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Ex-Machine Head Guitarist Phil Demmel Comments on Filling in with Slayer

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Less than one day after stepping off stage with Machine Head for the final time, ending a 15-year run with the band, guitarist Phil Demmel was asked to fill in for Slayer’s Gary Holt. With Slayer’s European farewell tour nearly over, Holt needed to travel home to be with his dying father, and Demmel, newly available, came to the rescue.

The news broke last night through Holt, and now Demmel himself has commented on the crazy string of events that led to this chance to play live with his childhood heroes. Demmel posted the following on Instagram earlier today:

“Full circle. Karma. It’s so crazy how things work out. I got a text less than 24 hours after I played my last MH note. 11 years ago (almost to the day), I had to leave a tour to fly home and be with my family when my father passes away. Some amazing dudes stepped in to cover for me and to help the band out. I am filling in for a legend who was replaced a legend in a legendary band on their farewell tour.

“Despite the fact that Slayer is the reason I wanted to play heavy music, it’s beyond my utmost honor to asked to do this. Learning 19 songs (Not just songs, SLAYER songs) has been a daunting task and I have worked very hard to do Gary and the entire camp proud. As we all here send our love and support to @garyholt_official as he goes through a life altering time, the rallying this camp has done is amazing.

“Thank you all for your support as I grab the baton for a few shows and fly the Bay Area flag high on stage right. And lastly, the biggest hero is @martarino for being so selfless after having her partner home for 2 days, sends him off to follow this crazy dream. All hail the Queen.”

Demmel’s former boss Robb Flynn also offered his ex-guitarist some encouraging words via Instagram, which you can read right here.

Good luck out there, Phil! We’re sure you’ll kill it.

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Full circle. Karma. It’s so crazy how things work out. I got a text less than 24 hours after I played my last MH note. 11 years ago (almost to the day), I had to leave a tour to fly home and be with my family when my father passes away. Some amazing dudes stepped in to cover for me and to help the band out. I am filling in for a legend who was replaced a legend in a legendary band on their farewell tour. Despite the fact that Slayer is the reason I wanted to play heavy music, it’s beyond my utmost honor to asked to do this. Learning 19 songs (Not just songs, SLAYER songs) has been a daunting task and I have worked very hard to do Gary and the entire camp proud. As we all here send our love and support to @garyholt_official as he goes through a life altering time, the rallying this camp has done is amazing. Thank you all for your support as I grab the baton for a few shows and fly the Bay Area flag high on stage right. And lastly, the biggest hero is @martarino for being so selfless after having her partner home for 2 days, sends him off to follow this crazy dream. All hail the Queen.

A post shared by Phil Demmel (@demmelitionmh) on

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