DAVE LOMBARDO: Time Away From SLAYER Was 'Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me'

Waleed Rashidi of Modern Drummer magazine (web site) recently interview SLAYER's Dave Lombardo for a cover story that appears in its September 2006 issue. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:

Modern Drummer: "Christ Illusion" is your first recording with SLAYER in fourteen years. Were you totally itching to get this album out?

Dave: "Yes. It was frustrating, because Kerry [King] and I were recording demos back in early 2003. So it's been three years of working on this stuff. We made two demos at my house and then we rehearsed the songs forever. The good part was, once we went into the studio, we were ready. I recorded the songs in, like, three and a half days — bam, slammed 'em out! I was almost disappointed, because I didn't get a chance to enjoy the studio."

Modern Drummer: From the tracks we've heard, there seems to be more of a thrash beat being worked back into the songs.

Dave: "Yeah, it's in there, but it's only at special times. We didn't want to overdo it. You want to add that sort of thing at the right time and in the right place. SLAYER was originally a metal band, but we were influenced by punk, too. And that fast beat is the punk influence coming back in."

Modern Drummer: You've now had a chance to reflect on all the albums you've done with the band. What went through your head this time before you started writing your parts?

Dave: "Actually, I wanted to be a little more creative than I was allowed to be. There were certain boundaries I had to stay within. I've learned so much while I was away from the band, and I wanted to apply some of those concepts. But the other guys didn't feel those ideas were really what SLAYER is all about. So, in a way, I revisited the approach I used with the band years ago."

Modern Drummer: When you started writing with the band again, was it pretty much the same as it was for previous SLAYER recordings?

Dave: "Their writing and approach is the same. I don't think they've changed one single but from back then. But my approach has changed — I'm thinking about things a bit differently."

Modern Drummer: In what way?

Dave: "A guitar riff can have many types of drum beats, and at this stage of my playing, I have a wide variety to choose from. It's cool, because I can give the guys different options.

Modern Drummer: Do you think your time away from SLAYER was god for you?

Dave: "It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had been a part of the greatest metal band in the world, and then I was able to venture into other styles and work with very different musicians. Honestly, if I stayed in SLAYER, I would have never had those incredible musical experiences. All of that experience shaped me and kind of 're-formed me' into the drummer I am now. I now feel confident jumping from one thing to another."

Modern Drummer: You've had a solo percussion album in the works for a few years now.

Dave: "God, it's been forever. I don't know, one of these days I'll get it out. It's close to completion. I need to do a bongo overdub, a timbale overdub, and a drumset overdub. The recording is essentially me in my room with a keyboard, drums, and percussion, layering parts. I'll do one beat, layer something on top, layer something on top of that, and so on.

"I've been working on this record in my free time. The problem is, I don't have a lot of free time! When I'm on tour, I really can't work on it because I don't have everything on hand. I've been doing some editing of the parts, but not any recording. When I'm home, I'm occupied with a hundred and one other things. But the record is sitting there, waiting. When it's ready, it'll be out."

Modern Drummer: What's on it? Is it metal?

Dave: It's unclassifiable. Some people might describe it as world music. It could be a film soundtrack. It's definitely not metal."

To read the entire interview, get the September 2006 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, available on the newsstands now. More information cab be found at www.moderndrummer.com.

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