DAVE LOMBARDO Looks Back On His SLAYER Years - "You Could Find Imitators, But We Were The Innovators"
May 26, 2023, 2 days ago
Drum legend Dave Lombardo is featured in a career-spanning interview with Stereogum, as part of the publication's We’ve Got A File On You series. Following is an excerpt.
Stereogum: With your playing on the ’80s Slayer records, you were really creating a new vocabulary for metal drumming, particularly in the way you played your double bass. Were you conscious of that? Were you trying to push the limits of speed and technique to new places?
Lombardo: "I think I was at the time. I was pushing the limits. I remember saying to (late Slayer guitarist Jeff) Hanneman, 'It’s gotta be heavy! It’s gotta be faster! Fuckin’ faster! Let’s fuckin’ play hard!' And I think the whole mindset that we had at the time was just to play faster — physically faster, not computerized faster like it is today. You have the help of different software to make you sound like this fucking Big Ben perfect clock. Back then, you had to be on point. There was no click track. I had not recorded an album with a click track until probably Christ Illusion (2006). And on Christ Illusion, we only used a click track for part of a song. So you know ,things were very primitive at that time. What you heard on those albums, it was real. It was real human playing, without the help of any computer-generated time signatures or anything. So, we were pushing the envelope, and it was intentional."
Stereogum: I don’t want to make you rehash any drama, and I know that some of the relationships have been fraught. But when you look back at the body of work that you did with Slayer, are you satisfied? Are you happy with the records you worked on?
Lombardo: "Oh, hell yeah. That was awesome. That was chemistry. I’ve had this conversation with other journalists. Everyone is replaceable, but you cannot replace the magic. Those albums were created by four guys who met at a time that was very innocent, and we just started going with the flow and getting creative and created this body of work. And I’m very, very, very proud of it. You could find imitators, but we were the innovators. We were trying to create our own path, and I am very proud of all the work I did with that band."
Read the complete interview here.
Dave Lombardo has released his new album, Rites Of Percussion. Order the release on CD, digital and three different vinyl variants here. A full album audio stream can be found below.
Lombardo is one of the busiest musicians working right now. Never one to rest on his laurels, the drumming pioneer recently released new albums with Dead Cross, and Venamoris, and announced Empire State Bastard, a new project with members of Biffy Clyro. He will also be hitting the road with Mr. Bungle and The Misfits in the coming months, as we as festival appearances with John Zorn (including Big Ears Fest in April).
The recording process for Rites of Percussion had a simple mantra: drums had to be drums. Mixed in early 2022 by Lombardo’s son, David A. Lombardo, the self-produced release features a large concert bass drum, a timpani, a grand piano, and a flock of shakers, maracas, Chinese and symphonic gongs, Native American drums, congas, timbales, bongos, batás, wood blocks, djembes, ibos, darbukas, octobans, cajóns, and cymbals.
Rites Of Percussion tracklist:
"Separation From The Sacred"
"Journey Of The Host"
"Maunder In Liminality"
"Inner Sanctum" video:
Dave Lombardo was born in Havana, Cuba, relocating to Los Angeles when he was a mere two-years-old. He began playing drums as a teenager, and co-founded Slayer (and created the band’s logo) in 1981. Rolling Stone, in their list of the “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time,” dubbed him the “Cuban speed demon, “ Modern Drummer proclaimed him “The King,” and Drummerworld gave him the title of “The Godfather of double bass.” Lombardo’s eye-popping resume includes over 100 studio albums/recordings and includes both recorded and live stints with Grip Inc., Fantômas, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross, Mr. Bungle, The Misfits, DJ Spooky, John Zorn, Testament, and most recently creating the soulful duo Venamoris, with his wife Paula.
(Photo - Ekaterina Gorbacheva)