SLAYER Drummer: 'We're Loyal To The Style Of Music That We Play'

Sonic Excess recently conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

Sonic Excess: Congratulations on releasing SLAYER's 11th studio album, "World Painted Blood". The response from fans and critics has just been phenomenal. What's you proudest achievement about "World Painted Blood", and did you set any new or different personal goals when recording it?

Lombardo: There's so much to be proud of on that record. Each individual person's performance was one thing and having Greg Fidelman as the producer was another. He was able to capture the band in its broad and best form, which is what SLAYER's about. There's so many elements. It's hard to pick just one. It's just the whole record.

Sonic Excess: It's an amazing release. "World Painted Blood" is being compared to "Reign in Blood". Do you have any thoughts on that?

Lombardo: I mean, I think maybe because it has that magic that there's certain records, like AC/DC's "Highway to Hell". That album has chemistry to it, some kind of balance on that record, and there's a lot of records that are like that. Some LED ZEPPELIN records that are like that, you know, the "Led Zeppelin II". PINK FLOYD has records like that. I mean even bands today have that, and I think we've captured it.

Sonic Excess: "World Painted Blood" revisits SLAYER's punk roots. Was this something that was pre-meditated, or was it something that unfolded naturally in the studio?

Lombardo: Yeah. It bred, it's us. It's something that I think other bands, especially the more modern metal bands, missed out; that punk edge. I think a lot may be in the technology, because punk rock drumming is, I think, very organic, very raw, very street. Of course, technology and computers, being able to fix bass drums hits to an almost perfect metronomic state, kind of deceive the listener, and then they try to sound like that. It evolves. I think that going to your roots and staying with that is better.

Sonic Excess: You brought us right to our next question. Your drum work sounds so natural on the album. Did you stay with the basics and forgo all of the technology?

Lombardo: I was always part of that. It has a lot to do with the producer and what he envisions the band to sound like. So previous records, at least the only one I can speak for is "Christ Illusion", because on that record was the first record I used modern technology to where I used to record onto tape, you know, on the "Seasons" record. So, I did all that prior to computer editing. "Christ Illusion", with the other producer, he made it more mechanical; to where that wasn't what SLAYER was about. I think Greg Fidelman, because of his showing up at rehearsal, recording us, and sending us home with demos for the weekend from what we did that week, or almost daily, I think he was able to understand what we were really about.

Sonic Excess: Why do you think SLAYER has had such a lasting influence and cultural impact?

Lombardo: I think maybe because we've been consistent. We're dependable. This is the first time in 24 or 25 years that we have cancelled any kind of touring. It's not Axl Rose throwing a hissy fit and not doing a show. Our singer had to go into surgery, and in 24 years we have not missed a show. For the kind of music that we play, there is a physical demand that it takes. I think that's pretty cool. I think that says a lot for the band's reputation; that we're there, that we're loyal to the style of music that we play. The fans can always look forward to us being there with the product. They can go to shows and check out a band that will perform real; that's not computer-generated, it's not playback. Sometimes bands will go onstage and there will be some kind of playback going on. The fans will think it's the actual band playing, but it's not.

Sonic Excess: There are recent and persisting rumors that SLAYER is heading for retirement, or at least thinking about it. Please tell us there is no truth to those rumors.

Lombardo: No, that is not true. That was a misconstrued question, a European question, I think, towards Tom. They asked Tom a question, and I think it had to do with us doing our last record for American Recordings. It was a misconstrued theme that we're done and are not going to record anymore. But, no. We are finished with our agreement with American Recordings and Rick Rubin. Now, he has the option of bringing us back on board, or we go to another company. So, that's how that rumor came about. I don't plan on retiring. I'm going to keep playing until I can't play anymore.

Read the entire interview from Sonic Excess.

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