DRUMMER DAVE LOMBARDO DISCUSSES AMERICA’S NEW IMPENDING RELATIONSHIP WITH CUBA
BraveWords: What are your thoughts on the recent developments between Cuba and the US, and did it come as a surprise?
Dave Lombardo: It did come as a surprise. I’m very happy that at least some steps have been taken, to somewhat normalize relationships between Cuba and the States. It’s horrible, because I left Cuba when I was two years old, and I haven’t seen much change. So hearing this news and the way it came about, it was definitely exciting for me.
BraveWords: What made your parents decide to relocate to the US at the time?
Dave Lombardo: It was obviously communism. You see, the way things happened, in the sixties, through the Catholic Church, you were able to sign up and send your children to the United States. Now, this is during 1960, when the whole revolution went down. I have two older brothers and one older sister. My parents sent my brothers that were ten and thirteen years old to the United States, and they were supposed to see my brothers in five or six months. And what happened was the Cuban missile crisis hit its peak, and all flights and all communication with the United States stopped. So my brothers were basically stranded in the US, without knowing if they were ever going to see my mom and dad again. Four and a half years went by, and during that period is when my mom got pregnant with me. It took four and a half years until they got their visa to leave the country…or permission to leave the country. So that’s how we ended up in the States. My dad had three meat markets in Havana, and when the government found out that he had applied for a visa to come to the States and for my brothers to go to the States, they immediately took those markets away. So he had to work for the government – he no longer worked for himself. They were anxious, and that put a lot of strain on the family. It was pretty intense from what I hear. Those four and a half years were rough. But then my mom got pregnant, and here I am. It’s an interesting story. And then when we arrived here in the States, of course, we reunited with my two older brothers, and I got to meet their foster parents, who were living in Long Beach, California. That’s how I ended up California. I could have ended up in New York; I could have ended up in Detroit. From what I hear, a lot of these children…’Pedro Pan,’ they call them ‘the Peter Pan flights’ – a lot of children ended up in different states in the US It’s really interesting, because I recently found out that my brothers – within the past two or three years – were part of this historic migration to the United States. They sent the kids over first, and then the parents would follow. But it didn’t turn out like that for my mom and dad. The Cuban missile crisis really screwed things up. No complaints, because we’re all together and all is good now.
BraveWords: Are you now interested in returning to Cuba, to visit?
Dave Lombardo: I’ve been interested to return to Cuba forever. I’ve always wanted to return and see this island I was born on, and the beaches and the culture and everything. But I had a good taste of Cuban culture here in America, because my dad, as soon as he got in this country, he didn’t speak a word of English, and worked and retired. He bought his house and lived the American dream. He’s no longer with us, but he did pretty well, and my mom as well. Every weekend – and even during the week – there was always Cuban music, there was always Cuban food. So the culture, we had many friends that were Cuban, too, and we would all hang out together and do what Cubans do, which is listen to music, play music, dance, eat, drink, and enjoy life.
BraveWords: I wonder if more metal and rock bands will now play in Cuba.
Dave Lombardo: Yeah, I would hope. I would love to play Cuba. There are a lot of bands coming out of there. Actually, there’s a documentary that I’ve been a little bit of help on, and it’s called Hard Rock Havana. That movie documents the life of a metal band in Cuba during the late ’80s and the ’90s, when tension was still high. And they couldn’t perform, they couldn’t play western music. The singer was put in jail – for performing music that was other than Cuban music, which is all the government wanted to see come out of Cuba. So, it should be an interesting documentary – especially at this time, that this is going down.
BraveWords: I read on the internet a while back that someone asked you if you were interested in trying out for Megadeth. Are you interested in possibly trying out?
Dave Lombardo: You know what…I’m very busy at the moment. That question – whoever it was that came up to me at a drum clinic and he asked me very direct, really quick questions, that caught me off guard. I was signing autographs. ‘Hey, I heard Shawn Drover left Megadeth. Would you consider joining or trying out?’ or whatever he asked me. I just said, ‘Dude, (Dave) Mustaine has my number. If he wants to contact me, he can contact me.’ It’s like, geez, this is in passing – it’s not verbatim. I’m just talking off the top of my head, I’m not deciding. Obviously, there has to be some major issues that need to be discussed – schedule, there’s all kinds of things. But I don’t know. Right now, I’m not even thinking about that. Mustaine, his mother in law was found dead. Right now, you need to give him space, give him his time, for him and his wife to heal, with what’s going on. The last thing he’s probably thinking about right now is drummers. We have to give him his time and space, so he can resolve these other issues.
BraveWords: As far as the upcoming Slayer album, how much did you have a hand in co-writing or creating the music?
Dave Lombardo: No comment.
Read the entire interview at Bravewords.