Dave Lombardo is regarded as one of the finest and most innovative metal drummers ever to hit the skins. Formerly the drummer for thrash titans Slayer, and now lending his services to Philm, Lombardo will return to Australia this October. The musician took some time recently to chat with Killyourstereo.com.
What have you been up to for the past week?
Tying up loose ends. I’m leaving for Europe on Sunday, so I’ve had to rehearse with the band (Philm) who are writing some new material. Also, [just taking care of] some paper work and business before I take off.
When it comes to rehearsing with bands, has the process changed after 30 years of being a professional musician?
The schedule is random. We will hit each other up via text message and just say, “Hey, are we gonna practise? Let’s get together!” For the most part though we don’t rehearse much before we play shows. We kind of save it for the stage. It burns us out having to rehearse. We know the parts, and we know the songs. We are pretty much at a point where we can go onstage without rehearsal. But recently we have been rehearsing for the songs that we have been writing for the next record.
With Philm, are you trying to release records as often as possible?
We are writing the albums as we feel them coming to us. The music is easily attainable from the members of the band, and we are very productive when we are together. It’s there. I think it would be dumb for us to not take advantage of this creative flow that we have been able to acquire performing together. We have been able to get together this really good work ethic.
How has the band been with touring?
It’s been great. We are definitely a solid band. We have all been contributing equally. First of all, we are friends before anything else. We hang out together, and when we are on tour we have breakfast, lunch and dinner together, and that’s really odd for musicians. But for some reason this band really gets along well. When you see us perform live, I think you are able to see that, or at least that is what people have told us. People say to us, “Wow, you guys really get along”, which is pretty cool. They notice it, and we notice it as well, both live and when writing. Things are very fluent. Things come very easily to us, so we can’t hold back. We always try and outdo ourselves and are as creative as possible.
Why don’t other bands have meals together on the road?
Well, there are always members of bands who don’t participate. I used to be like that – I just didn’t care to be around anybody. I was in my own world. But, for some reason, we are all at a point in our lives where we just go out and have a great time, and make the best of it.
How much do you practise in between tours?
Not heaps. I only like to practise when the band is available to play. That is when I practise and get creative. I listen to guitar riffs and then I elaborate and create some drum rhythms over those parts. Really, rehearsal wise, we try to not go there, because it burns you out. Save all that energy to play live. Unless it’s writing and becoming creative, or if there is a song or a transition that is giving us trouble. We get together to write and get as creative as we can get, and we write music. It’s a great process, and when the musicians get along, it’s even better.
At what point in your career did you realise that you didn’t have to practise all the time?
That moment happened a long time ago. Probably some point in the 90’s. Slayer was rehearsing a lot before we went out on tour, but that rehearsal was necessary because you needed a lot of stamina. You could take some time off, but then you would have to practise again. With Philm, it’s much easier, because it is more mental than physical. Slayer was more physical, a lot of repetition. But with Philm I have to think about the parts a lot more, and it’s an entire different animal. That’s why some bands after that period in the 90’s, I started going about my preparations for tour that way.
Do you find the music you are doing with Philm more fulfilling as a musician?
As time goes on, yeah, the more exciting it is. There is nothing better though than playing a good thrash beat. It’s amazing and exhilarating. It’s like I’m driving a fast car and the energy is very high.
Catch Dave Lombardo appearing in Australia this October.