In the latest episode of Fuse‘s “Riffs”, former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo reflects on his earliest days when he and his family emigrated to America from Cuba in the ’60s. Hanging at Mambo’s Cuban restaurant in Los Angeles, Lombardo explains how salsa music informed his often imitated frenetic drum style.
Lombardo said in a 2014 interview that he was “longing” to visit his former homeland and lamented the fact that he wasn’t able to return to Cuba while his father was still alive. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been back to Cuba,” he said. “I would love to go back one day. I think it would be awesome. I [would] probably see some distant cousins and whatnot, and would love to play and just absorb the culture, something I’ve been longing for. But I haven’t been able to go.”
In a 2012 interview with Noisecreep, Lombardo spoke about how his Cuban roots affected his musical upbringing. “Living in a Cuban household, my parents would go to these Latino social clubs when I was a kid,” he said. “I remember being there and seeing the men playing dominoes, drinking coffee and talking about the old country. It was a really family-oriented kind of thing. But what I remember the most were these dances they would have at the clubs.”
He continued: “My mom would try and get me to go out and dance to the big live bands that would perform these parties at the social club. But I would be backstage, sitting on a piano stool and staring at the musicians in the band. That’s where my fascination with being a musician started. My mom would get so mad and say, ‘Come on, Dave! There are some pretty girls out there that want to dance.’ But I was more interested in watching the band performing.”