|Born on: 16.02.1965
Dave Lombardo (born February 16, 1965 in Havana, Cuba) is a heavy metal drummer best known for his work with American thrash metal band Slayer. He has performed with Slayer on six albums, including their 2006 release Christ Illusion, for which he received critical praise. Lombardo's music career has spanned more than 25 years, during which he has been involved in the production of 29 commercial recordings spanning a number of major genres with bands such as Grip Inc., Fantômas and Testament in addition to Slayer.
Lombardo's musical interest was sparked by playing along to a Santana record with bongo drums and was later influenced by the musical styles of Led Zeppelin and KISS. Lombardo is known as an aggressive and influential heavy metal drummer; his use of the drums have been called "astonishingly innovative" and earned him the title "the godfather of double bass" from Drummer World. Over his career, he has had a significant influence on the metal scene, and has inspired many modern metal drummers.
Lombardo was born in Havana, Cuba on February 16, 1965. When he was only two years old, his family moved to South Gate, California. During the third grade at the age of eight, Lombardo brought in a set of bongos with a Santana record for show and tell at school and played along with the rhythm. This inspired his musical interest in drums and he joined the school band where he played the marching drum, although eventually he viewed the marching drum as "not for him." Lombardo's father saw his persistent interest in music at age ten and bought him a five-piece Maxwin drum set for $350. As Lombardo now had a drumkit, he purchased his first record, Alive! by KISS to play along to. He taught himself the song "100,000 Years" by listening to the record repeatedly. Able to perform the drum solo on the song, word of Lombardo's ability spread.
With his new-found hobby, Lombardo asked his parents for drum lessons. His parents accepted, however, the lessons lasted only one week as Lombardo got bored of the repetitiveness of constantly learning how to hit the drum left and right. After leaving music lessons, Lombardo's friends exposed him to the disco genre, where he partied and became a temporary DJ for a mobile disc jockey under the name of A Touch of Class. Due to his arriving home at 4:00 am some nights, his parents threatened to put him in a military school. Lombardo later said that disco music showed him "the effects of rhythm on the body."
In 1978, Lombardo returned to playing rock music and would talk with several musicians around South Gate. They would travel to Lombardo's house to play renditions of songs by Jimi Hendrix, such as "Purple Haze," "Foxy Lady", and "Fire." Graduating from private school in eighth grade, Lombardo moved to Pius X High School, which had more musicians than his previous school. He signed up to the school talent show and performed "Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry with a guitarist named Peter Fashing. "I'll never forget the roar of the crowd during the drum solo. We brought the house down," states Lombardo, who became known as "David the drummer" the following day.
With his newfound popularity, Lombardo formed a band in 1979 called Escape, with two guitarists. The group performed AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath songs in Lombardo's garage. After leaving Pius X school due to poor grades, Lombardo enrolled in South Gate High School where he found a vocalist to join the band. The band performed at parties under the name Sabotage, but were unsuccessful in making an impact. Lombardo's parents noticed his withdrawal from everything except music, and convinced him to quit and find a job. On leaving Sabotage, Lombardo received threats from the guitarist's girlfriend. Lombardo said "the so-called manager went as far as to write a poem about me leaving the band in the school news paper saying, 'we'll see who makes it to the top, let's place a bet.' I should've made that bet."
Lombardo followed his parents' advice and applied as a pizza delivery boy in 1981. With money earned from the job and money loaned from his father, he purchased a TAMA Swingstar drum set and Paiste Rude cymbal package for $1,100. While making a delivery, Lombardo was told about a nearby guitarist named Kerry King. He introduced himself to King, and asked if he would like to jam with him. King agreed and offered to show Lombardo his guitar collection later that night. As King was looking for a drummer for his band, Slayer, he extended an invitation to perform drumming duties which Lombardo accepted.
With Slayer's line-up now complete, the band toured extensively in the early 1980s to promote their debut album Show No Mercy, while Lombardo continued to work at K-Mart. During this period of touring, Lombardo formed a strong bond with drummer Gene Hoglan, who was the band's roadie. Lombardo asked Hoglan to become his drum tutor; however, Hoglan was fired as a roadie because he had no idea what to do. Lombardo felt Hoglan was a great influence to his drumming. During Slayer's 1986 "Reign in Pain" tour to promote the album Reign in Blood, Lombardo left the band and stated "I wasn't making any money. I figured if we were gonna be doing this professionally, on a major label, I wanted my rent and utilities paid." The band enlisted Tony Scaglione of Whiplash as his replacement; however, Lombardo's wife, Teresa, whom he wed on July 19, 1986, convinced him to return in 1987.
Lombardo recorded drums on the Slayer albums South of Heaven (1988) and Seasons in the Abyss (1990), although in 1992, Lombardo left Slayer again due to conflicts with band members and his refusal to tour. He desired to witness the birth of his first child and gave the band members nine months notice of his wife's pregnancy and said he would be unable to tour in September. He received a phone call from Kerry King; "Dave, big shows comin' up in September..." and refused the offer, although the band members said it would be detrimental to their career if they did not. In a 1998 interview Lombardo stated; "I still hear shit. Even to this day I hear echoes of stuff Kerry says and Kerry was the only one I ever had a problem with...."
Following the birth of his first child in 1993, Lombardo formed Grip Inc. with Voodoocult guitarist Waldemar Sorychta. The pair recruited bassist Jason Viebrooks and vocalist Gus Chambers to complete the line-up, releasing their debut record in 1995. Entitled Power of Inner Strength, the album was distributed via California-based label Metal Blade Records. Prior to the album's release Lombardo described leaving Slayer as a career low, because he did not know what type of music to play. Allmusic reviewer Vincent Jeffries singled out Lombardo for praise on the album, remarking that Slayer fans "will enjoy the drummer's double bass work and overall aggression throughout the disc." Sorychta asserts critics and music fans always spot mistakes in their music, because of Lombardo's popularity with Slayer—they expect the band to sound like Slayer and complain. However, when Lombardo uses the double bass drum, Sorychta asserted people complain "now Grip Inc. sound exactly like Slayer."
The band released Nemesis in 1997; Jeffries praised Lombardo's "crushing drum work" which takes center stage on the album. Bassist Viebrooks left the band and was replaced by Stuart Caruthers in 1999. With a new bassist, the band released Solidify that same year, which was described as a step towards "progressive and exotic rhythms, structures, and instrumentations, while never compromising intensity" by Jeffries. Lombardo was once again praised for his drumming on the album by Jeffries, who stated his style is "expressive and technically excellent tom work on cuts like 'Bug Juice' and 'Lockdown.'" Lombardo is proud of Grip Inc. and believes it made him more creative as a musician.
In 1998, Lombardo joined a side project called Fantômas with Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton and Melvins' guitarist Buzz Osborne. The band formed when Lombardo attended a Faith No More concert and was approached by Patton concerning his "fusion" project (Grip Inc.). Several months later following the break-up of Faith No More, Lombardo received a phone call from Patton who asked if Lombardo would like to join his own fusion project. Lombardo accepted and replied "Fuck yeah!"
Lombardo asserted it was the hardest music he has played, saying "Slayer doesn't even come close. Slayer was hard in a physical way, but this is physically demanding as well and requires 'feeling'. (The kind of connectedness that demands) no clicking of sticks." The drummer described the sound of Fantômas by stating "if Picasso was a musician, this would be his music." Lombardo recorded five albums with the band.
In 1999, on his constant quest to expand his horizon as a drummer, Lombardo collaborated with Italian classical musician Lorenzo Arruga to record Vivaldi - The Meeting. The seven-track album had drum improvisations on Vivaldi's work including two pieces from The Four Seasons composition. In 2000, Lombardo released a book titled Dave Lombardo:Power Grooves. The book and video contained warm ups, eight, sixteen, and double bass grooves, riding the toms and more.
1999 also saw Lombardo perform drumwork on the Testament album The Gathering, rounding off a veritable "supergroup" with Steve DiGiorgio and James Murphy.
In 2005 Lombardo recorded Drums of Death with DJ Spooky. Spooky played some records, with Lombardo playing along and interpreting his own rhythms. Spooky recorded the session and took the tapes to his New York recording studio, downloaded it onto his computer, and mixed the beats and drums incorporating scratching and other DJ techniques. Scott Peace-Miller of Glide Magazine noted, "Lombardo's influence is front and center in the driving, up tempo "Quantum Cyborg Drum Machine," and the almost straight-up thrash of Kultur Krieg."
Lombardo recorded five tracks with the Finnish cello metal group Apocalyptica on their 2004 album Reflections. Members of Apocalyptica had approached Lombardo at a drum clinic in Holland titled "Headbangers fest," and asked if Lombardo would like to do a duo with the band, which he agreed to. Apocalyptica enjoyed playing a duo and asked Lombardo if would like to record a song for their next album. He agreed, and the band sent him the recording tapes to his home recording studio in California where he recorded the drums. Lombardo's later Apocalyptica contributions have consisted of playing the drums for the track "Last Hope" on the 2008 album Worlds Collide and for the track "2010" on the 2010 album 7th Symphony.
In October, 2009, it was announced that he had recorded a cover of Stand By Me featuring Lemmy on vocals and bass, and produced by DJ and producer Baron. The song was made for legendary pro skateboarder Geoff Rowley.
Return to Slayer
Ten years after departing from Slayer, Lombardo received a phone call from Slayer, who asked if he would like to perform a few shows. Slayer guitarist Hanneman wanted him to return, while Lombardo believed King had his reservations following his negative review of Lombardo playing with Testament. Initially, King did not think of Lombardo as a candidate and believed Lombardo would not be able to perform to a satisfactory level. However, King was "blown away" by Lombardo in rehearsals, stating "he's got the feet and he's got the hands, he's not missing a step." Slayer needed a drummer to replace Paul Bostaph, who left the band because of a chronic elbow injury.
Lombardo accepted to resume drumming duties and his first show was at The 7 Flags Event Center near Des Moines, Iowa on February 2nd, 2002. At the beginning of the concert, vocalist Tom Araya welcomed the return of Dave Lombardo, as well as dedicating the show to Exodus vocalist Paul Baloff, who had died earlier that day. He toured with Slayer as part of Ozzfest, H82k2, Summer Tour, and the 2004 Download Festival. While preparing for the Download Festival in England, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was hospitalized for a mysterious illness. Metallica's vocalist James Hetfield searched for volunteers to replace Ulrich; Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison and Lombardo volunteered. Lombardo performed the songs "Battery" and "The Four Horsemen", whilst Jordison performed the rest of the songs.
Lombardo recorded his final album to date with Grip Inc. in 2004, Incorporated. He asserts the band is on the 'back burner,' because of time taken up touring with Slayer.
Lombardo recorded drums on Slayer's 2006 release Christ Illusion, promoting the album on The Unholy Alliance tour. King asserts Lombardo is a major attraction for the fans, and one of the reasons for their surge in popularity. King said he prefers Lombardo helming the drumkit, as do the other band members. Slayer bassist Tom Araya said, "It's kind of right back where we started. He's an amazing performer. We took off right where we left off, you know? It's like he was never gone. He's working with Kerry on his tunes. He's helped out a lot actually!"
Christ Illusion received generally favorable reviews and Lombardo's return was praised by critics. Chris Steffen of Rolling Stone asserted "Christ Illusion is God Hates Us All without the memorable riffs, at least their awesome drummer Dave Lombardo shows off some chops, particularly on the raging 'Supremist.'" Don Kaye of Blabbermouth gave the album a favorable review and praised Lombardo. Kaye wrote, "One thing's for sure: Lombardo's influence on this band is absolutely undeniable. With no disrespect to Paul Bostaph, a fine drummer (and Jon Dette, who also did some work with the group in the mid-Nineties), Lombardo is simply essential to the Slayer sound. He is one of metal's all-around best drummers, perhaps the very best in the field of thrash/speed metal, and his power, style, and chops — not to mention his intangible chemistry with the rest of the group and those amazing flying feet — bring Slayer's overall performance, intensity and music to a higher level."
Lombardo has now also recorded Slayer's 2009 album World Painted Blood.
Style and influence
Lombardo is known for his fast, aggressive style of play utilizing the double bass technique which has earned him the title "the godfather of double bass" by Drummerworld. Lombardo states his reasons for using two bass drums: "when you hit the bass drum the head is still resonating. When you hit it in the same place right after that you kinda get a 'slapback' from the bass drum head hitting the other pedal. You're not letting them breathe." When playing the double bass, Lombardo uses the 'heel-up' technique and places his pedals at an angle. As well as considering him an influence, Arch Enemy drummer Daniel Erlandsson feels Lombardo is "really tasteful in his playing, and doesn't over play. He's gifted with a groove that not many speed metal, or metal drummers generally, have."
In response to an interview question, "How talented is Dave Lombardo?" King responded, "Have you ever seen the movie The Natural? That's Dave. He doesn't have to try to be good. He comes into the venue 10 or 15 minutes before we hit the stage and he doesn't warm up. He just goes and does it, after me and Jeff Hanneman, have been warming up for like an hour."
Lombardo's work has been an influence on many rock and heavy metal drummers. Per Möller Jensen of The Haunted cites Lombardo as a major influence, having grown up listening to Slayer; the band was a big influence on his style and The Haunted's. Suffocation drummer Mike Smith also cites Lombardo as an influence. Rocky Gray, former member of the alternative metal band Evanescence was influenced by Lombardo's choice of equipment; "All those old school guys are all TAMA guys. Where I'm from, if you're in the big time, you get a TAMA drum set. You have to be good if you've got a TAMA set."
Richard Christy, former member of Death was "blown away" by Dave's performance and double bass on the album Reign in Blood, as was Cannibal Corpse drummer Paul Mazurkiewicz. Raymond Herrera of the band Fear Factory cites Lombardo as one of his major influences, as do Pete Sandoval of Morbid Angel, ex-Cradle of Filth drummer Adrian Erlandsson, Joey Jordison of Slipknot, the late James Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold, and Krisiun drummer Max Kolesne. Patrick Grün of Caliban and Demonic GG Allin was inspired to play drums by Lombardo, while Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall was particularly inspired by Lombardo's double bass, utilizing double bass when starting his own music career.
* Ddrum USA Custom
* TAMA Iron Cobra Bass Pedals (x2)
* 24x16 Bass Drum (x2)
* 6x14 Hand Hammered Snare Drum
* 10x10 tom
* 12x11 tom
* 13x12 tom
* 14x13 tom
* 18x16 floor tom
* 20x16 floor tom
* Evans Heads
* Pro-Mark Sticks (signature)
* Paiste Cymbals
* 13" Signature Mega Cup Chime
* 18" RUDE Novo China
* 15" 2002 Sound Edge Hi-Hat
* 17" RUDE Wild Crash
* 18" RUDE Wild Crash
* 20" RUDE Thin Crash
* 22" 2002 Power Ride
* 20" RUDE Novo China
* 16" 2002 China