Slayer: An Interview with Dave Lombardo

So I decided to pull this little gem out of the antique interviews bag in honor of all the sweet metal tours taking place this summer, including Dethklok playing SD this Sunday (Mike Keneally has a rad blog about playing with my favorite cartoon death metal b(r)and from the future on his myspace).

This is also one of my most favorite interviews, which is almost always the case with drummers, who are the most interesting people to interview in the band.  Lombardo is a legend and a cool MFR he even told the labels publicity chick to shut up when she interrupted our phone interview, granting me another few minutes.

Slayer of course, will be spending the summer abroad, touring places that make our little summer festivals look like bitches. They’re doing a co-headlining gig at Hellfest with Motorhead!

Summer is the season for metal \m/\m/

Check out the ridiculous drum solo at the end of the article.



dave lombardo

Slayer’s Dave Lombardo 20 Years of Innovation

Dave Lombardo was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1965, then moved to America several years later and settled in Los Angeles, CA. He was the youngest of four children, and his siblings were part of some of his earliest memories of music: “I remember sitting in front of the TV watching a Tarzan movie, and there was a lot of percussion in the soundtrack, and I remember getting my toy drum and cymbal, one of those Toys ‘R’ Us drum sets that had the spring lugs, you know? And I had put the symbol on top of the drums, kind of improvising-like. I don’t know what I was doing then. Then there is also my brother listening to music when he came home from work. He would listen to Cream and Led Zeppelin and Janis Joplin, and this was probably when I was in kindergarten or first grade. Those are my first recollections of music.”

Dave’s love affair with percussion began in his formative years as a student at a Catholic school in Southgate, CA. In third grade, he had brought in a set of bongos and a Santana record and played along with the record during in front of the whole class for show and tell. His father noticed his sons persistent interest in the drums and, according to Dave, “Around fifth grade I got my first kit. It was a little five-piece Maxwin by Pearl Drums. I think I bought it for about $350 and then sold it for about $300 when I got into ninth grade. Then I bought a bigger kit.”

Dave taught himself how to play “100,000 Years” from the KISS Alive record and impressed his peers by knowing the solo to the song. Dave was always a fan of Led Zeppelin and says, “I was very aware of Led Zeppelin but exposing myself to the record Led Zeppelin II showed me a side of music that I wasn’t too familiar with-The Blues. John Bonham played with so much emotion that I felt I learned that element and took it with me through my career. Later I learned this was crescendos and decrescendos.”

He added, “My brother played drums, there was music in the house, and my parents were socialites. So I was kind of exposed to the social aspects of music. Cuban music has a lot of percussion and a lot of very bizarre rhythms and stuff that most musicians these days would not be able to comprehend, but I understood it at a young age, and I watched bands play those rhythms-the conga players and timbale players. So I kind of thrived on watching these musicians play, and they were sweating and really getting into it. The passion they played with is what intrigued me.”

Passion in life and music is a trait that pours out of Dave. Contrary to what many of the cognoscente might think, his taste in music is broad. As a youngster, Dave not only listened to rock music, he also listened to disco, buying 45 singles and listening to The King Biscuit Flower Hour on the radio. He was even a part of the “A Touch of Class” mobile disc jockey team. Dave is a worldly player, so it’s no coincidence he was intrigued by Ry Cooder’s CD, The Buena Vista Social Club, and Wim Wenders subsequent documentary of the same name, which profiled the club and its music. “It was phenomenal. My whole thing on that is that they got back to those musicians that started that thing and they documented it, and if they hadn’t, those musicians would have died and no one would have known about it.”

As an innovator, Dave did most of his craftwork in Slayer and met Kerry King who lived up the street from him. But his chops weren’t always machine-gun fast. His dream was always to be in a band, and he started in school band like most of his contemporaries. “I was in school band for about half of a school year, and I never made it to any of the shows, but I was still in band and all I played was marching drum. I think I had a couple of lessons, but I got really bored with it because they were showing me all these paradiddles and all this stuff, but I felt like-with listening to music-I got a lot more out of listening and mimicking the musicians than reading bars and notes out of a book.

Because my whole goal was to be in a band and I found that through learning these notes and everything at that time, I was like, ‘no way I could learn a lot more listening to this guy than learning from this book and this guy over here.’ But later on in time I felt like I should’ve gone that direction because I would’ve learned a lot more. I would have been way ahead of the game, and I wouldn’t have been left with having to learn so much later on in life. I should’ve continued my schooling. Then, what can you do? A totally different drummer would have evolved out of that training.”

Some of Dave’s other influences (besides his early affection for the music of his birthplace) are, “John Bonham and then Ginger Baker from Cream, but what I was really drawn to was bands as a whole and what the drummer’s contribution was to the band and what the band’s sound was. Instead of just saying, ‘oh I like this drummer or I like that drummer,’ I was more into the musical entity of the whole band and what the drummer contributed to that that attracted me.”

In 1983, a fledgling label called Metal Blade released an album called Show No Mercy by a Los Angeles-based band that had decided on the ominous moniker, Slayer. Ten years would pass, as Dave would go on to record and tour with one of the heaviest and most influential bands in heavy metal. From their days wearing makeup during the Show No Mercy/Live Undead/Hell Awaits days to their stellar work with producer Rick Rubin (Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, Seasons in the Abyss), Dave has consistently challenged himself and his fans with his remarkable speed and technique.

Dave’s legacy is living on, not only with his work in Mike Patton’s (Faith No More) Fantomas with Buzz Osborne (Melvins) and Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle), but also with his two sons, who are at the heart of everything he does. Fortunately for them, they have better resources to express themselves with. “I got two boys that are in school, and they do have a music program. They go to Discovery School of the Arts. Piano lab, drama courses-it’s great because I never had that when I was growing up.”

Dave is back with Slayer after several years of hiatus playing in his aforementioned projects, and the band is currently playing club dates with Hatebreed and Lamb of God. According to his tour mates and himself, they are “making the opening acts work harder!”

Dave also says as a reminder, “Songwriting is vital! Vital! Everyone is a singular artist but it’s the chemistry of the four that makes it work.”

For more on Dave Lombardo, please visit

For more on Slayer and their latest comprehensive release, Soundtrack to the Apocalypse, please visit

For more information on Fantomas, please visit



For more information on the Buena Vista Social Club, please visit








Entitlement Issues: Coming to terms…ahem

Hijacking Myspace for a coat of red paint!

So as some of you may or may not be aware of I have been the editor of two websites. The first was called and the second was called The demise of the former occurred because of corporate shortsightedness and a general misconception and understanding of web communications. The site, though it was a teen friendly music magazine, was a marketing initiative by a trade organization to help stimulate instrument sales in the youth demographic. Not a bad mission right? Not exactly transparent either but it wasn’t like I was shilling for some Astroturf front group or some PR Firm working a campaign for D.C. lobbyists. Or was I? Dun, dun, dun! [I did almost get to go to dinner with Gov. Mike Huckabee once at a trade show while he was a spokesperson for the company because he played bass.]  

I took what I knew of the DIY ethos and my experience in music journalism in print and applied it to the web format. I have to admit it was nice having a modest budget of about 30K annually. We could afford swag, some of which won a design award in the Marketing Communications world. I tried to get a copy of the award certificate, but this was after the decision was made to cut the program so those budget strings got choked off. We were a ‘Webby Award Honoree’ for content! Themusicedge was made up of about 25-30 young writers, spread throughout the country, covering national acts and keeping us up to date on their local up and comers. It was a good example of crowd sourcing for the web savvy generation.

We commanded consistent 40K unique visitors a month and had a site time averaging 5 minutes per visit. Pretty good for engagement metrics! However, after 4 years of successful organic and grassroots marketing and countless partnerships with folks like Teen People, Warped Tour, and the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus the suits made it known that it was time to move on. No amount of explaining that this whole ‘Internets’ thing wasn’t just some fancy fad or that someday, every company, including those they represented, would be selling directly to consumers online OR proof of web statistics generated from an expensive local and world renown web metrics firm could assuage their determination to remove the only viable URL from the quiver of a half dozen others. Going so far as putting up an ‘Under Construction’ landing page on all the corresponding URL’s, essentially killing thousands of feature articles, record reviews, and show reviews and the sites linking in. This was the reactionary, illogical knee jerk attitude of an ill informed corporate entity.

Taking all the equity from themusicedge we built, a website that had a similar purpose but zero budget, so after a professional title and job change—I became a part time editor with hardly enough time to keep up with his own editing, much less overseeing the two dozen writers who jumped ship with me as well as my new responsibilities at a new job (yes the new job is awesome). Hypezine started out strong and we had some amazing feature stories but time is a Nazi in jack boots with a rubber hose and I realized I had less of it than when I was doing it 9-5 with themusicedge.

The purpose of HZ was to engage readers and to massage them into another venture called, a property that has yet to bear fruit, (though not due to lack of passion on the part of myself and my business partner, who is a successful web developer by day and avid WWC player at night) but essentially would have become an aggregate for bands online marketing properties. We’d promote from within, using the zine to highlight up and coming talent, pairing them next to well known national acts like we had done with our ‘feature’ and ‘spotlight’ sections on themusicedge. However, hiring 10 programmers and getting seed money from an Angel is a full time gig in itself and in the web world, Moore’s law works on ideas too.

Back to the blog.

Blogging got easier, made even simpler. Companies like Microsoft were using it for corporate ‘transparency,’ MS employees were dishing on personal blogs about the ins and outs of one of the worlds most famous companies and (gasp!) it wasn’t always favorable. Then it entered the pop lexicon with ample references in Juno allowing for more amateur writers and journalist to document their lives, as boring or interesting as they can be. The great thing is, someone out there will likely be interested in the same thing you are and instead of never meeting them now you can just type in a key word of interest and hundreds of links pop up.

The art of the blog, if there is such a thing, is that anyone can do it and it can veer off topic at any time, like I’ve been known to do on some posts, this one included. I am able to rant at length about whatever pops in my head but coming from print, I usually try and keep things as relevant as possible. The convergence of web technology fascinates me, and like robotics, it is constantly evolving and getting better, easier for the average person to utilize and market their product or in my case, words.

I’m reviewing records of bands I think everyone should know about, or doing interviews with artists I think you may be interested in. The concept is the same. Push the envelope, but not just across the table, across the globe on the web to engage blokes and birds in Manchester to pick up the latest Made Out of Babies or Oakes record or using semantic search to find more bands from Japan like Envy, Boris and Flower Travelin’ Band. I even go so far as commenting on things that piss me off, like Unilever’s ad campaigns for Axe and Dove—two amazingly genius and manipulative efforts to appeal to males 18-34 and females 18-44.

With all this in mind I have had to contemplate what it is I am selling using this blog. I’ve yet to monetize my posts or get a check from AdSense, I can’t even remember if I enabled AdSense on this wordpress account. I had it when I was using Blogger. I write about things I think are cool in the world and in San Diego. Sometimes other people think those things are cool too and have the kindness to leave a post. Sometimes folks don’t agree with what I have to say, and they leave comments and I really value that aspect of blogging. Anonymity has begun to erode the ‘wild west’ era of the web in its infancy. As Mike Watt would say, ‘If you’re not playin’, yer payin,’ though he means money and music, deriving value from interaction isn’t an entirely new kind of currency nor are those concepts mutually exclusive.

Okay, nice circuitous way of explaining that I’ve recently hijacked the myspace page for acoatofredpaintinhell, as I had hijacked the musicedge myspace account before for hypezine. This time it is different in that I’m the sole proprietor of acoatofredpaintinhell—so with respect to full disclosure, if you sent a message to hypezine letting me know how much we’ve been sold as pets for or you’ve left comments informing hypezine that ‘what she really wants is a big one’ then on behalf of all involved, we’re still deleting you. And you’re welcome to comment any time here.

And you can add me to your ‘friends’ list too.