Australia’s May The Rock Be With You recently conducted an interview with former SLAYER and current PHILM drummer Dave Lombardo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
May The Rock Be With You: I get tired sometimes just watching you drumming. What’s your secret to being able to keep up the pace?
Lombardo: Well, when you watch those videos, I’ve been conditioned. I conditioned about a week prior to say the SLAYER tours. If we had two months off, I would probably condition a week to two weeks prior, and that would be driving probably five times a week to rehearsal and just going through the set, because you need to build up stamina, so that when you hit the stage you don’t pass out from exhaustion; you have to build yourself up to it. So I try to get as many rehearsals in with the band and it’s not really to rehearse our chops, it’s to build up your energy running through the set, just ridding yourself from the cobwebs. [Laughs] You have to try to just get yourself into a condition to perform live. What you see if someone that’s been working for a while.
May The Rock Be With You: And get the joints moving again…
Lombardo: Yeah, I don’t have any problems with my joints or anything like that. Thank God I’ve been free from any kind of pain, knock on wood. But I attribute that to something I touch on when I talk to the fans at these drum clinics and workshops; I teach them how the drums I feel should be set up and feel comfortable, [and] nothing should feel out of place. If there’s a cymbal that is six feet off the ground and you’re sitting fairly low, you’re gonna put some strain on that shoulder, because you have to reach up at that cymbal, probably a hundred times a night and multiply that by a tour — let’s say you do twenty shows a tour — it’s gonna cause some damage. So you’ve got to be conscious of these things when you’re setting up your drum sets, but I haven’t had any issues.
May The Rock Be With You: You’ve also taken on producing duties in the past [with PHILM]. Is it hard to put on a producer hat when you’re so used to your performer hat?
Lombardo: It’s like a fine line and you want to differentiate. You want to step away from being the musician or the artist, and know that what you’re doing is for the better of the record, to make the album sound better or the structure of the songs. So if there’s something that I would feel personally as the drummer —say, “This particular drum beat feels good” — then I step away and I listen to the comments of the other musicians and then I put myself in the place of a producer. And it’s, like, “Okay, as a whole, does it make the song better?” So I kind of have to make that decision. It’s difficult, but you make it work. And I think part of being a producer is to listen to what all the other musicians have to say. So even though I’m the drummer, and, of course, Dave Lombardo and being the producer, it didn’t mean that I was being some kind of control freak; it was just making sure that we stayed on the path and wanted to make sure that the album was delivered to at least my satisfaction, what I thought the band should be.
Read the entire interview at May The Rock Be With You.