Lombardo on Slayer: "I won’t ever be going back"

Dave Lombardo is in remarkably good spirits. It really isn’t his style to sit around moping after being dismissed from one of metal’s heavyweights; instead he is in fine form as he chats to Hammer about everything from his favourite classical pianists to many eye-watering injuries he has sustained over the years behind his kit.

Really, though, he’s here to talk about PHILM, the band he formed whilst still in occupancy of the Slayer drum stool. Now, with a second album on the horizon and no obvious other commitments standing in his way, it’s tempting to enquire if this is his full time concern?

“Yes, definitely.” is his resounding reply. “I feel very at home here. I mean, I’ll definitely keep doing other things and other projects. For sure. But I consider this to be my priority.”

It’s not a bad place to call home either, PHILM’s new album Fire From The Evening Sun is a great piece of hard rock with a metallic edge. An edge, clearly sharpened, by Lombardo’s typically frenetic drum pounding. But with a more rootsy and organic feel than the stinging, scalpel-precision of much of his previous work. Something that Dave himself is more than aware of.

“Rootsy, that’s exactly what I’d call it too.” He says when quizzed on the album’s sound. “It’s a different sort of style to what I’ve done before. There’s the full blast, one hundred miles an hour stuff I’d do with Slayer and then there is the more laid back, waiting for something to happen, energy in short blasts that I’ve done when I’ve worked with, say, Fantomas. This is right in the middle of that I’d say.”

And Lombardo seems genuinely happy with, not only the outcome of the record, but the recording process also.

“It’s nice to be in a band and feel like you’re in a band again, you know?” he says. “We hang out together as friends and it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun. I mean, that’s why you start playing music isn’t it. I’m not complaining, I’ve been very lucky, but it feels nice to have a close personal relationship with guys I’m playing with again.”

Something Lombardo clearly feels is important…

“You develop a rapport and that feeds into the music. I’ve no doubt about it. Going to a record store and picking out some music to listen to together before having a few drinks can only help the process once you get into the recording studio to jam things out, you’re on the same level and wavelength,” says Lombardo, before opening up about the end of his time in Slayer.

“I didn’t have that towards the end. We just saw each other before going onstage every night, you travel in different buses and hang out in different circles. It made it very hard to go onstage and have any sort of chemistry.”

But will we ever see Lombardo reunited with Slayer?

“No. That’s it. I’m done now.” Is the finality of his response. “I’ve got lots of other things on my plate and I now know that, when it comes to money, you don’t have any friends in this business. I won’t ever be going back.”

Despite that, the future is looking good for one of metal’s most respected stickmen.

PHILM are playing Camden Underworld Sunday 7th September. Get your tickets here.

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.