SLAYER bassist/vocalist Tom Araya tells Billboard.com that the band will not return to the studio until ailing guitarist Jeff Hanneman has fully recovered from necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria syndrome that was likely contracted from a spider bite.
"There's no way we'd go into a studio without him," Araya says. "As a band we're not going to do something without him. He's an integral part of the band. We require his musical skills, his writing skills. He's an integral part of the band. So we're going to hold off until he's at 100 percent and can join that process and be part of it."
Hanneman stepped onstage with SLAYER at the April 23 "Big Four" concert in Indio, California, marking the first time he has played with the band since last October. Hanneman surprised the crowd of 50,000 when he walked out onto the stage, unannounced, and played the two-song encore, "South Of Heaven" and "Angel Of Death".
"It was a big deal for him to play for us it was, too," Araya tells Billboard.com. "We thought that would be a nice surprise for everybody and also make everybody aware that he's still there. It's pretty severe what he's going through. He's had skin grafts, and he's got to rehabilitate his arm and get it back in shape again. It's going to require a lot of time."
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