DAVE LOMBARDO Discusses Playing Live, His Songwriting Contributions To SLAYER

October 17, 2006

Mike Baronas of GASPetc.com recently conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

GASPetc: I interviewed Paul [Bostaph] back when G.A.S.P. was a print magazine (issue #6) and asked if the band had him compromise his style to sound like yours.

Lombardo: For a band as original as SLAYER was, the drumming was an integral part of the music. He did fine. He did good, although some of the stuff he did I wouldn't do. Some of the stuff I would do, he didn't do, but it was a good effort. Now, I enjoy some of the songs he recorded when we play live. It's great. I feel like they're my own in the sense that I play them my way. It's similar, but there are certain places I wouldn't put rolls where he did.

GASPetc: Aside from being an original member, what does Dave Lombardo bring to SLAYER that nobody else can?

Lombardo: Okay, in the music there's this chaos, but it's controlled chaos. I've said this before, but I think there's a punk element to my playing and it makes it a little bit raw. When we play live, I don't stick to the same rolls. I will elaborate those rolls which makes it more exciting and keeps the guitar players on their toes. For example, at the end of "Raining Blood" where it goes, "Da-dunt, da-dunt, da-dut, da-dunt," I'll extend that two more measures. So when they come in, instead of doing the beat, I'm still doing the drum part. That's something new I came up with this tour, which was really cool. Some places I'll start a drum roll two bars earlier and the guys don't know if I'm gonna come out right. I don't do it for that reason, but it seems that's what happens, and I think that brings more attention to what you're doing. It makes the other musicians more attentive, and it's all kind of raw and exciting. If you're sounding exactly like the record, I think that can become a little bit boring.

GASPetc: What sort of say do you have in SLAYER's songwriting process these days?

Lombardo: You know what?! I wish I had a little more say, but I don't. But the say that I do have is in the structuring. Not the riffs, but how one part leads to another. Sometimes I wish I could go in there and say, "Okay, this is wrong," but I can't. It's not my place. But the control I do have is, let's say, picking the drum roll or finding the right beat to where Jeff [Hanneman, guitar] would bring me a demo with a beat that's standard double-bass and snare. I'll give it more groove, more funk, and bring the soul out in the music. It's very distinctive music so I need to find the groove in it.

I was listening to a live recording of "South Of Heaven" we did and I was like, "Man!" There's just so much groove in that song. To my kids I was saying, "Listen to that! Listen to how groovy that is!" And it's heavy. So, that's what I bring.

GASPetc: If you could step outside the band for a moment, is "Reign In Blood" one of, if not the, best metal album?

Lombardo: Yes, because there were no computers involved and it was recorded by a bunch of kids. Literally, a bunch of kids. When I look back it's like, "Dang! I was 20 years old."

GASPetc: And hungry.

Lombardo: Yeah! That never stopped either. You know what was so cool that we did? We did everything in our power to promote ourselves when we were first starting out. Check this out, we would go to high schools, jump the fence, and stick flyers in every single locker at the school. For our light show, we would bring our own lights because we were SLAYER. We brought in our smoke and pyro and for our lights we would go and steal light bulbs from in front of houses — you know those colored lights — and go and make our own light show with those things. We were determined.

Me and Kerry [King, guitar] would go to buildings and say, "Hey, we would like to rent your building for a show and throw a rock concert," so we were our own promoters. We would go to arcades that would have a little room for bands and ask them if we could play. That's how we were. That, sometimes, you don't find in bands today. Automatically, they play a club and they think they're famous. They get big heads and think they're the shit. It takes a lot more than that. You have to pursue it and not wait to be catered. It was always me and Kerry and this friend and we had this big old megaphone, "See SLAYER at this school, at this time," and drive up and down the streets.

Read the entire interview at www.gaspetc.com.

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