DRUMMER DAVE LOMBARDO DISCUSSES HIS FIRST SOLO ALBUM, HIS FAVORITE DRUMMERS AND SLAYER’S “ANGEL OF DEATH”
Greg Prato of ALLMUSIC spoke with drummer Dave Lombardo, about his debut instrumental album, Rites Of Percussion, among other topics, excerpts from interview appear below.
AllMusic: What made you decide to release your first-ever solo album now?
Lombardo: It’s been in the back of my mind for years. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I was inspired by drummers like John Bonham – who created a song called Bonzo’s Montreux that was released on Led Zeppelin‘s Coda album after he passed.
Also, Tito Puente – a Latin jazz percussionist. I knew he had created these little drum songs in the past, but I never attributed it to a particular album. And Mike Patton – back in ’98 or ’99 – found out that I was into Tito Puente, and said, ‘Oh Dave, you’ve got to listen to Top Percussion.’ I’d never heard of that album. And he turned me on to it.
So, I knew of other drummers who had created something like this but never an entire body of work…well, I think later I heard that Hal Blaine had created one – but nothing to this extent, with this direction. It’s been a while, and finally it’s here and I’m really excited.
AllMusic: What are some of your favorite drum albums of all-time?
Lombardo: “Mickey Hart‘s Planet Drum, Babatunde Olatunji had a couple of really cool albums that were very percussion-based. I really like Smithsonian Folkways – their compilations of really deep African drum rhythms. Haitian Vodou drum rhythms. Those are all on Smithsonian Folkways, I believe. Hossam Ramzy, a Persian percussionist – he’s amazing. I really like Milford Graves – a percussionist out of Brooklyn.
AllMusic: What are your thoughts on modern day hard rock and heavy metal drummers, by and large?
Lombardo: By and large it’s fascinating how it’s evolved. I enjoy a lot of it. They’re talented and younger and younger as we age. Their chops are on point.
There’s a lot of great drummers – one of which is Daru Jones, who plays with Jack White. Very unique. Ian Chang who performs with Son Lux – he’s also an amazing drummer. New, upcoming avantgarde drummers that work with a lot of my friends in New York City – Kenny Grohowski, who plays in a band called Imperial Triumphant. He’s amazing. Also, Ches Smith from Trevor Dunn’s Trio-Convulsant.
There’s countless – it’s just a matter of discovering and sifting the mass amounts of drummers that are out there and promoting their work online.
AllMusic: Planning on playing live shows in support of Rites of Percussion?
Lombardo: No. That’s simply a piece of art. It would take so much work and bringing in the right musicians, and I would really have to think about orchestration. It’s not impossible, but I’m not sure if I want to tackle that – at least right now. It might change, you never know – if the right offer comes along that can change my mind.
AllMusic: Any talk of recording a new studio album with Mr. Bungle?
Lombardo: No, that hasn’t been discussed yet. We haven’t exhausted this album that we just released, The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny. But it could be possible – I wouldn’t doubt it.
AllMusic: Which other projects do you have coming up?
Lombardo: Well, I just released a single from Empire State Bastard, a new band I’m working with from England [which also includes Biffy Clyro members Simon Neil and Mike Vennart]. They’re big fans of hardcore music and they put some music together and presented it to me with a demo back in 2020 – around the same time I was recording my drum record. I didn’t want to take any other projects on – I was just really focused on Satanic Planet [another band Lombardo plays in], on my drum record, I think I’d recorded Colors for Body Count, and there were other projects.
And when I heard Empire State Bastard, I was like, ‘OK. I have to do this. This just has my name written all over it. I can get behind this.’ So, that [a full-length album] is going to be released hopefully at the end of the year. We released a new single called Harvest and we played a few showcase shows in London, Manchester, and Glasgow. I think we might be doing something in the States – touring.
I’m in the process of editing a video for a very slow, down tempo love ballad project [Venamoris] I put together with my wife Paula. She sings and writes a lot of the music. We’re going be releasing a video soon – I don’t know exactly when, within probably the next month – for the last song on the record, called So Good. And I have some tours coming up – Mr. Bungle, Misfits, and Empire State Bastard.
AllMusic: Lastly, do you agree that Slayer‘s Angel of Death remains the most intense metal song of all-time – both musically and lyrically?
Lombardo: Yes. That song is intense. If there’s a picture or a song to go along with that description, yeah, that would be the song. I could see that. I can’t disagree on something that I’m so proud of – that would be sacrilegious. It’s some great stuff right there.
Read more at ALLMUSIC.
Order Lombardo’s Rites of Percussion, here.