Ex-SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo, who was born in Havana, Cuba but emigrated to Southern California with his parents when he was a toddler, says that he is "longing" to visit his former homeland and laments the fact that he wasn't able to return to Cuba while his father was still alive.
Asked by Canadian rock journalist Mitch Lafon of the "One On One With Mitch Lafon" podcast (Facebook page) if he gets a chance to go back to Cuba often now that he is almost 50 years old, Lombardo said: "Unfortunately, I haven't been back to Cuba. I would love to go back one day. I think it would be awesome. I [would] probably see some distant cousins and whatnot, and would love to play and just absorb the culture, something I've been longing for. But I haven't been able to go."
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, in 2009 reversed restrictions that barred U.S. citizens from visiting their Cuban relatives more than once every three years and lifted limits on the amount of money and goods Cuban Americans can send back to their families. Last month, however, Obama extended the trade embargo against Cuba for another year, prohibiting American companies from conducting business with the Latin American country, though some exceptions have been allowed.
"I'm not really much into politics," Lombardo told Lafon. "It saddens me that there's a country there 90 miles off the coast of Key West [Florida] [and] I haven't been able to travel to [it]. Even when my dad was alive, it would have cool to take him back over there and for him to tell me everything, [about] where the family started. But it is what it is. I'm not one of these activists who want to voice their opinions in regards to politics. I don't wanna create any kind of controversy."
In a 2012 interview with Noisecreep, Lombardo spoke about how his Cuban roots affected his musical upbringing. "Living in a Cuban household, my parents would go to these Latino social clubs when I was a kid," he said. "I remember being there and seeing the men playing dominoes, drinking coffee and talking about the old country. It was a really family-oriented kind of thing. But what I remember the most were these dances they would have at the clubs.
"My mom would try and get me to go out and dance to the big live bands that would perform these parties at the social club. But I would be backstage, sitting on a piano stool and staring at the musicians in the band. That's where my fascination with being a musician started. My mom would get so mad and say, 'Come on, Dave! There are some pretty girls out there that want to dance.' But I was more interested in watching the band performing."