So check this out - My son Zander and I have been laid up with the stomach flu for the last week, I had it bad, he had it really brutal, and after one of the longest weeks of my life we’re both finally over it. I had been meaning to put these pictures up as soon as I was able to get them up on my Instagram and Twitter, but not here. Since it seems the Twitter people and Facebook people don't really overlap, it appears that many of you here missed these, so here are the pictures in the photo section.
My manager Joseph, his girl Cass, and I bought last minute tickets on Southwest Airlines and flew down to L.A. on Thursday morning. We got in a few hours early and grabbed lunch at a rad restaurant called Tender Greens which is located right across from the Hollywood Palladium. We also had the pleasure of finding a ridiculously good coffee place called Groundwork Coffee Company. There we kicked back for a bit knowing that the day ahead was going to be an intense one. We hung out and watched the streets get taken over by a sea of black, denim and leather. Slayer fans were now snaked down the streets of Hollywood.
Once we arrived at the Palladium we hit the will-call and we ran into long-time friend William Howell, photographer Stephanie Cabrall, ours and Slayer's lawyer Scott Harrington, Paul Bostaph, Nikki Black, Maria Ferraro and a ton of friends. The vibe was sad but upbeat, shitty circumstance, but happy to see each other.
The memorial itself was really cool, in fact, it was impressive. The first 1,500 or so got a free laminate and guitar pick upon entry, video walls with classic Jeff photos rotating the whole time. There were memorial shirts available for purchase, a huge display on stage of Jeff memorabilia including his Marshall cabs, his guitars, his thigh-high boots, an iron cross flower wreath. For me the one amazingly cool item was the Gibson Les Paul from "Show No Mercy" that took center stage.
As cool and amazing as the items were, I was well aware of where I was at, and what I was there for, because I was still in a bit of shock that Jeff Hanneman from Slayer was actually dead. But seeing that guitar... that's when it really hit me. I spent a lot of time looking at the back of that "Show No Mercy" album, those classic pictures. Sitting there with my old guitar tech Warren Lee and Dave Lombardo before doors had opened, looking at the guitar and talking old Slayer stories... man, it was heavy.
We were told that there would only be 4 speakers, so I dashed the idea of going up and saying something. Nick Bowcott started off the proceedings, and did a damn good job, he's a really good MC to an event, funny, meaningful, loud, and they couldn't have got anyone better. Metal Blade Records founder (and McClain's former landlord!) Brian Slagel got up and spoke and he told some great early Slayer stories. He talked about recording the first albums with Bill Metoyer, and the pre-‘Show No Mercy’ days. Next up was their long time record company liaison at American Recordings, Dino Parades, who was far and away the most choked up about being there. Dino said he'd been worried about him for the last 10 years; it was emotional as he had to stop a few times. It was moving and it was awesome, he told a lot of great stories about Jeff. You can tell he truly cared about Jeff Hanneman.
Kerry was up next, feisty and cool as cucumber, he joked about how ironic it was that the memorial was at the Palladium considering that they had been banned from playing there for 20 years after a ‘South Of Heaven’-era riot! He told a good joke about Hanneman never having a drivers license (after getting 2 DUI's when he was 18 and just saying "fuck it, this driving shit ain't for me," LOL!), he would pick him up for practice for the remainder of his tenure in Slayer. He told a couple other stories, nothing really about Jeff, more about him (Kerry) and then "Jeff laughing." He shut down a heckler, did a shot in his brothers honor, and then walked off.
Robert Trujillo came up next and had a good story about Rocky George and Jeff (who were very close) from the Suicidal Tendencies days, but mostly spoke about the legacy of Slayer, which truth be told... was weird.
Our former manager Rick Sales and his management team were up next and Rick told a great story about how in the pre-cell phone days, Jeff would get off tour and disconnect his phone so that no one could reach him. This would go on for up-to 4 months sometimes, and then he'd turn it back on (with a new number) and slowly let people figure it out. Apparently Jeff thought this was absolutely freakin' hilarious!! Nick John spoke, Kristin Mulderig read a letter from Jeff's wife Kathyrn that was pretty rad. She mentioned how stoked Jeff was to find out that Gary Holt of Exodus was filling in for him, gave Gary some well-deserved props. It was cool.
At this point Nick Bowcott mentioned that people in the VIP could speak if they wanted to, which was a bit of a surprise to everyone, I thought about it for a sec, but with Tom not being there and Lombardo not speaking, it just seemed weird.
In the end Shavo from System of a Down came up and again talked about the legacy of Slayer. Then they started the photo tribute. This was heavy, a soon as I saw baby pictures, that was it, I welled up. Interestingly, they started the montage with Metallica's "Fade To Black" which after all the bad blood between the 2 bands all those years was really cool (they also played Krokus’ - "Screaming In The Night" three times throughout the night, which apparently another favorite of Jeff’s ).
Some of the early pictures of Jeff were amazing, him and his brother in backyard air-guitar-ing was a standout. The classic early Slayer shots in make up, very fuckin' cool. The 2nd song of the montage was “Raining Blood,” and when it started, 4 huge circle pits broke out. I have no idea why, but that totally welled me up, I didn't quite shed a tear, but it was fucking close. I kept asking myself, "why of all things is THIS, a fucking CIRCLE PIT, welling me up?" LOL! maybe it was the passion they stir. Either way, it was fuckin awesome!
We hung out in the VIP for a bit after, hung out with Chuck Billy and his wife Tiff, Gary Holt, Mark and Danny from Suicide Silence, Johnny Araya, Dean Karr, rapped with Kerry and his old on-tour bartender Boner who was out with Slayer / Machine Head on the Divine Intourvention tour back in '94 / '95.
We ended up going across the street for drinks with the Slayer camp, I talked to Nick John for a bit, Kerry and his wife Ayesha who I had a really cool conversation with, Rick Sales, Rita Haney. Caught a good buzz and then headed for the airport, caught a flight back to the Bay where I passed out the whole time. I had grabbed some shirts and picks for Dave and Phil and took some pictures of the stuff I got. In the end it was a monumental tribute to a monumental guitarist who helped define an entire style and genre.
Kudos to the Slayer camp, and hails to Jeff Hanneman
Jeff and I with our friends from Broken Hope Shaun Glass and Jeremy Wagner back in Feb '95 on "Divine Intourvention"
Tribute Guitar Pick
THE guitar from "Show No Mercy", SO awesome!
Now that's a flower wreath!
4 circle pits for "Raining Blood"
Gary Holt, Ya Boy, dude, and Chuck Billy
The General and The King
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