It Will Be "Raining Blood" at the Inaugural Hannemanfest on Friday at Joe's Grotto
The music industry is a brutal battlefield. It's strewn with the bodies of talented artists who were suffocated by success (Kurt Cobain), swallowed whole by indulgence (Keith Moon), or taken by tragedy (Randy Rhoads). No genre is safe: The path to the top of the charts is paved with some of the finest souls from classic rock, punk, hard rock, hip-hop, and pop.
Courtesy Photo Back From Ashes is scheduled to perform during Hannemanfest at Joe's Grotto on Friday, January 31.
However, one genre arguably has seen more than its fair share of shocking deaths, be they from stereotypically debauched lifestyles, unsafe touring conditions, or rabid fans. That genre would be heavy metal.
Perhaps that's why fans and surviving musicians are so good at paying homage to the fallen.
Take Dimefest, for example, an annual celebration of Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott, who was slain December 8, 2004, by a fan who shot one of the most talented and influential guitarists in rock as he performed onstage in Columbus, Ohio.
"A few years back, I noticed Dimefest was in other cities, but no one was setting it up here. So I called up a few fellow heavy hitters to throw it down here in town," says Billy Gonzales, singer of local metal band Motive and a part-time promoter. "It was so successful [that] everyone kept asking if I was gonna keep doing it, so it just stuck."
Now Gonzales, along with production company Death Weddle, is giving similar treatment to another lost hero: Slayer's Jeff Hanneman, who died May 2, 2013, of liver failure in Southern California.
"The band Souless suggested doing a Hannemanfest," says Death Weddle's Jason Weddle. "It makes sense, especially since Slayer has more of a rabid cult following, as opposed to [Abbott's] Pantera."
Slated for what would've been Hanneman's 50th birthday, January 31, the inaugural Hannemanfest will feature at least 10 local metal bands scheduled to perform at Joe's Grotto.