During a new appearance on the “Mark And Me” podcast, Dave Lombardo was asked if he was aware, during his time with SLAYER, of how the band was progressing over time or it was “too much of a whirlwind” that he was caught up in internally. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I was caught up in my own personal turmoil. So a lot of it I really didn’t see or really sense the magnitude of what the band was doing. But now looking back, I do. But at the time, you really didn’t. Yeah, you saw it get bigger and bigger. But there were, at that time, a lot of questions, but then there were times where I just went with the flow. I just didn’t care. I just played and just enjoyed the ride.”
Asked if he “would be on board” if SLAYER announced a reunion tour and wanted him to take part in it, Lombardo said: “I really don’t wanna answer anything like that because what ends up happening is that the focus right now would be [my new project] EMPIRE STATE BASTARD and my future, and the future, which is… I think, a big part of my personal success is that I don’t look back. I’m always striving to better myself musically in every way possible, so answering a question like that sometimes takes away of what our focus is on right now. So, respectfully, I’m gonna have to decline [to answer] that question.”
Lombardo previously addressed the possibility of a reunion with SLAYER in a May 2023 interview with Revolver magazine. Pressed about whether he would say “yes” to playing with SLAYER again if the band decided to come back, Dave said: “I don’t even go down that path. I don’t see it ever happening. If they ever do decide to come back, they’re going to piss off a lot of fans because, man, they really hyped that farewell tour. They’re going to have to be very careful on how they approach that. But who cares? The fans will be happy regardless. So, I don’t even think about that.”
Lombardo, who has spent most of the recent years between the aforementioned EMPIRE STATE BASTARD, crossover pioneers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, horror-punk icons MISFITS, hardcore supergroup DEAD CROSS and MR. BUNGLE, was effectively fired from SLAYER after sitting out the group’s Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other bandmembers. He was later replaced by Paul Bostaph, who was previously SLAYER‘s drummer from 1992 until 2001.
Shortly after his dismissal, Lombardo said that he discovered that 90 percent of SLAYER‘s tour income was being deducted as expenses, including fees to management, costing the band millions and leaving them with about 10 percent to split four ways. While he and Tom Araya hired auditors to figure out what had happened, Lombardo said he was never allowed to see any of the information obtained.
Lombardo released a statement in February 2013 saying he “was denied access to detailed information and the necessary backup documents.” He added: “I was told that I would not be paid until I signed a longform contract which gave me no written assurance of how much or on what basis management would deduct commissions, nor did it provide me access to the financial budgets or records for review. It also forbade me to do interviews or make statements having to do with the band, in effect a gagging order.”
Dave previously opened about his departure from SLAYER while taking questions from the audience in March 2014 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
“I did my best to try to keep it together, but I couldn’t go on, man,” Dave said. “I had to step out, because you can’t be shackled like that; nobody can take advantage of another person like that anymore. I did it for too many years, and I held my breath. Red flags kept going on in my books. It’s, like, ‘Really? I’m supposed to make more money? Why am I on the same salary? I’m making the exact same thing I’ve been making the past two years. And this is back in 2004. So I knew something was up. And I tried my best to work it out with the guys. I brought Tom into the picture. I had Tom in a hotel room with me talking to my attorney, and my attorney was telling him everything their management company had been doing to them for the past 30 freakin’ years. And we had an accountant, a forensic accountant, ready to go in there and look at the stuff.”
He continued: “Tom got bought out. Management flipped him over a couple of hundred grand — who knows how much? — and Kerry as well, to keep quiet and go against Lombardo. So they turned their backs on me. And on the last day, when I’m at rehearsal with them — and I saved it all the way until the end — I said, ‘Guys, we need a new business plan. You guys have been on the same business plan after 30 years. Now I’m an income participant. In other words, I ‘m a percentage holder.’ So if you’re a percentage holder, you have the right, and you’re contracted, as a percentage holder, you have the right to see where all the expenses are going. Because here you are getting paid off of net, and then out of 4.4 million dollars, the band gets 400 thousand dollars. Where’s the four million? And that’s just 2011. [The rest of the money went to] lawyers, accountant and the manager.
“For the past 30 years, they were doing that to the guys. And they took my information… I’ll never forget the day…. I just said, ‘Guys, look at this. This came from your accountant.’ And it showed all the money. It wasn’t showing where the money was going, it was just showing ‘gross,’ ‘expenses,’ ‘net.’ And out of that net, I made, on tour, in 2011, 67 thousand dollars. Kerry and Tom, that was about 114 thousand dollars they made on tour. So if you did about 60 shows, divide that up between 60 shows… Anybody have a calculator? No, not 60… Let’s say about 90 shows per year: 30 in the spring, 30 in the summer and 30 shows in the winter, in the fall. So you break that up per show… Really? It’s disgusting. I bust my ass up there playing drums. I mean, I am just sweating, I’m beat. And for the guy in the Hollywood Hills, for his facials, his manicures… No, I’m not gonna play for that. No.”
In a November 2013 interview with Minneapolis City Pages, Araya stated about Lombardo: “Dave left the band originally in ’91 or ’92, After that, we brought in Jon Dette for two years and then we hooked up with Paul [Bostaph], who did four really great albums with us. Then he decided to move on. Our manager hooked us up with Dave again and when we were putting together [2006’s] ‘Christ Illusion’, Dave offered to help out. We wanted to make things fair for him, so we offered him a contract with the band. Most recently, we were offered to tour Australia. When we were rehearsing, he seemed to do a 180 and said some things that kind of upset me and Kerry. Kerry just looked at him and said, ‘If you feel that way, then why are we even rehearsing for this tour?’ So we wrote him a letter and said, ‘Listen, we need to know if you’re going to do the shows in Australia. If you’re not, we need to do something about that.’ We didn’t get a reply. We were put in a position where we had to do something, so we got Jon Dette to play with us again. After what happened with the Australia tour, we made the decision to move forward and make him aware that we no longer needed his services. He was really upset about that. He wrote a rant on Facebook. He said some things that he shouldn’t have. It really upset us. And it upset me. I was fuming. I couldn’t believe that he would throw that out in the court of public opinion. After that, Jeff [Hanneman, deceased SLAYER guitarist], me and Kerry all got on the phone and talked about it. And Paul‘s name came up. It was a sure thing with Paul. He’d been in the band for over 12 years. So we gave him a call to see if he was interested and he was more than happy to. It was a no-brainer. He’s an amazing drummer.”
A few years ago, King said that “when Dave was in [SLAYER] this last time, I figured I’d be on the stage with him until one of us fell off the stage, dead. Things change. He got some bad advice and listened to some bad advice, gave us an ultimatum ten days before we went to Australia [to do the Soundwave festival tour]. And I said, ‘I can’t have this over my head.’ And I feel bad for Dave to this day; I really feel bad for him because he shot himself in the foot. Maybe he thought he had the upper hand, but you ain’t gonna get me.”
SLAYER played its last-ever show in November 2019 at The Forum in Los Angeles.