Chasing Death

Album: Repentless (2015)

Songfacts®:

  • Slayer axeman Kerry King wrote this song after his longtime guitar tech, Armand Crump, overdosed and died in 2012. "I'm losing friends to addiction... I'm losing friends to a lot of things you don't expect, and then when it starts happening, it pisses you off. It was kind of me venting about it," he explained.

    King added: "Some of your friends you know they need help and some of them you don't. Some of them you try to give them help and some of them don't want it and that's just part of life and I think that song just sums it up."
  • Frontman Tom Araya said the song is about "people chasing death and living in the fast lane and just doing things that might bring death a little quicker than it should."
  • Kerry King told the Illinois Entertainer that he wrote the song in part in an effort to save his fellow Slayer co-founding guitarist Jeff Hanneman from alcoholism. "There were some wake-up calls in there," King said. "You know, we were trying to get Jeff on board. And he had literally cheated death when he had that arm injury. I don't think people know it was as bad as it was, but the doctor told him when he went in to work on him, 'First, I'm going to try to save your life.' We didn't know if he was going to live. And Jeff, he just... he got out of the hospital, and he lived clean for a while. I'm, like, 'Dude, you just cheated death. You got another shot at doing this all over again. Let's f--king get you back on board, playing some shows.'"

    "I knew when [Jeff] went into the hospital that last time, I knew it was bad, but I didn't know it was that bad," he continued. "Nobody expected that call ... I didn't know if he was ever going to come out of that particular episode, but I didn't think it was going to be that quick."

    "You can't make an addicted person get better if they don't want to," King concluded. "We did everything we were supposed to do, but that kind of personality, man. If they're not strong enough to outwit it, then it's gonna happen how it happened."

    Hanneman eventually died in May 2013 from alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver.

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