Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with SLAYER/PHILM drummer Dave Lombardo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On reforming PHILM:
Lombardo: “I really liked Gerry‘s [Nestler, guitar and vocals] style. I found it very unique; it was heavy at times, but it just had a different style. I felt drawn to play drums with him. Tom Araya [vocals] from SLAYER was in the hospital — he was getting some neck and spinal surgery — and I found myself with a bunch of time. I reformed the group at that time but I couldn’t find the original bass player [Juan Antonio Perez], so I ended up finding Pancho [Francisco Tomaselli]. He had approached me at a drum workshop and told me that he had heard I liked the band he was playing in, which was true. It was a band called WAR — the classic WAR band from the ’70s — who he’s been playing with for seven or eight years, or maybe longer. We’ve been playing ever since. We took the bull by the horns, just recording the album ourselves in a house. It was a lot of fun; we had a really good time doing it, and we already have material for the next record.”
On the influence of ’60s drummers on PHILM:
Lombardo: “Drummers in those days were self-taught; they learnt by watching, listening, and mimicking, and not by reading scores of music or learning from a teacher. They did it from the heart, and learning it from the heart is from searching and educating yourself on something that you feel passionate about. It was done differently back then. Today we find drummers that are educated; they go to Berklee (College Of Music, Massachusetts), they go to Musicians Institute (Hollywood, California), and they come out with all these high numbers. But man, if you put them in a room, come on. Come up with something, something that’s new, interesting, and fresh. They wouldn’t be able to though. All they come up with is what they’ve learnt, the one scale that they worked on for four or five hours. Sometimes I have to tell musicians that I play with ‘Dude…,’ because I didn’t grow up like that. I was self-taught, so I really don’t know the language. I’ve noticed the difference of certain musicians. I don’t know where the hell this question started (laughs). Oh yeah… drummers like Mitch Mitchell (THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE) were very fluid, very natural, and very spontaneous and explosive. It had dynamic. Today of course with what I just said and also computers altering the sound of the drummer and the feeling of the drummer, you lose the swing.”
On recording debut PHILM album in North Hollywood, California at the house of a friend:
Lombardo: “She has this three-to-four-bedroom house, and there was a center room in the middle of the house. It’s kind of strange how this room is set up. This room resembled a drum room that I had recorded in in Hagen, Germany at Woodhouse Studios, where I did three records [March 1995’s ‘Power Of Inner Strength’, February 1997’s ‘Nemesis’ and February 1999’s ‘Solidify’] with GRIP INC. in the ’90s. When I walked into that room, she told me that she played guitar and sang in there. That’s where she writes her music. She writes novels and she writes music, and that’s her place. I said, ‘Wow, this resembles this drum room in Germany.’ It had a tile floor, wooden ceiling, and stucco walls. The ambience in that room was really, really cool. It had a nice plate sound, as engineers call it. It was kind of tight. I said, ‘Hey, can we record here?’ and she agreed. She loved the idea, and we pulled it off. It was a lot of fun. We did it on our own time; we started in September, and I think we ended in January. Three to four months it took for us to get this record out, and mix and master it. It was a really nice environment, and she cooked for us every now and then. It was a nice hang.”
On forthcoming two-track SLAYER EP:
Lombardo: “I don’t know too much about it, except that I recorded my parts in April. It came from some work that Kerry [King, guitar] and I were doing that started the end of 2011. He and I got together and started working, and we decided to go into the studio and do an EP. When it’s going to be released? I don’t know. Is it done? I don’t know. I know Tom has sung on the songs already, so they’re pretty much done. Mixed? I don’t know. I don’t know the details. I don’t know where it stands. It’s all a mystery.”
On the tempo of the two tracks:
Lombardo: “What’s fast for SLAYER? Fast as in ‘Necrophobic’ (from ‘Reign In Blood’) fast, or fast as in ‘War Ensemble’ (from ‘Seasons In The Abyss’) fast? The first song is more of a ‘War Ensemble’ kind of fast. Just the pace, the tempo. That’s all I can say, other than its traditional SLAYER sound and structuring. I don’t remember the second song that they chose, though.”
On the health of SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman:
Lombardo: “He’s getting better. He’s just working on getting better, and that’s all I can say. We want him back and want him back onstage, but he needs to get better.”
On whether Jeff Hanneman‘s health is causing a delay in the recording of a new SLAYER studio album:
Lombardo: “I don’t think so. I think things are going just as planned. We just have these shows to do. We went in and we did the EP, similar to how we did ‘Psychopathy Red’ in 2009 right before ‘World Painted Blood’ came out. We released ‘Psychopathy Red’ as a single, so this is similar. Everything is pretty much on track. This has nothing to do with Jeff.”
Read the entire interview from Metal Forces.