Dave Lombardo Talks New Dead Cross Album, Plus Mr. Bungle, Testament, and Misfits

The legendary drummer offers up the latest on his multiple bands

Dave Lombardo
Dave Lombardo, photo by Raymond Ahner

    Certainly, Dave Lombardo would be a front-runner if there was a “most valuable player” award for heavy music. Long considered one of the best and most influential metal drummers of all time, Lombardo currently splits his time between several renowned projects, including hardcore-thrashers Dead Cross, horror punkers Misfits, thrash-metal vets Testament, crossover-thrash pioneers Suicidal Tendencies, and experimental rockers Mr. Bungle.

    As a founding member of Slayer, Lombardo is often credited with helping popularize the now-standard “double bass” drumming style, including his work on such classic albums as Reign in Blood, South of Heaven, and Seasons in the Abyss.

    On October 28th, Dead Cross — featuring Lombardo, singer Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle), guitarist Michael Crain, and bassist Justin Pearson — will issue their sophomore effort, the appropriately-titled II. Once again produced by Ross Robinson (who oversaw the group’s self-titled 2017 debut), II proves that the quartet are still as intense and unpredictable as ever, as heard on such standout tracks as “Love Without Love,” “Heart Reformer,” and “Ants and Dragons.”


    In addition to Dead Cross, Lombardo has upcoming shows with the Original Misfits and Mr. Bungle, and earlier this year he joined Testament as a full-time member of the band.

    The drummer recently caught up with Heavy Consequence, and discussed Dead Cross, Testament, Misfits, and Mr. Bungle, as well as the pros and cons of being a touring musician. Pick up Dead Cross’ new album II here, and read our full interview with Dave Lombardo below.

    What are the similarities and differences between Dead Cross’ II and the self titled debut?

    Well, the similarities are the same four guys, which is kind of cool! [Laughs] The difference between both records is obviously one was a little urgent — which was the first one. I feel where it’s just, “Come on, let’s get this done. Let’s create these insane, short, little, spastic punk songs.” And this particular one — Dead Cross’ II — is a little more thought out. We wanted the songs to be a little bit longer, we wanted to have a little more dynamic … we wanted to approach it a little bit different. Whereas the other one was like, “Hey, let’s get this out, let’s create these really fast songs,” this one was like, “OK, let’s wait and check out here what we’re creating and take a better look at it.”


    How would you describe the recording process for II?

    Pretty much same as the other one. Michael Crain, Justin Pearson and I, we get together and work on the bones of the record and the structure, and the marriage between guitar riffs and drum pattern and all the transitions. And then once we get all the parts demo’d, then we go into the studio and work with Ross Robinson – where he takes us on this kind of zen journey of positivity and creativity, that we all really enjoy. We really like working with Ross. And we just roll tape … literally, roll tape. We record onto two-inch tape — which is rare these days. Most people record onto digital, but we’ll record onto tape. It’s a brilliant process, and I really enjoy working with Crain, Pearson, and Ross.

    What are the touring plans for Dead Cross?

    There’s no plans as of yet, but I hope there will be.

    Are you looking forward to the upcoming Mr. Bungle shows this December?

    Yes! I hate to be sarcastic but, of course. Mr. Bungle’s going to go out in South America. It’s gonna be huge. It’s gonna be great. We’re all excited and we’re all looking forward to it. So that could be a step in the right direction for the future of Dead Cross playing some shows.

    Mike Patton, who’s both in Dead Cross and Mr. Bungle, recently opened up about his mental health issues. As a touring musician, can you talk about how it can affect you mentally?


    For me, the only thing that affects me is sometimes you go through these moments where you’re like, “Fuck … I miss home.” You miss your loved ones. “I miss my wife, I miss my kids.” That goes through your mind. That’s challenging. But for me personally, I don’t really drink on the road. I have an occasional beer after the show or maybe a glass of wine with dinner. I actually get healthier on the road than I do at home — at home I’m cooking. I’m involved in the kitchen or going out and eating. But on the road I kind of watch what I eat, I make sure that I try to stay as healthy. I take my vitamins and stay as healthy as possible — ’cause you don’t wanna get sick on the road, and you just try to focus on your health. You gotta go on stage practically five times a week. And the music that we’re playing isn’t anything that’s soft and relaxing or anything I could play with brushes. I mean, this is hardcore music, so I have to be on top of my game physically instead of getting wasted every night. It’s not conducive to a drummer.

    How is Mike Patton doing these days?

    He’s doing good. He’s feeling better by the sound of his responses and emails. He’s optimistic and looking forward to the future.

    With Testament, what has it been like being a full-time member of a full-fledged thrash band again?

    It feels obviously great, or else I wouldn’t be here. These guys, I’ve known them forever — since maybe ’85. It’s great, I’m having a great time. After the pandemic and not doing anything for two years, I mean I did work out of my home studio, but it’s nothing like the excitement you get from going onstage or actually playing with a band. it’s been awesome, to say the least.


    How is it touring now compared to pre-COVID?

    The fans are so excited, they’re so happy. It’s different. I think everyone appreciates it a little bit more, because it was taken away. And to be a part of a concert again, to see a festival, and she all the heads in the crowd, it’s just overwhelming — in a good way. It feels good. It’s just a little different — a lot more smiles, everyone is just excited and happy to be there.

    As far as touring with Testament, do you see a pretty good mix of younger fans and older fans?

    Yes. You do see a large range of ages. It’s cool, I think it’s great. Metal is so universal in a lot of ways and not just countries. It’s ages. So, it’s good to see that.

    The Original Misfits have two upcoming shows, including a Halloween gig on October 29th in Dallas with Alice Cooper on the bill.


    It’s gonna be a great show. I have to fly to New Jersey and start working with Jerry Only and getting all the songs down. So, it’s going to be exciting to play the show. We did Aftershock last year and that was a blast. But like every Misfits show, I wish there were more lined up. I wish there was a solid tour — ’cause it’s a celebration whenever the Misfits play. Everyone in the arena is singing every single word. It’s exciting.

    What are your thoughts on Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” being featured prominently in Stranger Things? Do you think that’s going to help introduce thrash metal to a new generation of fans?

    I haven’t watched Stranger Things, and I don’t know what happened with Metallica in Stranger Things, so I really don’t know what’s going on there. If anything helps kids get turned on to metal music, that’s great.


    You’ve witnessed first-hand the Misfits reunion over the past several years. I was wondering what your feelings were on the upcoming Pantera tour with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante in the lineup?

    I’m happy that they’re doing what they want to do. The vocalist and the bass player want to get the band together, I think that’s great. I have absolutely no opinion on it, nothing against what they’re doing. Charlie is an amazing addition to the reunion, as well as Zakk Wylde. I think it’s great all the way around.