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Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dies
Jeff Hanneman

Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Slayer Guitarist Jeff Hanneman Dies

Guitarist of GRAMMY-winning thrash metal band Slayer dies at age 49

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Jeff Hanneman, founding guitarist of the GRAMMY-winning thrash metal band Slayer, died of liver failure on May 2 in Los Angeles. He was 49. Heralded as one of the "Big 4" influential metal bands (along with Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica), Slayer issued their debut album, Show No Mercy, in 1983. The quartet — bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Hanneman and Kerry King, and drummer Dave Lombardo — quickly garnered a reputation for their extreme thrash metal style and graphic lyrics. The band teamed with GRAMMY-winning producer Rick Rubin to record a series of seminal metal albums, Hell Awaits (1985), Reign In Blood (1986), South Of Heaven (1988), and Seasons In The Abyss (1990). Hanneman, who was a key ingredient in the band's signature heavy guitar sound, co-wrote many of the band's live set staples, including "Raining Blood," "Mandatory Suicide" and "South Of Heaven," and, on his own, "Angel Of Death." Slayer earned their first career GRAMMY in 2006 for Best Metal Performance for "Eyes Of The Insane." The band earned the same award in 2007 for "Final Six," joining Metallica as the only band to win the category in consecutive years. In 2009 Slayer released their most recent studio album, World Painted Blood, and the title track earned them their fifth career GRAMMY nomination. In 2011 Hanneman took a leave of absence from the band after falling ill from the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis. Slayer have reportedly been at work on a new studio album, tentatively due in 2013.

"Jeff Hanneman was an intense and powerful guitarist and a force to be reckoned with onstage," said Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy. "The music industry has lost a true trailblazer."

Slayer Extends Final Tour With North America Dates In May 2019

Tom Araya of Slayer

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

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Slayer Extends Final Tour With North America Dates In May 2019

Fans have gone to extremes to attend the thrash icons' final gigs ever, so some relief is on tap with 16 new U.S. and Canada dates added in May 2019

GRAMMYs/Dec 11, 2018 - 02:10 am

The Final World Tour for GRAMMY-winning metal icons Slayer has been extended with 16 new dates in May 2019 across North America. "We want to assure our fans that we'll be on the road through 2019," guitarist Kerry King said previously, "and will get to as many places around the world as possible to make it easier for everyone to come and see us one last time."

King's remarks were in response to dramatic anecdotes of fans' extreme-travel experiences, to see the band on their farewell tour.

The tour encountered another challenge when Slayer guitarist Gary Holt was pulled off tour by news of his father's failing health. Their GRAMMY-nominated new recruit is Phil Demmel, formerly of Machine Head.

"I wrapped up the Machine Head tour," he said. "I quit Machine Head, did our last show, and the next day I got a text from Kerry King saying, 'Do you think you can learn 19 Slayer songs and be out here in two days?'"

The response from Demmel, his wife and concert audiences has been an enthusiastic "yes," but Demmel warns that it's nothing to smile about. Because "there's no smiling in Slayer," he said. "You can't smile onstage."

The thrash metal legends' GRAMMY wins were both in the Best Metal Performance category at the 49th and 50th GRAMMY Awards, for "Eyes Of The Insane" and "Final Six" respectively.

Tickets are available at the Slayer website. The added dates begin on May 2 in Phoenix, Ariz., and wrap on May 25 in Mansfield, Mass.

Mastodon's Brent Hinds Post Tour: "I Need To Decompress From All This"

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The Week In Music: Turn Up To 11

National Metal Day, 11-11-11, marks the heaviest day of the century

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

At first glance, today may seem like the second Friday in November. But in actuality, today marks the heaviest day of the 21st century, as declared by VH1 Classic: National Metal Day, 11-11-11. Aspiring and seasoned headbangers alike are invited to raise their fists and rock their inner-metal with a slew of programming on VH1 Classic throughout the entire day. Programs scheduled to air include "Behind The Music Remastered: Megadeth"; a "groundbreaking" documentary charting the path of metal's existence, Metal Evolution; interviews with artists such as Marilyn Manson, Slash, AC/DC's Brian Johnson, and Megadeth's Dave Mustaine, among others; and concert performances from Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, Metallica, Slayer, Motörhead, and Judas Priest. Of course, VH1 Classic will also be airing the movie no National Metal Day would be complete without, This Is Spinal Tap, which will literally allow metal fanatics to go to 11.

In related news, VH1 Classic will air an exclusive intimate interview with elusive Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose in conjunction with National Metal Day at 11 p.m. ET. True to his penchant for starting concerts on the later side, Rose finally sat down for the interview with the hosts of "That Metal Show" at 5:30 a.m. on Oct. 30, following the kickoff of the band's North American tour in Miami the evening prior. Topics of conversation included Guns N' Roses' 2008 album Chinese Democracy, Rose's knack for starting concerts tardy, misconceptions about Rose, the band's current tour, and more. Viewers may even be in for a surprise or two, according to "That Metal Show" host Eddie Trunk. "I think people are going to see a side of him they may not have realized existed," said Trunk. Watch a preview clip of Rose's interview here.

Appropriately, National Metal Day is shaping up to be a monumental day for the genre's founding fathers as Black Sabbath are hosting a press conference today at the Whisky A Go Go. Though an official report has not yet been disclosed, it is expected the group is convening to announce the reunion of its original members, bassist Geezer Butler, guitarist Tony Iommi, drummer Bill Ward, and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne. The GRAMMY-winning metal quartet's catalog includes classics such as "Paranoid," "Iron Man," "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath," "Children Of The Grave," "War Pigs," and "Planet Caravan," to name a few. Iommi and Butler most recently recorded and toured as part of the Sabbath spin-off Heaven & Hell with drummer Vinny Appice and vocalist Ronnie James Dio. But with Dio succumbing to stomach cancer in 2010, the door opened for the first reunion of the original Black Sabbath since 2005. This past summer, in a leaked interview by Birmingham Mail, Iommi essentially confirmed the bat was out of the proverbial bag. "It's all been very hush-hush," said Iommi. "Ozzy's been the worst at holding it back."

Of course, National Metal Day is an appropriate day for a lively debate (read: heated argument) on which band reigns supreme in the metal universe? Rolling Stone recently conducted a poll on this topic, asking readers to help construct a list of the top 10 metal acts of all time. The results proved to be fairly standard with metal warhorses such as Pantera (No. 9), Megadeth (No. 6), Slayer (No. 5), and Iron Maiden (No. 4) all garnering nods. Perhaps surprisingly, Led Zeppelin placed No. 8. While Led Zeppelin are typically included in the pantheon of classic rock instead of metal, many metal guitarists cite the six-string wizardry of Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin's impactful first two albums in 1969 as predating Black Sabbath's seminal 1970 self-titled debut. Arguably a bigger surprise, Black Sabbath were edged out of the runner-up position by Dream Theater, a progressive metal quintet known for their impeccable technical skills. (Upon further review, maybe it shouldn't come as a surprise as Dream Theater announced the poll via Twitter.) With a legacy spanning three decades and classic metal offerings such as Master Of Puppets and Metallica, aka the "the Black Album," it comes as little surprise that Metallica landed at No. 1. That said, Metallica's standing in future metal polls may be in jeopardy due to some of the scathing reviews Lulu, their latest collaboration with Lou Reed, has received.

With Black Friday approaching, shoppers are looking to score that perfect gift of the holiday season. If you have a metal fan on your list, we present five gifts sure to garner the metal hand-sign approval: 5) Trust Me, I'm Dr. Ozzy: Advice From Rock's Ultimate Survivor, a book in which Ozzy offers "medical" advice based on his near-death experiences and 40-year history of drug abuse; 4) Kiss cremation urn, for safekeeping the ashes of a loved one or use as a cool mantle piece; 3) From The Bars To The Stars, Twisted Sister's new box set chronicling three decades of live performances, bad costumes and garish makeup; 2) "Metallica Monopoly," a fresh take on the classic board game, though instead of landing on Park Place you may "Jump In The Fire"; and 1) Ultimate Air Supply, because let's be honest, every headbanger has a soft side.

Rihanna's "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Taylor Swift's "If This Was A Movie" is tops on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below. For the latest GRAMMY news, visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Last Week In Music. Click on "The Week In Music" tag below for links to other GRAMMY News stories in this series.
 

The Week In Music: Britney Vs. Obama
Britney Spears at the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards in January

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

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The Week In Music: Britney Vs. Obama

See who's leading the Twitter wars

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 05:06 am

Huffington Post has compiled a top 140 Twitter most-followed list and it's mostly good news for musicians, two of whom top the leader of the free world in Twitter followers. But while some of the highest-ranking music personalities are fairly predictable, the list shows a surprisingly democratic Twitter world, and one where you don't have to be the hottest name in pop culture to win fans. Britney Spears tops everyone with more than 5 million followers, and other major current music stars rank in the top 20, including Lady Gaga (No. 4), Taylor Swift (No. 8), John Mayer (No. 9), Coldplay (No. 17), Katy Perry (No. 19) and 50 Cent (No. 20). But the list also includes M.C. Hammer, who touches the list at No. 51, "Weird Al" Yankovic at No. 62, recent GRAMMY winner Imogen Heap at No. 123, and self-proclaimed avant-cellist Zoë Keating at No. 140. For the record, President Barack Obama lands at only No. 5, but that might be because it's tough to distill the 1,000-plus-page financial reform act into 140 characters.

Speaking of the financial reform legislation, which continues to limp through Congress this week, it comes with an entertainment-related note: Currently it would put a halt to proposed movie box-office futures trading if passed, according to the Los Angeles Times. The only other commodity on which futures trading is banned by law is onions. We think there's a joke in there somewhere, though it would be funnier if instead of onions the ban was on raspberries.

A new music video trend may have been stopped before it started. Instead of the usual humdrum video set, Snoop Dogg recently attempted to rent the entire country of Liechtenstein for his new music video. Of course, with an estimated population of just 35,000 and covering roughly 61.7 square miles, Liechtenstein is not entirely large. Unfortunately for Snoop the deal couldn't be consummated as his team "did not give enough time," according to a local property agent. The lesson? When looking to rent out Liechtenstein, get your request in a little earlier. Or, maybe try Andorra instead.

Police rushed to a Batavia, Ill., theater last week to halt the screening of a concert featuring performances by metal legends Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, and Slayer. The theater's manager placed an emergency call after attendees started to get a little out of hand and police arrived to find damage including one broken seat, broken armrests and a small hole in the screen. On top of that, there was "a large amount" of alcohol beverage containers on the scene. Large amounts of alcohol, holes in the screen, busted chairs — now, that truly is metal. However, no one was arrested. Not very metal.

In other raucous news, the National's Matt Berninger was recently taken into federal custody on suspicion of terrorism at the Honolulu International Airport when he attempted to carry on a MacGyver-esque, bomb-resembling alarm clock that the indie rocker had purchased in Tokyo. We're not sure if this was more of an inconvenience for Berninger (who had to ultimately surrender the clock to the Transportation Security Administration), or the rest of the airport patrons forced to evacuate. "Suddenly I hear my name being called and my name's flashing on all the monitors," said Berninger. "I was kind of hoping that maybe I could finish this 15-minute massage chair thing first then realized that maybe I shouldn't."

Platinum '80s pop starlets Deborah "Debbie" Gibson and Tiffany are set to make mega-film history. The duo will battle it out in the upcoming Syfy original Saturday night movie, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. Both are no strangers to film as Gibson previously appeared in Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus and Tiffany starred in Mega Piranha — but this is the first time the duo will appear in a film together. "I know that pop culture fanatics have been dying for Tiffany and me to collaborate for the past 24 years!" said Gibson. "What better way to do it than by battling each other in a campy romp through the Everglades?" No word on whether the film's mega climax will be set to "Lost In Your Eyes" or "I Think We're Alone Now."

U.S. News & World Report's June 28 story, "21 Things You Should Never Buy New," probably left a sour taste in the collective mouth of the entertainment industry and, well, most every other industry too. No. 1 on its list is DVDs/CDs. But among the other 20 buy-used-only items: books, video games, jewelry, furniture, cars, musical instruments, pets (we have a relatively low-mileage cat we're taking offers on), houses and consumer electronics. What should you never buy used? Not much of consequence beyond laptops and underpants according to a related article. The report doesn't suggest how the manufacturers and intellectual property owners of the above items are supposed to be compensated (or for that matter how an item never bought new becomes used…). Of course, be sure to buy your copy of U.S. News & World Report used.

Katy Perry's "California Gurls," featuring Snoop Dogg, is once again the No. 1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, and is tops on the iTunes singles chart.

Any news we've missed? Comment below.

For the latest GRAMMY news, visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
 
Last Week In Music 

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Fun Fun Fun Fest

GRAMMYs/Dec 3, 2014 - 04:22 am

Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.

By Jamie Harvey
Austin, Texas

In its sixth year, Austin, Texas' Fun Fun Fun Fest — an independent and eclectic three-day music festival in the spirit of the city's unofficial indie slogan, "Keep Austin Weird" — moved to Auditorium Shores and proved to be bigger and better than years past. With the city skyline and Town Lake as the backdrop, the festival had already built a media frenzy by the time I arrived on its last day, Nov. 6.

Upon arrival, I had to walk past a wrestling ring, a bar fashioned in Chevrolet El Caminos, a mechanical bull and a skateboard ramp to get to the far end of the festival grounds where the aptly colored and placed Black stage was, and where I'd spend my time with the rock, punk and metal bands.

Eyehategod

As I walked up, Nobunny was onstage. Nobunny, the alter ego of Justin Champlin, is kind of like the Lady Gaga of punk music — he dons a rabbit-esque mask and has been known to wear raw meat onstage. As he finished his poppy punk set, I watched the crowd bounce up and down, sure enough just like a rabbit. I walked right up front for Eyehategod, the Southern sludge metal band from New Orleans. I have seen them many times over the past 15 years, and it was odd to see them in daylight. But right before their set began, darkness came over the stage and the sky opened and rained on the crowd for about 10 minutes. This created the perfect setting for EHG's sound — a swampy medley of screams, feedback, and crunching guitar — all with a touch of twang and boogie. Don't let their name, or song titles, scare you. EHG are a necessary staple in Southern metal.

Set List
"Blank"
"Shoplift"
"Jacka In The Will Of God"
"White Ni"
"Sisterf
er (Part I)"
"$30 Bag"
"New Orleans Is The New Vietnam"
"Dixie Whiskey"

Cannibal Corpse

I stayed put for Cannibal Corpse. My first memories of this band were controversial, disgusting album covers that both scared and humored me as a kid. But here I was in the front row for my fourth Cannibal Corpse show. Once you take the time to understand this band, you realize that they don't really take themselves seriously, similar to an over-the- top slasher film. To prove this point, there were quite a few CC kids onstage with their dads, proudly playing air-guitar accompaniment. CC epitomize what it is to be a death metal band to me. It starts with a growling so deep you can't understand the words but instead feel them in your reptilian brain. Then it's the long hair flying everywhere, in sync with the beats, and guitar riffs that squeal in a racket that turns most people off. And it's the riff that defines great death metal like CC — it's infectious like a pop song you can't get out of your head. And lest I forget the drums, another crucial component of death metal. The machine of a drummer whose limbs are engaged in moving in a way that is inconceivable. I'd have to say this was my favorite Cannibal Corpse set I've ever seen because I was in between the madness onstage and the madness of the pit, and that energy was incredible.

Set List
"I Cum Blood"
"Sentenced To Burn"
"Pit Of Zombies"
"F
ed With A Knife"
"The Wretched Spawn"
"Priests Of Sodom"
"Hammer Smashed Face"
"Stripped, Raped And Strangled"

Slayer

I'd imagine that if I played the game word association with the majority of the population, and I said "extreme metal band," a large percentage of people would respond, "Slayer." And when they said "Slayer," they would probably say it like this: "SLAYYYEEEERRR." Slayer conjures up a whole host of images and ideals when people hear their name, and I'd have to say all of that was at play at Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Ironically, Slayer did not play on the Black stage, but rather the larger Orange stage.

As the curtain dropped to reveal the band about 30 seconds into their recent staple opener, the Best Metal Performance GRAMMY-nominated "World Painted Blood," mosh pits were erupting everywhere, and those who may not have fully understood what it means to stand close to Slayer were sent running for the hills. The crowd was seeing a slightly altered version of the band as Slayer's usual guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, has recently been unable to play due to necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating disease likely caused by a spider bite. Filling in was Gary Holt, guitarist for Bay Area thrash legends Exodus, which gave the band an entirely different vibe.

The only thing more evil-sounding than 1986's "Postmortem" was that of guitarist Kerry King's chains clanking as he walks toward you. "Disciple," which garnered Slayer their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2001, was followed by the serial killer-inspired "Dead Skin Mask." Then there was the all-encompassing ominous tone that accompanied vocalist/bassist Tom Araya's whisper chant in "Mandatory Suicide": "Holes burn deep in your chest/Raked by machine gun fire/Screaming skull sent out to die/Living mandatory suicide/Suicide, suicide, suicide, suicide."

For the casual Slayer fan, the one-two punch of "South Of Heaven" and "Raining Blood" always thrills. Most bands would leave it on that note, but while some fans headed back to their cars, Slayer gave the crowd "Black Magic" and "Angel Of Death" as their parting words. Slayer is, and always will be, not like most bands.

Set List
"World Painted Blood"
"Hate Worldwide"
"War Ensemble"
"Postmortem"
"Psychopathy Red"
"Dittohead"
"Spirit In Black"
"Bloodline"
"Disciple"
"Dead Skin Mask"
"Hell Awaits"
"Mandatory Suicide"
"Chemical Warfare"
"Silent Scream"
"Seasons In The Abyss"
"Snuff"
"South Of Heaven"
"Raining Blood"
"Black Magic"
"Angel Of Death"

To catch Eyehategod in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

To catch Cannibal Corpse in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

(Texas-based Jamie Harvey is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She attended 112 shows in 2010. You can follow her musical adventures and concert recaps at www.hardrockchick.com.)