Ex-SLAYER Drummer DAVE LOMBARDO Says 'Mutual Respect' is Very Important When Starting New Band

July 13, 2015

Justin Beckner of Ultimate-Guitar.com recently conducted an interview with former SLAYER and current PHILM drummer Dave Lombardo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You've had the opportunity, over the years, to work with so many great producers. What are some important lessons that came out of working with the Rick Rubins of the world?

Lombardo: The inspiration that a person like that gives you is very important, and I try to instill that in the musicians that I work with, trying to bring out the best that you can possibly do at that moment of recording. You want to make sure that performance is the best and most exciting performance that you can give, given the circumstances of what the song is calling for. You know, if it's a soft song, obviously you can't show that sort of personality to a song, but it does need to show some type of emotion, and I believe the producer will bring out the best in you and help you create a better body of work. Also, I've always heard that a good producer will make you a better musician, and that's certainly true. I've worked with several producers, not only Rick Rubin, but Mike Patton [FAITH NO MORE] produced several records that I've worked on, Waldemar Sorychta, who produced the GRIP INC. albums. I've worked with Ross Robinson [KORN, LIMP BIZKIT]. Those are very inspiring people.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: As a producer, what is your strategy for pushing musicians to give their very best?

Lombardo: You don't want to burn the musician out trying to get the perfect take. It's not about perfection. For me, it's a lot about… Let's say if you're trying to inspire your guitar player to create a lead for a song, you want to make sure that what is emanating from the lead is not just the notes that he is playing or the melody he is creating, it's about the emotion and feel behind his performance. Those nuances, like the bending of a string, the dynamic of a snare hit, that all matters to me anyway. I think that's one of the things I try to do. I try to make sure that they are comfortable, they're inspired, and then they can create a brilliant performance on the album.

Ultimate-Guitar.com: You've been involved in several very successful projects over the years. It might be fair to say that you've gotten pretty good at starting up new bands. Are there things that you found work really well when you're starting out with new band members?

Lombardo: Well, first what's important in a situation like [PHILM] is making sure that each of the band members respect each other. Each member has to respect the others. If there isn't any respect, it's hard to have a healthy situation within the band. In our case, we have that mutual respect, not only as musicians, but as friends and as human beings; we're like brothers. When you find the right musicians and you have a good time with them, the magic on stage is like no other experience. You perform much better. You have this kind of connection mentally and musically on stage. We lose ourselves at the same time when we're playing. What I mean by that is you become very entranced and you're very involved in the parts that are being played. Even in moment when it's improvised, we seem like we're one, like we're not playing against each other. The average listener will hear it and think that the song is written. That's special and that's part of the magic that we have and I think that being friends enhances that because you're very well connected. When we stared the tour up in the Northeast and then we moved over to Europe, we did 19 shows in a row and by the end of that tour, we were on point musically. We knew every note, every hit that each of us was going to make and that doesn't happen very easily with many bands. It's something that takes time but this band; we're pretty much tapped into that subconscious understanding of each other's musical direction.

Read the entire interview at Ultimate-Guitar.com.

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