It is very difficult for a band to continue after losing a key member, but Slayer, pioneer thrash metallers, continue and remember the loss of Jeff Hanneman (one of the founder members of Slayer) who passed away at 49 in May from cirrhosis.
Scott Sokol, the band's booking agent for the past 15 years, shares with Billboard.biz that Slayer has not lost their soul-crushing dominance over the thrash genre after the inclusion of guitarist Gary Holt to fill in for Hanneman. Sokol also mentioned that it is almost impossible to fill Hanneman's spot but it is therapeutic for the band to perform.
"It wasn't going to help anybody to cancel what they were doing," Sokol said. "The band likes to go out there and play. Not that I'm a counsellor, or anything, but I think part of the way they deal with things is to do what they love. And they love to go out there and do their thing," he continued.
When Sokol was asked if the band wanted to take a break from touring after the death of guitarist Jeff Hanneman, he replied, "I think if it happened while they were on tour it might've been different. But Jeff hadn't been (touring) with the band for close to three years at this point. So it wasn't like (Slayer guitarist) Gary Holt was new to the equation."
"At the time of Jeff's passing, Gary had been in the band for two-and-a-half years. It wasn't going to help anybody to cancel what they were doing. The band likes to go out there and play. Not that I'm a counsellor, or anything, but I think part of the way they deal with things is to do what they love. And they love to go out there and do their thing."
Slayer is planning to give Jeff Hanneman a proper tribute in the upcoming North American tour. "I believe during the European shows they have a picture or some footage, and they play a bunch of songs that were Jeff's favorites or that he was heavily involved with. But that was done a little bit on the fly, because all of the touring and Jeff's passing were coming so close together that they did what they could do in the short amount of time that they had. In the U.S., I think you're going to see something different and much more thought out, simply because they have the time," Sokol told Billboard.
Sokol confirmed that Slayer is "definitely working on new music. More things will be revealed in the coming weeks."
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