'Still Slayin' After All These Fears!'
Slayer was one of the most distinctive, influential, and extreme thrash metal bands of the 1980s. Their graphic lyrics deal with everything from death and dismemberment to war and the horrors of hell. Their full-throttle velocity, wildly chaotic guitar solos, and powerful musical chops paint an effectively chilling sonic background for their obsessive chronicling of the dark side; this correspondence has helped Slayer's music hold up arguably better than the remaining Big Three '80s thrash outfits (Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax).
Naturally, Slayer has stirred up quite a bit of controversy over the years, with rumors flying about Satanism and Nazism that have only added to their mystique. Over the years, Slayer put out some high-quality albums, one undisputed classic (Reign in Blood), and saw the numbers of naysayers and detractors shrinking as their impact on the growing death metal movement was gradually and respectfully acknowledged.
Slayer survived into the 1990s with arguably the most vitality and the least compromise of any pre-Nirvana metal band, and their intensity still inspires similar responses from their devoted fans.
For nearly three decades, bassist/vocalist Tom Araya, guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and drummer Dave Lombardo have proven over and over, whether in the studio or on the concert stage, that there is Slayer and then there's everyone else. And they're about to do it again with the late summer release of their ninth studio album, World Painted Blood (American Recordings/Columbia Records).
The limited-edition single, a Kerry King composition, is titled "Hate Worldwide," and is available exclusively as a CD-single at Hot Topic stores now!
Exclusive Magazine recently caught up with Dave Lombardo backstage at this years Mayhem Fest 2009 here in MI, and asked him all sorts of wonderful questions - including one about penguins!
With slayer being formed in 1981, the story goes; you were recruited into the band after delivering a pizza to Kerry King. What was the pizza and most importantly, how much did he tip? [Lombardo] "I wasnít delivering a pizza to Kerry I was just driving by. I was in my bossesí car and I was working. I was a pizza delivery guy and I had heard that Kerry lived at this house, and he had a bunch of guitars, and he was a really good guitar player. So when I drove by I saw him outside and I approached him, and I said Ďhey, I heard you play guitar,í and its history from there."
Back then, what were your musical influences? "I still listen to Zeppelin now and I listen to Santana also. I listen to Jimi Hendrix at that time KISS, Van Halen; it was a lot of bands during that time, so still to this day. I listen back to those albums that influenced me, you know. Every now and then, but I listen to all styles of music."
So, what do you relax to at home? "I go through some phases. Like recently, when I was at home I was listening to John Lee Hooker, Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson. There is just a lot of blues guys that I really enjoy now. I mean, Stevie Ray Vaughn, of course, plays a lot of good stuff too. So thatís what I was listening to at the time. Other times I'll get into a Latin jazz, or I'll get into traditional music from where I was born. I go through these changes."
"Now Iím listening to some metal. This band called Unsane, which isnít really metal, but they are. It's heavy guitars. Another band called Jucifer which is a girl singer; they make a lot of noise. Itís really good. So, I go through phases."
Having been part of the huge success of Slayer from almost day one, what today, some three decades later, stands your most memorable band moment? "I mean thereís a multitude of them, but I think our earliest tours. I think back and have fond memories of those times. Our very first tour across the U.S., also our very first tour in Europe. It's like in a relationship, itís like those first moments together. This was us, our first moment, being in Europe and not knowing where we were going without a map was challenging. And we look back and it's like 'wow, how did we do that?' And then we did two or three other tours on that level of where we would drive ourselves cross country. And that was fun. Great fun."
Looking back at all the places youíve been, where do you like to go to the most? "I know that when we play in Europe, or sometimes in the Eastern part of Europe, those shows seem to be where the people are really excited to see us. So they really get into it. So those areas. The States - San Francisco is always good; the bay area. The North East is always good. Texas is always good, and everybody else in-between too."
Being the godfather of the double bass what was the longest drum solo youíve ever performed? "Probably 15 minutes. 15 to 20 minutes. Of course, you feel tired, elated is a word. Elation, like, itís done. I donít remember where, but I know that Iíve done them."
Once and for all, was the band ever called, at anytime, no matter for how long, ďDragonslayer?Ē "Never. No, we were never a Dragon slayer. We were just Slayer."
Youíve taken time off from the band twice now, once in í86 for a year then again in í92 for almost 10 years, what, or who, made you do that, and what did you miss most about the band and being on the road? "Well, the first time was a short period of time. It was only for three months. The second time was for 10 years. And I kept my head above water by touring and recording with other bands. So I didnít miss it because I was still active and performing. So none of those departures hindered my continuing in music."
And with that regard, just how easy or how hard is it to create new vibrant, wanted by the public sounds, that both builds, and surpasses your musical wonderment, or accomplishments, that precede within the industry? "We donít do it intentionally. We donít go out there and try to create. We donít go out there and try to surpass what weíve done. We just try to continue doing what we do best. And we always have these guidelines of what to do and what not to do in the Slayer musical realms. So we stay within those boundaries."
"So that kind of helps us to create within our own limitations, if they are called limitations. So we donít venture too much out of that because then it wonít be Slayer anymore. So what we end up doing is just staying in there with these parameters and we just make the best record as we can. We really donít look back and think about that weíve got to make a better record then before. We just donít go in there with that attitude. It's good because otherwise youíre never going to come out with what you really want. Because, if your going in there with that attitude, without going in there and making a good record, or best possible record you can, and not trying to supersede anything prior, I donít think thatís a good philosophy or good mentality going to music."
"Thereís certain things you have to really work on and that is foundation. You work on the drums first and once the foundation's set all the other stuff falls into place really easy. So I think thatís the only preconceived thing that we go in there. As making sure the foundation is set. Of course their job is to also come with the lyrics and the music!"
What would be the perfect evening away from everything? What would Dave call a perfect, wonderful evening? "At home, after a nice dinner, you know, relaxing, watching the sun set, just chilling. Thatís like a perfect evening. Maybe like a barbeque or something on a nice hot evening, you know, outside hanging out by the pool or whatever. Thatís perfect."
If asked to record a record for charity one day, what 80ís (and possibly cheesy) pop song would you guys love to cover and why?! "I donít think Slayer would ever do anything for charity; they are not that kind of band. Personally, I probably would, but as a band, they donít do that kind of stuff."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curveball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins, do you?! "Yeah. Theyíre amazing animals. Yeah, I saw that one movie that the penguins did, not Happy Feet. With the penguins where it shows them, what they do. They migrate, they hang out together. I think its frickin' unbelievable. You never know, I never knew that, and also, on the Jimmy Kimmel show. You ever heard of the Jimmy Kimmel show?
Oh, yeah "One of the stage managers there when we did the Jimmy Kimmel show a couple of years ago he called me 'Happy Feet' because of my double bass. So that was cool."
Interview: Ramon Trevino, Jr.
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