Former SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo spoke to the “Talk Toomey” podcast about his involvement with California hardcore thrash favorites SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and the reunited classic lineup of the North Jersey horror-punks MISFITS. Asked what it was like playing with the MISFITS at last year’s Riot Fest, Dave said (hear audio below): “It was amazing, to say the least. Working with Doyle [Wolfgang Von Frankenstein] and Jerry Only and Glenn [Danzig] was kind of like… How would you say…? It was unreal to see that. You’d never think that those guys would ever work together again, and this music that they recorded back in the early days was, to me, and still is, these classic songs I think that a lot of people haven’t heard. So I fell in love with their music.
“I really didn’t hear any of their music before working with the MISFITS, ’cause I got into punk after they had broken up,” Lombardo admitted.” And, of course, I always saw the logo and their name. I got into DEAD KENNEDYS, CIRCLE JERKS, SUICIDAL… I got into all those bands first before I got into, let’s say, the New York hardcore scene. So it was a real treat. I really enjoyed it. A great bunch of guys, great organization. I hope there’s more shows.”
Lombardo added that he was surprised by the extremely enthusaistic reception the MISFITS got from the audience at the Riot Fest. “I didn’t realize that they knew all the lyrics,” he said. “Later on, when I was watching some of the YouTube footage, [it was], like, ‘Man, these people know this music.’ And it was great.”
He continued: “The songwriting on those early albums — I’ll tell you, man — it was really magical. I really love the fact that the songs are very short, to the point — you know, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, out. That’s it. Or even chorus, verse, chorus, out. That’s it. No more. So it’s really cool. I love it.”
Asked how he landed the MISFITS gig, Lombardo said: “Glenn Danzig gave me a call, and he asked me if I would like to be a part of it. And when Glenn Danzig calls you, you’re, like, ‘Respect, man. Hell yeah!’ So it was a surprise. But Glenn said, ‘Dude, you’ve always been my favorite drummer.’ And everybody was the same way, including Jerry Only. He was, like, ‘Let’s get Lombardo in here.’ So I was really lucky and very fortunate to be a part of that historic moment.”
Although the MISFITS “haven’t discussed” playing any more shows in the coming months, according to Lombardo, the drummer is “sure there’ll be more. But right now we’re just waiting for Glenn to decide when, where and how we’re all gonna get there.”
Dave also talked about what it has been like joining two of the most influential punk band of all time within several months of each other. He said: “Yeah, it was kind of weird, because here’s SUICIDAL TENDENCIES… I’ve always been a punk rock fan. I love punk rock music. It’s what inspired SLAYER in the beginning. ‘Cause we were just a metal band. I mean, we were covering songs by JUDAS PRIEST and IRON MAIDEN. It’s when Jeff [Hanneman, late SLAYER guitarist] brought all these records to the studio and said, ‘Oh, man. You’ve gotta check this out. Listen to this.’ You know, DEAD KENNEDYS‘ ‘In God We Trust, Inc.’ was one of those albums that just totally changed my attitude. And, of course, the first SUICIDAL record as well. I went to go see SUICIDAL before SLAYER‘s first album came out. So that’s how far back… SLAYER‘s album came out in December ’83, so more than likely I saw SUICIDAL summer of ’83. So I was really into all that music. And then SUICIDAL called me, and then on top of that, then the MISFITS called me. I was, like, ‘Man, what’s next?’ Is there gonna be a British punk band that’s gonna be calling me soon?’ So I would have the West Coast punk, East Coast punk and then the U.K. punk all covered or something. I don’t know if I’d be able to do that — at least at this stage of the game, with as busy as my schedule is.”
The original MISFITS band broke up in 1983, and bassist Jerry Only brought forth a new version of the MISFITS in 1995. Various members have come and gone, but Only, along with BLACK FLAG‘s Dez Cadena, has kept some form of the MISFITS in the recording studio and on the road for most of the last two decades.
After the original MISFITS disbanded, vocalist Glenn Danzig went on to form SAMHAIN and then the eponymous DANZIG. Several albums of reissued and previously unreleased material were issued after the group’s dissolution, and their music became influential to punk rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock music of the late 1990s and early 2000s.