SLAYER Drummer: 'My Mindset Was Very, Very Different For This Record Than Any Of The Others'

September 17, 2010

Amy Kelly of recently conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. I'd like to take a look at the latest album, "World Painted Blood". How would you describe the songwriting process for that record versus, for example, "Reign In Blood" or "South Of Heaven"?

Lombardo: There were a lot of different variables and things that went on. My mindset was very, very different for this record than any of the others. I was going through some big changes. The songwriting for this one, half of it we did in a rehearsal room. Then we had to write five or six songs in the studio. That was a challenge. We had our producer at rehearsal every day that we rehearsed. He was really grasping what the band sounded like in a small room instead of doing big shows. He was able to capture that sound and everything on this record. That was a change, in that he captured what was SLAYER. For the drum set, I removed two of my toms. It gave me a different approach to my kit and the way I did drum rolls. Was that decision made before you went into the studio or did it happen through trial and error?

Lombardo: That was purposely done. This percussionist — or a guy who works for a percussion company — asked me if I changed the configuration of my kit. He said a lot of jazz drummers were doing it. It kind of stuck in the back of my mind. When the guys called and said we were going to rehearse, I told my drum tech to remove two of my toms. It was the greatest thing I ever did. Not so many years back, SLAYER might be considered too dangerous to be an act on a late-night talk show. But only recently you had the opportunity to perform on "Jimmy Fallon". What was that like?

Lombardo: I think it's great. I'm 45 and the other guys are 46 and Tom's [Araya, bass/vocals] 49. Jimmy Fallon requested us to do "Dead Skin Mask"! Those guys — and me also — grew up listening to SLAYER. We all grew up around the same time. We all have different jobs now. It kind of makes sense. It's very cool to be on a late-night talk show and be requested by the host. The industry has become somewhat of a machine these days. What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

Lombardo: To answer that, I have to tell you what I did on the time off that I had when Tom had to go into surgery and those shows were postponed. I was thinking, "What am I going to do? What am I going to occupy myself with during this time off?" So I got myself an old band started again that I had in the late '90s, early 2000s. I got in touch with the guys, we got together, and we started playing around L.A. I was playing in front of 20 people. So many weeks or months later, I was playing in front of a crowd of 81,000. So here's my advice. It doesn't matter what you play or who you play in front of in terms of the amount of people. It's the enjoyment of playing. You don't need to reach a certain status that you expect yourself to be. Just play. There's nothing wrong with that.

Read the entire interview from

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