On May 1 — just one day before the tragic passing of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman — the band’s estranged drummer Dave Lombardo was interviewed live at the studios of KZRADIO.NET (web site, Facebook page), which is the most popular alternative radio station in Israel. The chat, which was conducted by KZRADIO.NET co-manager Quami and special guests Lior and Niv Peleg (a.k.a. The Peleg Brothers) of the “Met Al Metal” radio show, can be streamed using the audio player below.
Lombardo, who is currently on the road with his side project PHILM, sat out SLAYER‘s recent Australian tour due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX).
Asked about the circumstances that led to him being absent from the SLAYER trek, Lombardo said: “Basically, I had to renegotiate my contract two and a half years ago and I got an attorney because it was too complicated for me to do it myself. And my attorney was asking questions. And the answers she got from her questions, they weren’t correct; they weren’t the right answers. So we worked on it for two and a half years. And 2013 came around and SLAYER had to go on tour, and I said, ‘Guys, I can’t go on tour unless we resolve this, I’ve been advised.'”
He continued: “What I need is clarity — clarity and transparency.
“You go and make money for somebody, and if somebody is gonna pay you a percentage, you need to know where all this goes. They say I don’t deserve to know, but I think if you’re gonna pay somebody a percentage, they deserve to know. Because how are you gonna know what you got paid when you don’t know everything else?
“It’s a little complicated, and there’s more to it as well. But I’m trying [to work it out with the guys so I can return to the band]. I sent an e-mail out to Kerry [King, SLAYER guitarist] and Tom [Araya, SLAYER bassist/vocalist] before I left on this tour [with PHILM]. I said, ‘Guys, let’s work this out like men. C’mon. Let’s work it out. The history of the band is gonna fall apart. The fans are gonna be disappointed. We need to do this for the history of the band; it’s something we need to keep together.’ And I have heard no reply; they have not contacted me.
“They feel that because I left in 1992 and I left for 10 years, they feel I don’t deserve [to know all the details of their business].
“I mean, I love the guys — they’re like my brothers — and I wish this didn’t happen. But now there’s like this wall between us.”
Regarding some fans’ criticism that money should not get in the way of the members of SLAYER making music together, Lombardo said: “What people don’t understand is that, being a musician, you have to be a part businessman. There’s contracts… If you’re a musician and you don’t have a contract and you don’t follow up on your business, people are gonna take from you and they’re gonna steal from you.
“Chuck Berry, Ray Charles… all those guys in the early days, they made, let’s say, $500. Well, a poor musician will be happy with $100. ‘Wow, I made $100.’ Well, what happened to the other $400? Who took the other $400?
“[Being] musicians, you have to understand business as well as your art and your music, and you have to be professional.”
On the topic of whether he can foresee himself returning to SLAYER in the not-too-distant future, Lombardo said: “It’s hard to say. It’s hard to say. I really wish we could work it out. Again: my door is open. I’m ready to talk; I’m ready to negotiate. If they don’t want to, it’s on them.
“The fans have spoken. I believe the fans have spoken and they feel that the band needs to stay together and not bring in some hired guy that… I mean, Jon [Dette] is a great guy, but has he done any albums? Jon Dette, the drummer for SLAYER now, has he done any albums? Has he ever recorded anything? I don’t think so. How can they get a guy like that to take my place that has not done anything in his career? What kind of musical choice is that for an artist? That’s like me bringing in somebody that’s not into heavy music into my band or something… I don’t know… It’s just very strange.
“I hope things work out. I hope everything works out for the fans; that’s what I want. And for the history of the band. When we get older and we can’t play anymore, I want the band to go out being still SLAYER. ‘Cause we’re all still alive. Can you imagine if one of us was dead? Then it’s hard. It’s like LED ZEPPELIN. You know, LED ZEPPELIN with Jason Bonham is not the same; it’s not the same. I hear double pedal in Jason Bonham and it’s, like, ‘Why are you doing that?’ ZEPPELIN is about single bass, you know.”