DAVE LOMBARDO Says Returning To Cuba For First Time In More Than Five Decades Was 'Magical'

June 26, 2018

Ex-SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo, who was born in Havana, Cuba but emigrated to Southern California with his parents when he was a toddler, finally got a chance to perform in his former homeland earlier this year when SUICIDAL TENDENCIES played two shows in Cuba. The May 7 concert at Centro Cultural Club Bariay in Holguin and the May 11 gig at Salon Rosado De La Tropical in Havana marked the first time Dave has ever performed in the Caribbean nation.

Asked by Graspop Metal Meeting what it was like for him to return to Cuba for the first time in more than five decades, Dave said (see video below): "Magical. I went [there first] in January, and I took my mom. She's 85 years old. She was all stiff when we first got there, but after a week in Cuba and walking, she was, like, 'Oh, okay. Let's go. I can walk myself. Let's go here, let's go there.'"

He added: "I left when I was 15 or 16 months old — that's when I left Cuba. And we went to California. So I haven't been there since. And I returned, and I was able to see the house that I was born in and meet the people that live there now, that have been living there for 50 years. And I saw my dad's butcher shops and an apartment that my mom and dad were thinking about buying right on the water. It was beautiful — just two blocks from the Malecón, which is a famous walk that you can take in Havana."

President Barack Obama rolled back regulations four years ago, making it legal (and easier) for Americans to visit Cuba without a tour group.

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."

He continued: "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."

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