Belfast, Northern Ireland's The Thin Air recently conducted an interview with former SLAYER and current PHILM drummer Dave Lombardo. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Thin Air: Touching a little on your departure from SLAYER, your Facebook post about it, which wasn't a "rant" whatsoever…
Lombardo: Yeah! We kept it short. It was detailed and I wasn't busting anybody's chops…
The Thin Air: Exactly. Since then, have you had any contact which would suggest you might be able to have any sort of friendship with Kerry [King, guitar] and Tom [Araya, bass/vocals] again?
Lombardo: No, none whatsoever. I've texted them, I've e-mailed them saying, "Hey, guys, let's put all this aside and let's sit down and talk." No contact. I texted Tom maybe a couple of months ago: "Tom, thinking about you, bro. Hope you're well." Nothing. Fine. I was that dispensable that they picked a drummer that's been on the couch probably for the past ten years and has done nothing. Oh, here I go… don't get me started! I don't want to be mean to anybody, because I'm not like that, but, shit, guys, really? Is that the best you can do? Oh, bring back the other guy, so it's a revolving door? I think the door just shut. But one door shuts and five have opened. That music and that band put me on the map, which I'm very proud of. There's nothing I regret of being in that band — or out. Everything I've done I've been very happy and I've no regrets, but it's unfortunate that it happened, and I really wished for the fans and the band that we could have went out in the golden years still together. Because we made an amazing choice in acquiring [guitarist] Gary Holt [of EXODUS], who's fantastic. He's perfect. He should be on the new album. When I was in the band, Kerry wanted to write all the songs: "Gary's not ready. He'll probably come in for the leads." Gary's not ready?! He's been playing in the band for the past three years. How can he not be ready? He knows my style. What was cool, when we were in India, Gary and I go up on stage during soundcheck and we're improvising maniacs — which is how I like to write music, on an improvisational level. We went on stage and we just looked at each other and went, "Dude, we just wrote a whole fucking album." And it was awesome. I can't do that with Kerry. Kerry doesn't know how to improvise. That's why we didn't [take part in the "jam" at the end of] the "Big Four" [concert], because Kerry is all, "I don't do any songs unless I rehearse for the band."
The Thin Air: Touching briefly on [late SLAYER guitarist] Jeff Hanneman, who passed last year. Looking back over your friendship and musical relationship, how would you pay tribute to him?
Lombardo: I had a great relationship with Jeff. I think I had a better relationship with Jeff in his later years when I came back into the band, because we would spend the most time in the tour bus. Kerry and Tom would go inside, or Tom would have his own tour bus. So it would be Jeff at the front of the lounge and I'd be in the back of the lounge, just chilling. I'd just go up there, get something to drink. "What's up? What are you doing?" "Yo man, want a beer?" Just messing around, you know? He would come down to the back of the bus and say, "Dave, put something on your iPod." He loved my iPod, because it has so many different styles of music. I'd trip him out. "What the fuck is that, Dave? What are you listening to?!" He loved it — he loved it. Paying tribute to him I think is bringing up their name and bringing up their stories. Jeff was an amazing character — a very nice person. Let me tell you a story that should have been said at the memorial. I should have gone up there but I kept quiet because of everything that was going on. We were in Canada, driving across the country in a truck with a gear. We were four guys in a car driving across the country. We got to the venue in Toronto, the night before the show. We had a night off, there was a band playing — it was great. There was beers, I got wasted out of my mind. Jeff went out and looked for me everywhere. "Dude, I was looking for you everywhere!" That means he cared about me. He found me in a bathroom stall, just sleeping — because I was just out. He tore the door down, just ripped it off the stall. He was like, "Dave, I pulled the door off but then I realized, all I had to do is open the door!" He picked me up and took me back. The next day, I asked, "Dude, did I have my pants down?" He said, "No" and I said "Oh, good!" That next morning I woke up with little pancakes in pockets — all my pockets had pancakes in them and I was sleeping in a little bed of pancakes. I was like, "Jeff, did you do that?!" and he was all, "Yeah, man." Man, we used to go out to parties all the time. One time, we ended up in this pub in Canada. I think we were trying to cause a fight between some guys — we were instigators, you know? I think Jeff walked up to one of the guys and was like, "Hey, man — that guy over there, he was checking your girlfriend out," but it was him checking the girl out, you know? Him and I we were troublemakers in a way — in the early years. Then I got a girlfriend and got really serious and I kind of strayed away from the band. Then we picked up where we left off when I got a separated four or years ago and we started having fun again. It was great. I miss him — I really miss him. It's sad, because he didn't want this to happen to SLAYER. He used to ask, "Hey, Dave… what's going on here? What's going on?" There was friction, sure, but I didn't know they were going to take the position of not taking me to Australia [for the 2013 Soundwave festival]. My bags were packed. We were all on the same page at one time but Kerry didn't drink, party or anything — and Tom, Jeff and I did. Now Kerry is different. Now he drinks like crazy.
Read the entire interview at The Thin Air.