Metallica, Stone Sour and more mourn late Slayer guitarist at Golden Gods
Golden Gods mourns late Slayer guitarist
As heavy rock and metal artists began to walk the black carpet at the 5th annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards just outside Club Nokia in Los Angeles on Thursday, word spread quickly of the death of 49-year-old Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman earlier that day.
The band announced on its website that Hanneman had passed away of liver failure in a Southern California hospital. The thrash metal innovator hadn't toured with the group since late 2010 when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a rare flesh-eating skin disease, after being bit by a spider. He last appeared with Slayer at the Big 4 festival in Indio, surprising fans by joining for the band's encore.
At L.A. Live, the news appeared to weigh heavily on the hearts of Hanneman's friends and peers. But this is metal. So instead of drowning in tears the assembled artists banded together to pay tribute to their fallen friend.
Multiple stars shared Slayer stories on the black carpet. Stone Sour and Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor, who sported a gray Slayer T-shirt, said it was times like this that metal proves to have tremendous heart.
He also noted how quickly Revolver and its Golden Gods team were able to adjust the show and include Hanneman in a memorial video that also saluted Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker, former Deftones bassist Chi Cheng, Beastie Boys' Adam "MCA" Yauch, Tony Sly of No Use for a Name, original Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr, Iron Butterfly bassist Lee Dorman, Mike Scaccia of Ministry and Deep Purple's Jon Lord.
"We take care of our own and we never forget our own," Taylor said. "We're a community that when something like this happens, we close ranks."
During the ceremony, numerous winners mentioned Hanneman in their acceptance speeches, including Rob Zombie, who received one of the night's top honors, the Golden God award. "This is a weird night," he said glancing down at his trophy, handed to him from the 2011 Golden God recipient, Kiss bassist Gene Simmons. "We're trying to have fun, but we're all gonna miss Jeff from Slayer."
Before they presented the best live band award, Slayer guitarist Kerry King and Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde also took a moment to remember Hanneman. King came out carrying two shots and noted that since Wylde is now sober, one shot would be for him and the other would go to his friend Jeff.
He said people had suggested a moment of silence, an idea he immediately rejected. "Jeff doesn't want a moment of silence. He wants a moment of (bleepin') noise," King roared to the crowd, on its feet and cheering loudly.
Though sadness loomed, it certainly didn't stop this hardcore party. The event was hosted for a fourth consecutive year by Fozzy frontman and WWE star Chris Jericho and featured performances from Anthrax, the Dillinger Escape Plan, Five Finger Death Punch, Danzig featuring Doyle Von Frankenstein, Stone Sour and, for the first time, Metallica.
As has become tradition, there were a slew of guest appearances during each set. Anthrax brought out Phil Anselmo of Pantera and bassist Rex Brown. The Dillinger Escape Plan was joined by Deftones frontman Chino Moreno for a cover of Depeche Mode's "Behind the Wheel" after a few destructive and bloody performances of its own songs.
Halestorm, whose Arejay Hale beat out legendary Rush anchor Neil Peart for best drummer, had David Draiman of Disturbed and Device come out for a rip through Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Five Finger Death Punch indulged several cameos: Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford sang on "Lift Me Up" while Rob Zombie and guitarist John 5 came out for a seriously loud and rockin' rendition of White Zombie's "Thunder Kiss '65."
Stone Sour surprised fans when Slipknot percussionists Joey Jordison and Shawn "Clown" Crahan appeared for a cover of Black Sabbath's "Children of the Grave." Even headliner Metallica brought out a guest – for the second time Halford took the stage and joined in on the band's version of Judas Priest's "Rapid Fire" (pictured above). Metallica, which graciously accepted the Ronnie James Dio Lifetime Achievement Award, also delivered crushing performances of "Disposable Heroes" and "For Whom the Bell Tolls" before concluding with an explosive "Seek and Destroy."
There were no sweeping wins, however. The only person to take home multiple trophies was Taylor, as Slipknot won best live band and he claimed best vocalist, which had the ever-emotional Taylor choking back tears: "This means more to me than anything."
Some awkward moments came when the prize for most dedicated fans went to Finnish group HIM over clear audience favorites Rammstein and Slipknot. HIM drummer Mika Kappinen came out to some rude boos and minimal applause from the picky crowd, yet remained gracious.
L.A. quintet Black Veil Brides, on the other hand, lost its cool while accepting song of the year for "In the End." Obviously in-house fans didn't vote for the relatively new group and booed profusely. Vocalist Andy Biersack just couldn't hang and started singling out hecklers, calling them fat and "bearded," which was odd, while dropping a slew of F-bombs at an awards show where that word is already commonplace.
Seriously, dude: you're holding an award. Look into the camera, thank the fans that put that statue in your hands, and take the high road. Skid Row frontman and presenter Sebastian Bach eased the moment, following it up with a sarcastic, "Well, that went well."
There were also a number of technical issues and silly flubs – like winners' names not being in the gold envelopes as presenters opened them. They'd stand there filling time until someone ran up to tell them who won. It was funny the first time, but by the third, you'd think the problem would have been fixed.
Jericho also found himself stretching for time (which must have played badly on AXS TV and online at XBOX Live) while there was a frantic search for Arejay and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm to present the most metal athlete award. That wound up going to WWE star Triple H, who sent in a prerecorded acceptance.
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was honored with the Riff Lord award and since the band is currently touring in Australia, a taped acceptance was sent, with Ozzy Osborne and Geezer Butler handing off the trophy to their longtime mate.
Other winners included Zombie's right-hand man John 5 for best guitarist, Device scored best new talent, Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead won the Paul Gray best bassist award, Deftones won best album for Koi No Yokan and comedy rock duo Tenacious D won comeback of the year, besting Aerosmith, Soundgarden, the Darkness, Refused and Quicksand.
"This doesn't mean that we're better than Aerosmith," Jack Black said in his acceptance speech. "This doesn't mean we're a better band than Soundgarden. We're just better at rocking right now."
Photo of James Hetfield (left) and Rob Halford by Frazer Harrison, Getty Images