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DAVE LOMBARDO: how I almost joined MEGADETH in 1987


Dave Lombardo was recently interviewed on “Speak N’ Destroy”, a podcast about all things METALLICA, hosted by longtime journalist and METALLICA fan Ryan J. Downey. During the lengthy chat, the former SLAYER drummer once again confirmed that he came close to joining MEGADETH nearly three and a half decades ago as the replacement for Gar Samuelson.

Dave said: “A funny story — I was going to join MEGADETH when I left SLAYER the first time in ’86… It was very much on the down low. And probably (MEGADETH mainman Dave])Mustaine doesn’t remember this. But they had opened up for Alice Cooper during the ‘Peace Sells’ tour. And I went to the Long Beach Arena (in March 1987), and I met with the guys. I believe that the main issue at that time was when I saw the guys, they didn’t look very healthy. I think it was a very dark period for them. And I had heard rumors of drugs and stuff like that. I was no saint, but I kept it in check, and they just didn’t look healthy to me. I didn’t see a healthy path for myself.

“Sure enough, Gar Samuelson died (in 1999), and he was an amazing drummer.

MEGADETH and SLAYER played many times together, and so, yeah, I just didn’t see things go well,” he continued. “And then I, of course, rethought my position, and with a little bit of coercion from SLAYER producer Rick Rubin, I returned to SLAYER.”

Lombardo‘s latest comments echo those he made in a 2015 interview with Metal Ireland. At the time, he said that he “was looking to join MEGADETH” in 1987, “to replace Gar Samuelson. I met all of them, but they were really heavily into drugs and I really wasn’t into that,” he said. “They didn’t look too healthy either — they looked pretty bad.”

In the Metal Ireland interview, Dave also dismissed the suggestion that he would join MEGADETH as the replacement for Shawn Drover, who had left the band just a couple of months earlier.

“I’ve been getting phone calls like, ‘Are you going to join this band?’ No. I refuse to be someone’s employee,” he said. “I want to work on something I’m a part of, not just a guy that receives a paycheck. I want to be part of the artist development. An artist, not just a hired gun. I’ve had enough of that. I need freedom.”

The 55-year-old Lombardo, who splits most of his time between crossover pioneers SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, horror-punk icons MISFITS and hardcore supergroup DEAD CROSS, 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.

Dave Lombardo is currently active in Mr Bungle, Dead Cross, Misfits and Suicidal Tendencies. He was the original drummer for Slayer and played on most of their classic albums (1982-1986, 1987-1992, 2001-2013). He has also been briefly in Testament and plaed with Chuck Schuldiner in Voodoocult on the 1994 release ‘Jesus Killing Machine’ and he was in Grip Inc. (1993-2006). Lombardo is also an artist, who has had several exhibitions.

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