Demmel is filling in for SLAYER‘s guitarist of the past eight years, Gary Holt, who announced on Sunday that he would miss the rest of the current SLAYER European trek in order to return home and be with his dying father.
On Monday, Demmel posted the following message on his social media sites: “Full circle. Karma. It’s so crazy how things work out. I got a text less than 24 hours after I played my last MACHINE HEAD 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 has 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 [be] 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 Gary Holt 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 Marta [Phil‘s wife] for being so selfless after having her partner home for two days, sends him off to follow this crazy dream. All hail the Queen.”
Holt began filling in for SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman at live shows in 2011, and became the band’s full-time co-guitarist as of 2013, while remaining a member of EXODUS.
Demmel landed in MACHINE HEAD a decade after his previous band, VIO-LENCE, broke up; VIO-LENCE being the group that he launched as a teenager and in which he was later joined by Robb Flynn, MACHINE HEAD‘s lead singer and guitarist. Robb went on to form MACHINE HEAD in 1992, with Phil coming into the group in 2003.
Demmel announced in October that he would leave MACHINE HEAD at the end of the band’s fall 2018 North American tour, explaining in a statement that it was “simply time” for him “to step away and do something else musically.”