Confessions: Dave Lombardo

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What was your most extreme fan experience while you were in Slayer?

“There were a few. Just getting off the tour bus and having people drop to their knees in front of you – that’s pretty hard to deal with. Having a guy kissing your feet, screaming, ‘You’re the double bass god!’ is just like, ‘Come on, dude, really?’ Just stand up and shake my hand, you know?”

How did you feel about the fan who carved Slayer into his forearm?

“I wasn’t in the band then so I can’t actually remember the first time I became acquainted with that. But what did I think? I just thought it was a lame publicity stunt.”

What’s it like to have your music/lyrics blamed for inciting violence?

“Well, it’s not anything to be proud about. You know, there’ll always be kids who are attracted to the violent imagery and take it too far. There will also always be people who don’t understand it and try to blame us, but I don’t really ever hear it these days. I think people are used to extreme bands nowadays.”

Having worked with them both, who is crazier: Mike Patton or John Zorn?

“Just out of those two guys? Or can I pick someone else…?”

Is there anyone else?!

“Oh no! Those two guys take the cake when it comes to, not just musical ability and visionary behaviour, but… hmm… wacky tendencies! They’re both at the top of their game in that respect. John Zorn is a great friend and a supremely talented human. I learnt a lot working with him.”

What’s the weirdest rumour that you’ve heard about yourself?

“A guy came up to me years ago and was really excited to see me. He said, ‘Dude! I heard you were dead!’ I said, ‘No, I’m far from dead.’ Ha ha! I never found out what was meant to have killed me. So that was odd.”

What have you learned from it all?

“Well, there’s no such thing as friends when it comes to money. I’d say that’s definitely the number one thing I’ve learnt.”

So you know how to keep time… What’s your dancing like?

“I try not to do too much of that stuff. I need a few drinks inside me and then I might get up. But that’s about the extent of it.”

And what is the kind of song that might tempt you to bust some moves?

“Oh, I don’t know… maybe some 70’s stuff like KC And The Sunshine Band or Abba. That would do it I guess, ha ha ha!”

Who gets more chicks: drummers or guitarists?

“I have to be honest, I’ve not really been keeping a tally! I guess, as a drummer, I should say drummers, but the real answer is singers. That’s the sad reality of it.”

What’s the worst onstage injury you’ve sustained?

“Oh, there have definitely been more than a few. I remember once I was running over the kit and hitting a crash cymbal… it was the end of the song where you choke it and then you grab it to make it silent, and I missed it and the cymbal cut my fingernail in half. My fingernail was actually hanging off and bleeding. That made my eyes water a little. There was another time when I moved my head a certain way during a drum roll and I hit myself right in the eye with the clip of the drumstick. That hurt. I mean it went right in and it hurt… a lot.”

Your nickname is A.D. Dave. Where did that come from?

“Well, Jeff Hanneman christened me that. I have a pretty extensive catalogue of music that I carry around with me – all different kinds of genres and styles. And I used to sit on the back of the tour bus when I was in Slayer and try and play the guys everything from classical music to Cuban jazz to folk, and it would never get to the end of the song. I would just keep skipping to the next one. It drove Jeff crazy and he’d be like, ‘Stop skipping, man! Listen to the whole damn track!’ so it came about from that. I don’t have Attention Deficit Disorder, though – I’m a pretty mellow guy.”

So do you have any irrational phobias you care to admit to?

“Umm, I don’t think so. I don’t have phobias full stop, rational or irrational. Basically, I don’t scare easy.”

What do you want written on your tombstone?

“Oh, fuck! I can honestly say I have never thought about that. Hmm… you know what? I’m going to let someone else worry about that. It’s not my problem! Ha ha ha!”