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Jeff Hanneman

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Jeff Hanneman (January 31, 1964 - 2nd May 2013) was the guitarist and founding member of the American thrash metal band Slayer. Hanneman grew up in Los Angeles in a family of war veterans, leading to his fascination with warfare. When at a friend’s house in 1981 Hanneman approached Kerry King, who was trying out for the position as guitarist in a band. The two began playing Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs, deciding to form their own band.

Hanneman was born in Oakland, California to a family of war veterans; Hanneman’s father fought in Normandy during World War II and brothers in Vietnam, often talking about their experiences at dinner. At the time war movies were shown on TV a lot, and Hanneman would join brothers building and coloring tank and plane models, leading to his interest in warfare and history.

In 1981 Kerry King was trying for a position as guitarist in a band. After the try-out session, Hanneman approached King and started talking. The two picked up their guitars and began playing Iron Maiden and Judas Priest songs. King mentioned “Why don’t we start our OWN band?”, Hanneman replied “…Fuck yeah!”. In 1984 Hanneman, Dave Lombardo and Suicidal Tendencies’s guitarist Rocky George had a brief punk side project called Pap Smear. The band was about to enter the recording studio until Hanneman received a call from Slayer’s producer Rick Rubin stating “Ahhhh, don’t do it, man — this is the kind of thing that breaks bands up!” Hanneman took Rubin’s advice later using two of the songs on Slayer’s 1996 album Undisputed Attitude.

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