats on the bottom of my dress shoes so I can run up on the stage."
The influential progressive metal band has built a loyal following since their 1989 debut album, recently charting two Top 10 albums, including 2011's A Dramatic Turn Of Events. LaBrie views the nomination as another career stepping stone.
"This is [about] getting a nod, getting the recognition from the industry itself [and] giving us a little bit more of a platform as far as public awareness," says LaBrie.
Hailing from Atlanta, Mastodon were previously nominated in 2006 for Best Metal Performance, but this recent nomination was still a surprise.
"We were shocked when we heard about the nomination because we never imagined it would be in the realm of possibility that this might happen," says Mastodon drummer Brann Dailor. "We never saw our music as commercially viable in any way. We'd never expected The Recording Academy to notice that we'd even existed. The fact that we've been nominated is nice to begin with."
In recent years, thrash metal legends Slayer won consecutive GRAMMY Awards in 2006 and 2007 for Best Metal Performance for "Eye Of The Insane" and "Final Six," respectively. Bassist/vocalist Tom Araya attended the 50th Annual GRAMMY Awards, dressed sharply with family in tow, and accepted the latter award during the GRAMMY Pre-Telecast Ceremony. The band received their fifth career nomination last year.
"To have Slayer's music recognized by an organization as traditional as [The Recording Academy] — five times now — is like that gold star that someone puts up by your name," commented Araya in 2010.
In 1989 Metallica scored the first of three consecutive GRAMMYs with the epic "One" from 1988's …And Justice For All. The quartet has won eight GRAMMYs to date, their most recent coming in 2008 for Best Metal Performance for "My Apocalypse."
Other metal veterans have picked up their first GRAMMY Awards in the last two years, with Iron Maiden winning in 2010 for Best Metal Performance for "El Dorado," and Judas Priest winning in 2009 for "Dissident Aggressor," a track featured on A Touch Of Evil — Live.
"Fifth time is a charm," said Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford during his acceptance speech, referring to the band's fifth nomination and first win. "Judas Priest have been making heavy metal for over 35 years … all the heavy metal fans, this is for you."
Megadeth, fronted by lead vocalist/guitarist Dave Mustaine, released their debut album, Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good, in 1985. Five years later, Mustaine and Co. received their first GRAMMY nod for Best Metal Performance for Rust In Peace. Following nods in 2009 and 2010, their current nomination is their third consecutive and 10th overall.
"Kenny G came up to us a little while ago — he's got the same manager that I do — and he said, 'Don't feel bad, I've had  nominations and only won once,'" says Mustaine.
As one of the more influential figures of the genre, Mustaine is grateful to be recognized as an artist.
"I still really appreciate the fact that my peers are voting me as a nominee," he says. "That's an accomplishment in itself. This year would be great to win it."
While being nominated for music's highest honor is certainly a significant career accomplishment, one question remains: Is it really metal to win a GRAMMY?
"I'm not concerned with being 'metal,'" says Dailor. "I'm a musician first and foremost, and if we did win it would be validation for all our hard work that we put into writing and recording music."
"I think when you're doing stuff that is notoriously 'black sheep kid in the family,' to have people pick you shows you're doing something right," says Mustaine.
"I think so," replies LaBrie. "If they're going to label it as such, then I'm taking it."
(Bryan Reesman is a New York-based freelance writer.)