Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman has been sidelined from the road for quite some time now thanks to an infected spider bite on his arm. But in case his surprise appearance at the U.S. Big 4 show wasn’t enough to assure you that Hanneman is still in the band, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya recently reaffirmed that Hanneman is still very much in Slayer. He even went as far to say that Slayer wouldn’t even consider recording new material without him.

In an interview with Billboard, Araya said the following about the possibility of recording without Hanneman:

“There’s no way we’d go into a studio without him. As a band we’re not going to do something without him. He’s an integral part of the band. We require his musical skills, his writing skills. He’s an integral part of the band. So we’re going to hold off until he’s at 100 percent and can join that process and be part of it.”

It’s great that Slayer is standing by their band mate, who we hope is recovering well. But the interview still leaves to question whether Hanneman is fully recovered or not. The Big 4 U.S. show was a good sign that Hanneman might be able to rejoin the band soon. However, it’s still unclear as to whether Hanneman will return for Slayer’s upcoming tour with Rob Zombie or the Big 4’s upcoming European dates. Seeing that Exodus’ Gary Holt was the first guitarist to help fill in, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that Holt could pull double duty on the Slayer/Zombie tour (which Exodus is opening on). But that’s simply speculation. We’ll keep you posted if more develops.

In other Slayer-related news, Araya tells Billboard that if their Summer tourmate Rob Zombie were to offer them a part in his forthcoming The Lords of Salem film, they would consider it. “Oh, if he approaches and says, ‘Hey, I got a role for you,’ I’d give it a try. Why not?” he said. “What’s it gonna hurt? Let’s face it; everybody wants to be in a movie. It’s worth a shot. All they can tell you is that you’re no good — and they’ve said that since we started our band, but that didn’t stop us from doing what we do.”