A spokesperson for Slayer has informed fan site Slayerized.com that it is not very likely that founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman will join the band for the upcoming South American tour which kicks off next week (June 2) in Santiago, Chile. A replacement guitarist hasn't been officially named, but it is believed to once again be Gary Holt of Exodus.
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. In January, Hanneman contracted necrotizing fasciitis, likely caused by a spider bite, and has been undergoing surgeries, skin grafts and intense rehab since. 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".
Holt has been the primary guest guitarist with SLAYER since the band started its 2011 touring schedule in February, and will continue in that capacity until Hanneman has completely recovered.
In a recent interview with Austria's Stormbringer.at webzine, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo stated about the decision to hire Holt as the initial temporary replacement for Hanneman, "Well, that was a hard decision to make. We had to think to ourselves, 'Do we cancel — again? Or what do we do? Do we keep going?' It was a difficult decision, but we had to make it — to find a guitar player to take Jeff's place until Jeff gets better. And Gary, really, was a no-brainer — meaning, we didn't have to think about it. Because at Hellfest in France [in 2010], Kerry and myself were watching Exodus. And Slayer and Exodus go waaay back. We go back to '83 or '84 when we first got together and did shows up in San Francisco together. So we saw Gary play with Exodus, and we loved it. And Gary's performance was outstanding. So the first person that came to our minds was Gary — to take the place for Jeff. Again, it was difficult to make that decision, but we had to do it to fulfill our shows; we couldn't cancel again."