Dave Lombardo Suicidal Tendencies
The thrash master shows his punkier side
Still Cyco Punk After All These Years is a reimagining of Mike Muir’s debut solo album, how did that come about?
“Well, I believe Mike has a bit of a renewed energy, and him and I working together has kind of charged him a bit. He’s very happy. Actually, on the last tour he said to me, ‘Dave, I wouldn’t be out here if it wasn’t for you.’ I was really honoured to hear that, and happy that he’s excited to be out there and kicking ass, because he’s an amazing performer and songwriter. Getting to hang out with him and tour and perform these classic songs... it’s a very surreal time in my life that I’m in.”
How familiar with the original version of the album were you, had you heard it before?
“No, I didn’t. I didn’t even know that he had a solo album at that time, I was on a very different path musically. I took it as new songs and just gave it my own style, a little bit of a different light. I didn’t have that much time to learn the songs, but what was awesome was that we recorded it without using a click track. For World Gone Mad we used a click, but this time Mike said, ‘No, just go! Give it that energy.’ So it sets it up a litle differently from the last album.”
Was it nice to just get straight in there with the songs?
“Everything was really well thought out and I made sure I got all the parts correct, but yeah, we captured some very special moments. Some of the drum rolls sound typically Dave Lombardo – the freight train that’s out of control and you think it’s going to derail but then it actually lands, on the one. I always warn my bandmates, any band I play in, I always say: ‘Guys, if you hear me going off the rails and wonder what’s Lombardo doing? Don’t worry, I’ll be there on the one!’”
Did you enjoy exploring the more punk side of your playing?
“Oh yes, absolutely. My approach is pretty much the same as all my records. Everything I do gets the same amount of attention and love, and I’m proud of all the music that I do. But this particular album, I think Mike saw that I could go off the metronome and not need the click. When you record with a click it restrains you, there’s less of the natural crescendo that gives the music life. When you put it through any kind of beat detective or anything like that, you just lose the soul. He was able to hear that and allow me to just do my thing.”
Did your gear change this time around?
“No, it was my standard Tama setup: 24" bass drums, 18" floor tom, 13" and 14" toms. One of my favourite snares is a hand-hammered bronze snare from Tama, I don’t think they make those anymore, but I’ve been using that on the last three albums I’ve made. I used my Reign ride cymbal too, just my typical setup. I stick to my sound, I tune my drums my way. We just took our time, made sure everything sounded right, they pressed record and let me loose!”
The snare sounds killer…
“Yes, well, you know I’ve been really focussing on that, to make sure it pops but still sounds great. I crank it up to a note that sounds consistent with the rest of the drum set. I don’t use any dampening. Whenever we’re playing live and my tech puts a little bit of dampening on the snare I’m like, ‘Get that off!’ just let the drums breathe. With that, you have to make sure that you tune out any kind of ringing, which is time consuming, but well worth it when you get a drum set that breathes and has life.”
You’ve had a couple of stand-in guitarists on tour too…
“Yeah, we did! We had [former Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist] Ben Weinman on the Canadian tour, and then we had Tim Stewart in Europe, he plays for Lady Gaga, then Ben is going to be with us on the US tour. Both Ben and Tim have been completely amazing, and I’m looking forward to working with those guys again.”
Out now StillCycoPunk AfterAllThese Years Suicidal Tendencies