Tom Araya believes late Slayer bandmate Jeff Hanneman didn’t want to work again – no matter how much his band needed him.
The frontman says he tried as hard as he could to bring Hanneman back as they began work on what would become 11th album Repentless – but his calls were never returned.
The co-founding axeman died in 2013 after a long illness related to alcohol abuse. He hadn’t been an active member of the thrash giants for two years.
Araya tells Crack: “I was at a point where I needed him back in the band for it to work.
“I didn’t care to what extent his abilities were at their best. I just needed him back. So I was reaching out to him, leaving messages, but he wouldn’t return my calls.
“He’d decided he wanted to disappear. That was really hard.”
He says his relationship with Hanneman was closer than the one he has with Kerry King. “Me and Jeff were on a more personal level. We could talk, we could hold a conversation – not so much with Kerry.”
Things have changed now that Exodus man Gary Holt is in Hanneman’s place, and drummer Dave Lombardo has been replaced by Paul Bostaph.
Araya says of King: “We sat down and we communicated, which we haven’t always done. We had shit to talk about before we went in and decided to finish what we’d started – this record.”
He adds: “Jeff passing wasn’t something I expected. I knew he had problems, I knew he was ill. But I didn’t think he’d fucking die.”