i rarely post to any sites or to social media, but this news has affected me in such a way that i felt the need to wrap the metal community around myself while we mourn the loss of jeff hanneman.
back in 1984, a friend needed a place to stash his albums while in between housing, and trusted me with this task. back then, at the tender age of 14, i had little exposure to heavy metal, having just discovered the legendary priest and maiden back catalog. in the pile of my friend's albums lurked Show No Mercy and Hell Awaits. imagine my delight when i unearthed these treasures! at that time, girls didn't listen to hardcore metal...at least not in my little upstate NY town. i made it my business to listen to and learn as much as i could about slayer.
from that day on, i've been a huge slayer fan. when the Reign In Blood tour came around, i knew i had to see these guys live come hell or high water- the tiny club was oversold and despite being one of the few females attending the show, it remains one of my all-time favorite slayer experiences. jeff's lyrics encouraged me to learn more about history than any schoolteacher ever could - many people found slayer's lyrics offensive, but the raw reality is what drew me in and kept me coming back for more.
another favorite memory: during the Clash of the Titans tour in '91, there had been controversy regarding who would headline - slayer or megadeth. in my heart, slayer was the correct choice. unfortunately, we arrived to the outdoor venue a bit late, and as we were passing through the turnstile, I heard the unmistakable growl of "WAR ENSEMBLE!!!!!" and i ran as fast as i could - i wasn't missing slayer, hell no! i fought my way to the front, which at 5 feet and barely 100 pounds was some feat. this particular venue was a mosh pit full of dirt and rocks - perfect for slayer! at the end of slayer's set, i exited the pit battered and bloody, rocks stuck in my arm but i didn't care - i wore it like the badge of honor it was!
as a longtime metal fan, i've seen many bands come and go. slayer has always been there for me, and for those of the world who think heavy metal is nothing but random noise, they've obviously never experienced the virtuosity of jeff and kerry dueling it out onstage - it's a beauty all its own. RIP, jeff. we'll miss you.