SLAYER's DAVE LOMBARDO: 'I Feel I'm At The Peak Of My Performance Right Now'

Tom Trakas of the None But My Own blog recently conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

None But My Own: Where is Dave Lombardo, the drummer these days? The kid who grew up a John Bonham and Peter Criss maniac? Where are you as a drummer in 2009?

Lombardo: I feel I'm at the peak of my performance right now. I just feel on top of my game. I feel confident, I'm hitting hard, I'm breaking pedals, snapping sticks and popping snares. I've got this great record behind me, "World Painted Blood" which I'm really, really excited about. So aside from the little ups and downs that a personal life can do to you, my career and my future look very positive.

I personally feel the record you're about to hear, from the guy who's sitting at the helm driving this ship, or this train, or whatever the hell you want to call it... Well. it's going over 150 miles per hour and I'm trying to steer and I feel collectively we're all just at the top of our game!

It feels good, it feels classic, it feels like I said collective it was a very good vibe when we were working on it. I felt if the foundation, which is the drums with no lyrics, with no leads, just rhythm guitar tracks and drums, if that foundation is there and it feels good throughout the whole song… then everything else will just fall into place.

None But My Own: You've done other press where you say "World Painted Blood" sort of conjures up the "holy trinity" of "Reign In Blood", "South of Heaven" and "Seasons In The Abyss", right? So you're saying "World Painted Blood" has a classic feel. When approaching these songs, are you reaching back to an inspiration you haven't reached for in some 20 years? How do you approach this blank canvas and decide what fits the song best?

Lombardo: Well just recently I listened to the song "Expendable Youth" and I'm thinking to myself, "God, the drums suck!"

None But My Own: Huh?

Lombardo: Yeah.

None But My Own: How? I mean they're driving the song, aren't they?

Lombardo: They are, yes, but they're so primitive. It's primitive Lombardo. Now [if] you listen to Lombardo today and the chaos happening all around the music but being controlled by this kind of precision, you can hear not only how much I've grown as a drummer, but how much the band has grown as well. That's what I hear in this new record and I feel it's fully entertaining. It's in the melodies, the way Tom [Araya] sings even if he just jumps up a single note it just makes a world of difference in how the song comes out. Perhaps that's also due to us working with an amazing producer too.

None But My Own: I must admit, all the records you've done in your career, I've never heard you speak so highly of a producer like you have with Greg Fidelman.

Lombardo: I feel he worked with me, and I can only speak for myself but I noticed he also did this with them too, but he worked with me the way Rick Rubin worked with me on all the old records. I don't know if this was Greg's technique or what, but he helped me develop the very best possible drum tracks…simply by their performance. Not in the editing stage or with a computer, nothing like that, he coached me. He was right there with me, very positive. Together we focused, I mean really focused on detail as well as sounds and if that meant a snare hit or an extra kick drum sound that's what was done.

None But My Own: As you're explaining Greg's role in the studio I'm getting this vibe where he motivated you to become a more technically efficient drummer. Would this be true?

Lombardo: A good producer makes a band sound good in the studio, but makes them sound even better after. He definitely did pull something out of us indeed, and that's what I heard directly from Rick Rubin after the sessions.

None But My Own: Looking back to [2006's] "Christ Illusion", I know that album was written, then you'd tour and then come back and write more, demo it, then go out again etc. etc. Do you feel that the album, I guess, suffered from maybe over-thinking the material? Where maybe you lived too long with the material before it was laid to tape?

Lombardo: Maybe. It's hard to say really. I think I work the best by just getting in there and nailing it down. I hate to use the words "under pressure," because to most people that's a negative, this was more of a "let's-just-do-it" feel, more motivation than anything.

None But My Own: How cool is it that this long into the journey you're still getting this band wide motivation?

Lombardo: Well, I think the nature of the circumstance of us going into the studio with only half the material we needed, I think it helped the situation. It did something to our natural way of functioning, for sure. It was very positive; it was great.

Read the entire interview from the None But My Own blog.

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