“I couldn’t stop Hanneman drinking…”
Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman’s widow has told how she tried and failed to wean him off his reliance on alcohol.
He died in May aged 49 following severe health issues connected with his drinking.
And Kathryn Hanneman, who was married to him for 24 years, reveals she even tried to change his behaviour by joining him.
She tells Guitar World: “I would express my concern and he would back off for a few months, but then he would go right back. I did notice that Jeff was relying on alcohol to start his day off – but I couldn’t say very much because I knew we’d wind up in a verbal confrontation.
“I did drink with him, sometimes quite heavily; I figured if I couldn’t beat him, join him. But eventually I realised I couldn’t go on like that, and if I stopped, I might be able to get him away from it too.
“But I couldn’t. He just relied on it too much to get him through the day.”
Meanwhile, Slayer frontman Tom Araya says Hanneman was finding it increasingly more difficult to perform even before the 2011 spider bite that was to contribute to his death.
“His ability was slowly deteriorating,” says the vocalist and bassist. “But he didn’t let anybody know that. We could tell thing were going wrong.
“He was very proud, and didn’t want to make anyone worry. He tried to be really strong – and sometimes that can weigh you down.”
Slayer brought in Exodus guitarist Gary Holt as Hanneman’s temporary replacement in 2011, with Araya admitting it was a difficult decision, but that the alternative was simply to stop.
Kathryn says: “When the tour came up Jeff said to me, ‘There’s no way in hell this band is going out without me.’ He was hurt by the fact that the band had to go on without him.
“Eventually he became okay with it – and a lot of that was because his friend Gary was going to fill in for him. He knew the band had to go on.
“I think part of him knew he wasn’t going to be back in the band.”