UPDATE: Thrash giants’ show with stand-in Holt is cancelled as frontman Tom needs urgent medical attention for serious ear infection
Slayer frontman Tom Araya was rushed to hospital in Australia on Saturday night after the band’s first concert with stand-in guitarist Gary Holt.
The thrash giants decided to leave axeman Jeff Hanneman at home to recover from flesh-eating bug necrotising fasciitis, because they’d already cancelled dozens of shows during 2009 and 2010 due to Araya’s back problems.
But they managed just one show of their Australian tour – in Brisbane, on the first night of the touring Soundwave festival – before Araya required medical attention once again.
Festival organisers say Araya contracted a severe ear infection, which they hope will clear up in a few days. It’s not known whether the band will be able to appear at the three remaining shows of the tour.
The frontman’s wife Sandra reports: “Tom’s feeling much better, but it will be a few days before the rest results come back.”
The 49-year-old’s bone and muscle issues led to a metal plate being embedded in his neck last year, meaning he’s been unable to perform his trademark headbanging routine ever since.
He attempted a number of non-invasive solutions in 2009 before accepting he’d have to undergo surgery. By the time he was fit for action again Slayer had called off dozens of shows, leading guitarist Kerry King to explain they’d decided to go to Australia without Hanneman because: “We just can’t let the fans down again.”
Exodus guitarist Holt, a long-time friend of Slayer, recently said he was delighted to be standing in for Hanneman, who’s expected to make a full recovery.
The next show on the Soundwave tour is in Melbourne on March 4.