Arutz Sheva conducted an interview with SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo prior to his May 1 drum clinic at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv, Israel. A couple of excerpts fom the chat follow below.
Arutz Sheva: You were born in Havana and grew up in a Cuban family. Did you grown up in a traditional religious Cuban family?
Lombardo: Yes, very traditional. My dad never even learned English. He just went to work, found a job, worked for a family, bought a house, and then retired. He lived the American dream without speaking a word of English. It still amazes me. My mom can speak some English, but not too much. So the home was fully Cuban. I heard Spanish all the time. When I stepped outside the house, I was in America and when I came home, it was Cuban music, Cuban food, and television in Spanish.
Arutz Sheva: Your family left Cuba when you were 2 years old. Why did they move to California rather then Florida or Union City, New Jersey where there were established Cuban-American communities?
Lombardo: Let me tell you the story. In the late 1950s, in Cuba, they started to teach Communism in schools. So my mom and dad sent my older brothers and my sisters to America. This program was called Pedro Pan [Operation Peter Pan]. So my siblings were among the Pedro Pan children. They were sent to California. That’s why we ended up there later. When my siblings left, my parents said to them, “We’ll see you in five months.” But Russia was sending missiles to the island and the Cuban Missile Crisis happened. The wall went up, and they stopped all flights going out of Cuba. So my mom and dad didn’t get to see my brothers for five years. They were 10 and 13 years old at the time. That’s how we ended up in California, because they were with a foster family there. My father was forced to shut down his business because of communism. My siblings were away, the family was almost destroyed. My mom and dad had terrible fights and arguments about everything. They were going to get a divorce. And then my mother became pregnant with me.
Arutz Sheva: How did you discover your musical talent?
Lombardo: There was a lot of music played in my house and in the Cuban clubs. There were always bands playing. I would always stand backstage and watch them. My mom would always say, “Davey, go outside, go dance with the girls, go play with the kids!” I would say, “No, mom, I wanna watch the band!” Cuban music is a very passionate music. You play very fast with a lot of emotions. Even certain parts of famous SLAYERsongs come from Cuban music. I didn’t take lessons. I taught myself by listening to music, watching the drummers and studying different musicians, not by notes and paper. I think listening is so important.
Arutz Sheva: So how did you end up in the world of heavy metal music?
Lombardo: The power and the aggression attracted me. I would hear a song on the radio, and if it was powerful, I would go and buy it. For example, when I heard LED ZEPPELIN‘s “The Wanton Song”, I had to buy it. I remember being excited when “Killers” from IRON MAIDEN came out. They looked scary and I was fascinated by that. Now that I’m older, I listen to more mellow music. I like a lot of Latin jazz, Chucho Valdés,Arturo Sandoval, Paquito D’Rivera, Michel Camilo, and a lot of the classic Cuban music, and I draw from that. I would love to do a project with Latin artists. And an interesting project could happen with Yossi[Sassi of the Israeli band ORPHANED LAND].
Read the entire interview from Arutz Sheva. You can also listen to the chat using the audio played below.