Jeff Hanneman is Still Reigning
Interview conducted in October of 2004
Interview and Photos by: Brandon Marshall
"When we started writing this kind of music in the beginning, I didn't think that many people would listen to it, but over the years our fan base just kept growing and growing."
Jeff Hanneman: I don't know. I don't read a lot of other people's interviews, and I don't give interviews because I figure who would be interested? I'm not interested in what a lot of other people have to say. With bands I like, if the music is good, I don't give a shit what they have to say (laughs).
So you're on the second installment of the Jagermeister tour. How is your liver doing?
Jeff Hanneman: Not too bad, believe it or not.
Are you gonna trade in your Heinekens for a bottle of Jagermeister?
Jeff Hanneman: (Laughs). I'm sticking with the Heinekens, but doing a few shots here and there.
SLAYER is known for throwing in a few surprises in the set list, pulling out songs that haven't been played live in years. What can the fans expect?
Jeff Hanneman: I don't know, they'll have to check it out! We have a pretty good set. We usually come up with a last second set idea, and we tweak it here and there.
You guys are bringing out the wall of death on this tour. Why don't you tell the readers about that and how it works.
Jeff Hanneman: Basically, it was an idea we had years ago, but we weren't able to do it. We actually tried it out for the DVD first. There are a couple of tanks, and I guess what you would call Hollywood blood, and there is a tube going across, perforated with holes. When it fills up, it starts pouring down blood, and it looks like it's raining. The only problem we had was on the U.S. tour. We have not been able to get it to work yet, so we have been trying out different pumps. Hopefully, we can get it to work by the next show.
"To me, it sounds like the first three songs on the last record. It's very intense and very insane."
Have you been missing your cue on it like you did in Maine?
Jeff Hanneman: Nope, not at all (Laughs). I only did that once; it was disappointing.
Jeff Hanneman: Well, basically the idea was to just shoot the "Reign in Blood" album and just put that out as a DVD. We figured, what the fuck, lets add more shit on it. So, we put a few more songs on it and added the interviews.
When is SLAYER going to release Live Intrusion on DVD?
Jeff Hanneman: I don't know. We have talked about it. I don't know when, but it will be out soon.
SLAYER has been going full throttle for the past three years, whats next?
Jeff Hanneman: The tour is done, I think the 17th of December and, of course, we are gonna take a break through the holidays. On the 5th of January, we are gonna start working on the new record again.
Last time I checked in with you guys, you had like ten songs for the new CD.
Jeff Hanneman: We have tons of ideas. We don't have any working titles. We have dumb names that we call the songs, so we know what we are talking about, but we don't have any real titles for it. We have tons of music to work with.What is it sounding like so far?
Jeff Hanneman: To me, it sounds like the first three songs on the last record. It's very intense and very insane.
Your last two records were very similar in lyrical style. Are you going to continue writing about the same shit?
Jeff Hanneman: I don't know. Lyrics are always the last thing to get done. We will finish up a song, and we will have lyrics with a bridge, the chords, the solos, what ever. Every now and then, we will change the song to the lyrics, but we don't really plan out our records ahead of time. Whatever riff we are doing at the time we see what the lyrics are like, but they're not going to be wimpy.
A lot has been going on in the world since "God Hates Us All", so i'm sure you're not gonna get writers block.
Jeff Hanneman: Ohh ya. There will be plenty to write about!
SLAYER is going into the studio on January 5th. Is it too early to tell when we are going to see a finished product?
Jeff Hanneman: Well, we are not actually going in the 5th. We are just going to get together, start hanging out at our practice space, and get some ideas together. We are a band that does not like to go into the studio. We like to have things done before we go in, so we don't waste time and money. We like to hang out at rehearsal space and work with songs. When we think they are close to done, we go into the studio.
"I have no idea what that's supposed to sound like, but I'm waiting for it."
SLAYER likes to work separately. Don't you have a drum machine that you work on tracks with?
Jeff Hanneman: Yahh. I have a drum machine I work with at home. So, if I get an idea at home, that's where I can start the writing process. I can just jump in and record some drums. If I can finish it I try. I take it as far as I can and give it to Kerry [King]. Usually, when he gets an idea going, he will meet up with Dave [Lombardo] and they will work on it for a bit. I will come in and see how everything is going. After that, we all jump on in.
Aside from yourself, who are your favorite guitar players?
Jeff Hanneman: Of all time? Well, I have tons of them, but I would say Micheal Shanker ( The Scorpions). He really got me into playing guitar when I was a kid. I always thought he was a great soloist. From there, I go into Yngwie (Malmsteen) and all those guys after that.
Are you ever going to write a follow up to D.A.M.M. (Drunk Drivers Against Mad Mothers)? That was a funny song.
Jeff Hanneman: (Laughs). Probably not. That was a little side project I had years ago.
Have you ever released those, aside from on "Undisputed Attitude"?
Jeff Hanneman: No, I was planning on it years ago, and Rick Rubin said, "Thats the kind of shit that breaks up bands." I'm just loyal to Slayer.
When SLAYER writes music, do you do it more for the fans or more for yourselves?
Jeff Hanneman: More for ourselves. When we started writing this kind of music in the beginning, I didn't think that many people would listen to it, but over the years our fan base just kept growing and growing. Now, it's like we do it for us and our fans. That's one of the main reasons we never changed our style. We still like doing it, and the fans don't want to hear us write a love song or whatever.
I thought Necrophiliac was a love song?
Jeff Hanneman: (Laughs). A SLAYER-style love song.
What are you listening to for new music?
Jeff Hanneman: There is not anyone I'm into, brand new, at this time. I'm always looking. Mastodon sounds good, but I'm waiting for someone to just blow doors and just do something completely new. I have no idea what that's supposed to sound like, but I'm waiting for it. Other than that, I listen to some of the new metal bands. I still like Type O Negative, System of a Down, and old Deftones. Anything that's dark. It doesn't have to be fast and heavy, because what's what we do, but anything that's just dark and has death appeal to it.
I don't wanna take up anymore drinking time, so any last works for the fans?
Jeff Hanneman: We appreciate everything, through the years, and check out the next record. I know it's going to be awesome!