SLAYER Drummer DAVE LOMBARDO: I Feel Alive When I'm Up On Stage

Arto Lehtinen and Marko Syrjala of recently conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. When this thing of Jeff [Hanneman, SLAYER guitarist, who was recently forced to sit out shows after coming down with an infection thought to have been caused by a spider bite] came about, you decided not to cancel shows but to hire Gary Holt from EXODUS to fill in for Jeff until he's able to return. How did Gary come into picture?

Lombardo: Me and Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] were on the side of the stage at Hellfest, in France. Both me and Kerry, were "Come on, let's go listen to EXODUS. Let's hear EXODUS. We haven't seen them in a while." We saw EXODUS and I was like, "Wow. Now I remember why I liked them so much, when I was young." They were playing the whole "Bonded By Blood" album. So it brought back many memories. I don't know if you've seen pictures of Gary and myself — EXODUS and SLAYER together? Yes, we have.

Lombardo: There are lots of pictures – and so much fun. Even with METALLICA, when we were kids. We used to hang out. We used to have fun together. So, when we saw him play and we were enjoying the music, I go, "Look at that guy. That guy's an amazing guitar player. He's a good player." And so, when this happened, the first person that came to Kerry's mind, and myself, [was] Gary. I mean he was there, from the beginning. He knows that style. He's a part of the family, kind of?

Lombardo: He's part of the family. At the beginning — the embryo stages of that music — you know, the Bay Area in Southern California. There isn't too many guys who can, you know — who have that certain kind of history behind.

Lombardo: No there isn't. He's from that time and we have the common past. And I thought it was a fantastic addition, when we started playing. So he's definitely good. How was the first rehearsal with him?

Lombardo: Fantastic. He's very professional. He did his homework. He stepped up, big time. What I have to say about him is that he's a fantastic musician. And there are guitar players and then there are musicians. And he's a fantastic musician. It takes a lot to be that. It's been two years since you released "World Painted Blood". Do you have some plans for the next SLAYER album?

Lombardo: Right now, we don't. Right now, what we want to do is fulfill our commitment to our fans. Tom, he's the singer, vocalist and bass player. That's a little more difficult to replace. And Tom needed to heal, so we waited for Tom. Jeff — of course, Jeff is Jeff and he has his own style. We can't take that away from him. But we can get another guitar player to learn the music, like they can get another drummer to learn the parts. So, we chose to do it; because we had already cancelled shows before and we don't want to keep doing that. What is it telling our fans? Can they trust us? No. So we have to show that, "Hey, you can trust us. We're trying to do our best to make the shows." Okay, this might be a little bit of a nasty question but I'm realistic now. Because everyone is getting older and getting more aged. Do you think that getting older brings more problems and it becomes difficult for you, playing and stuff like that? Because music is — your style that SLAYER does, is really demanding, you know?

Lombardo: The music is very demanding. Have you ever been to a SLAYER show? Several times!

Lombardo: Have you ever sat behind the drummer? No.

Lombardo: Okay. Then you really don't know what it is, until you sit behind the drummer. And then you realize what goes through for this music. Yes, it's difficult and it's demanding, you know. But I feel alive when I'm up there. When those lights hit and the music is really loud, it's just pure power. You have control. I have control of the amount of power I push into the people and then I pull back. And to have that, it's fantastic. How much your playing has changed during the years, I mean, are you still able to play all parts the same way you used to do in the past? there are many drummers who do keep on skipping over the difficult parts as they get older, you know?

Lombardo: Oh, no, no. I make it more. I do the opposite. I'll create, on stage — I'll improvise. I'll do stuff. I'll play the part and I'll do some parts like they're supposed to be, but there's other parts, I'll change them. And I'll just make it more exciting. Like "Whoa, what was that?" You know, be very creative. I can keep the same, but how boring is that, every day? And if you can't do what you've already recorded, then that's something else.

Read the entire interview at


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