SLAYER has recruited Gary Holt (pictured below) from veteran San Francisco Bay Area thrashers EXODUS to be SLAYER's guest guitarist, temporary filling in for Jeff Hanneman who is currently recovering from surgery. Holt will immediately join Tom Araya (bass, vocals), Kerry King (guitar) and Dave Lombardo (drums) for their five-date Australian Soundwave Festival tour that begins February 26.
Hanneman underwent emergency surgery on his right arm late last month after contracting a serious infection, possibly caused by a spider bite. He is now recuperating at home and is expected to make a full recovery. He will return to the SLAYER lineup as soon as he has fully recovered.
While Hanneman's doctors were not able to definitively identify the infection's origin, they diagnosed necrotizing fasciitis, an infection caused by bacteria. According to WebMD, necrotizing fasciitis can destroy skin, fat, and the tissue covering the muscles. The disease sometimes is called "flesh-eating" bacteria.
"Jeff is our brother, we've all been friends and together as a band for almost 30 years," said Araya, "so we just want him to completely recover as soon as possible."
"After everything that happened last year," King added, "we all agreed that we just can't let our fans down again," referring to Araya's severe back and neck pain that prompted his January 2010 surgery, unfortunately leading to the band's postponement or cancellation of numerous shows in 2009 and 2010. "Jeff is totally on board with this decision, so we will tour as planned. At this point, we can't pinpoint exactly what day he'll be back, but he'll be back as soon as he possibly can. And we can't wait for Jeff to get better and get his ass back on the road."