A public memorial service was held for Slayer‘s late guitar player and co-founder Jeff Hanneman yesterday in Los Angeles (May 23).
Hanneman passed away at the age of 49 earlier this month from liver cirrhosis. An hour before the doors of the Hollywood Palladium opened at 3.30pm local time (11.30pm UK), there were already hundreds of people in line around three corners of the block that houses the iconic 4000-capacity venue on Sunset Boulevard.
Most fans were wearing Slayer t-shirts and occasional shouts of the word ‘Slayer’ peppered the otherwise sombre line. Police cars and bicycles discreetly cruised the line and officers were seen checking the ID cards of people they found drinking alcohol on the street, then asking them to pour it away. A woman paced the line selling bootleg merch for the event.
Once inside, fans were handed an order of service and a memorial lanyard which read ‘Our Brother Jeff Hanneman, May He Rest In Peace (1964-2013)’. Nick Bowcott of Marshall Amps officiated the memorial celebration, taking to a stage which featured the American flag, a painted portrait of Hanneman, floral tributes and a selection of Hanneman’s guitars.
Speakers at the event included Kerry King of Slayer as well as Dino Paredes of American Recordings and Brian Slagel of Metalblade Records. The rowdy crowd regularly chanted Hanneman’s name throughout the service. Reading his notes from his iPhone, Kerry King opened his speech – which included various stories about getting drunk with Hanneman – by thanking fans for attending.
“All you fans, thanks a lot for showing up. It means a lot,” he said. He went on to joke about the significance of the Palladium. “We got a lot of history in this joint,” he commented. “Me and Jeff got banned here for 20 years, so its kind of ironic.” King took a glass of Jagermeister on stage with him to sip during his tribute. “Unlike myself, Jeff Hanneman hated Jagermeister,” he said. “But I had to come up here with something to cheer my friend.”
He said of Hanneman’s legacy: “Jeff was my doorway to punk and it really helped Slayer to become the doorway between the metal kids and the punk kids.”
“Jeff hated being famous, but he loved being onstage,” added King.
Kristen Mulderig, who works for Slayer’s management company, read a message written by Hanneman’s wife Kathryn and there was a slide show tribute to the late musician. There was no sign of the Westboro Baptist Church who has allegedly planned to picket the memorial service.