Broken Hope's Jeremy Wagner shows us his Jeff Hanneman collection

A shot of Jeremy Wagner with all his Jeff Hanneman stuff
(Image credit: Stephanie Cabral)

So Jeremy, why did you choose to so emphatically memorialise the late, great Jeff?

“He was one of my biggest influences and the reason I became a guitar player. He was the lyricist and chief songwriter for Slayer just as I am for Broken Hope so I directly relate to him. I collect his personal effects for the right reasons – to preserve and pay tribute to what he did for metal so his influence will remain eternal.”

You’ve got so much memorabilia! How do you store it all?

“I bought my mom a house for herself but I also put all my shit in there, so it’s become my Jeff Hanneman museum and my mom is the manager. Just like a curator, I’ve got everything preserved and on display in there. I tell people the Hanneman room is one of respect – it’s a private church and it’s not open to the public yet but maybe one day I’ll do an exhibition. I even loaned ESP one of Jeff’s guitars that I own for this year’s NAMM mini-museum.”

Do you ever play Jeff’s guitars?

“I wrote and recorded the new Broken Hope album using some of them, that’s my way of sharing the work of the guitars and I’d love to play them live someday, too. Preservation of their original state is paramount to me, so I framed the original strings and I hired the best guitar tech in Chicago to set them to Jeff’s tunings. I gave strict instructions not to clean them because some have Jeff’s sweat stains still on them. On one Slayer tour, they had blood rain down on them at the end of the set – you can still see flecks of fake blood all over these guitars.”

You own Jeff’s whole library, too?

“I purchased all 500 volumes of his entire library; he was a huge WWII fanatic and so am I! There’s a Nazi doctor’s book that’s the original source material for Jeff’s lyrics for Angel Of Death, one of the most famous Slayer songs in the world. That book alone is a piece of Slayer history. Also, I was researching an infamous Nazi brigade leader for a novel I was writing but I couldn’t find anything online. As I was having his library delivered to my house, I noticed Jeff had a hardbound book about this exact leader – I’m not spiritual, but that was really spooky!”

Did you find any hidden treasures when you got everything home?

“I’ve gone through all Jeff’s books and there’s so many Hanneman artefacts in there – some books he wrote in, boarding passes he used as bookmarks, Polaroids of his famous Jackson guitar before he put punk rock stickers on it. There’s even photos of the first house he bought with his Slayer income – I asked his widow Kathryn if she would like them back out of respect but she told me to keep them to curate Jeff’s world. My mission statement is to continue Jeff’s legacy and Kathryn tells me all the time that this is what Jeff would have wanted.”

On a scale of 1-10, just how metal is owning a Jeff Hanneman collection?

“Definitely 10 and above. Make no mistake, I’m not saying I’m the world’s biggest Slayer fan because there are some crazy ones out there, but I will say I’m the biggest Jeff Hanneman fan on the planet. His songwriting had such a profound effect on me at a young age and it inspired me to be a metal guitarist, and here I am seven albums later – and I owe a lot of that to Jeff Hanneman.”

The new Broken Hope album, Mutilated And Assimilated, is out now via Century Media

Get involved!

The Storage: “Space is paramount,” Jeremy advises potential memorabilia collectors. “You don’t want your things going into storage because you want to enjoy them.” Make sure you have enough room to show off your finds!

The Contacts: “Metallica’s Kirk Hammett brokered me deals on a lot of memorabilia,” Jeremy tells us. Join social media groups relating to the bands you love to get in touch with other collectors!

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