Lessons from Dave Lombardo and Power Grooves

Here is the first installment of some lessons from Dave Lombardo, courtesy of our new book Power Grooves. Power Grooves is available from my website. Hope you enjoy the work that Dave and I have put into the book. Here are three examples from Power Grooves.. Clicking on each notation example will execute a Real Audio file. You need the Real Player to hear the sounds.

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Here is the second installment of some lessons from Dave Lombardo, courtesy of our new book Power Grooves. Power Grooves is available from my website. Hope you enjoy the work that Dave and I have put into the book. What sets Dave apart from other drummers is his intense drive and double bass power and strength. Here are three examples from Power Grooves.

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Dave Lombardo Interview

Waking up in the morning, in the sleepy suburb of Victorville, California, Dave Lombardo finds that the whole family is still sleeping. Sons Davey and Jeremy are not stirring and neither is wife Teresa. So, Dave steals downstairs, make himself some espresso, and breaks out the latest...what, Meshugga CD? No, heÕs reading the latest book on studio techniques. Well, it proves to be a relaxing morning, for a little while. After an hour or two, the two young boys are up and at Ôem. TeresaÕs getting them ready for pre-school and Dave is also participating in the family thing. Maybe heÕll drive them to school or make their breakfast. Afterwards, perhaps a little time lounging by the pool. ItÕs a nice start to the day in this suburb of Los Angeles.

Then it begins. What's it? Phone calls, appointments, percussion companies calling, DaveÕs manager, tours to put together, bands that need producing, What? Someone needs to rent my studio for band rehearsal?, people wanting to do interviews, things to do around the house, overseas calls from band mates and magazines and record companies and on it goes...until..what?? another rehearsal. Definitely not!! Time for sushi or dinner with the band and family. TatsukiÕs a great Japanese restaurant near DaveÕs home. Check out their tekamaki! Awesome! Rehearsing with bands takes up a lot of DaveÕs time here at home. Lately heÕs been rehearsing with Grip, Inc., the heavyrhythmicmelodic band thatÕs just released its third CD, Solidify. The new CD is a consistent representation of the band, heavy and melodic.

GripÕs getting ready for a short West Coast tour and then a European tour, where theyÕll be performing all over. (ed. I think this tour has been cancelled.) The whole familyÕs coming along, touring Europe in a Volvo wagon. GripÕs breaking in a new bassist and everyoneÕs feeling great about the new material and the heavy sound. Rehearsing every day with Grip is demanding and Dave feels great. The band is rehearsing their concert set which is about an hour and a half. Somedays they do the set two or three times. Chops are up because of all the playing DaveÕs been doing. When Grip started rehearsing there was no time wasted getting into shape. Their songs demand the highest levels of drumming and DaveÕs up to it. WhatÕs cool is that the family is always around, in one form or another. Everyone likes that!

Then thereÕs Fantomas, the band led by Mike Patton from Faith No More, with Trevor Dunn, and Buzz Osborne (King Buzzo). Fantomas rehearses in San Francisco. Sure, it can take Dave away from the family, but it makes it that much sweeter to get home! The music of Fantomas was created and composed by Mike Patton. Each individual brings his own musicality to the project. ItÕs a masterpiece. The context of the music goes from heavy to grindcore, really brutal, from a very soft piece to an organ piece. There are 30 songs that range from a minute to a minute and a half. People react to Fantomas in interesting ways. Hopefully there are very open-minded people at the concerts. They know what to expect. Mike is a very creative person. But some people hear whoÕs in the band and know their history and they think theyÕre gonna see something of that combination. Usually these people are drinking at the bar, and they can get offensive. But Fantomas wins them over. Everyone else says, Òdude, donÕt ya get it...this is creativityÓ. Right now, Fantomas is on a brief hiatus because Patton has to record another album with Mr. Bungle. They may be doing some touring in October. The new CD is going to be released April 27th.

KKleq Muzzil.....whatÕs that you ask? Well, just check out the StickIt CD and find out more about DaveÕs latest project, one which heÕs producing. KKleq Muzzil is drum and bass hardcore. Yeah, never heard of that have you? Well now you will! The band is made up of drums, bass, and lead guitar/vocals. DaveÕs playing a single bass kit with single pedal, three crashes, ride and hi hat. So, in DaveÕs spare time, in between the gardening and reading Jean Paul Sartre, in between Grip and Fantomas, and letÕs, not forget Teresa and Jeremy and little Davey...thereÕs Kkleq Muzzil! The bandÕs just finished their demo at DaveÕs in house studio and theyÕre shopping it for a deal. The bandÕs grooving with a heavy edge. James BrownÕs music has found itÕs way into the hardcore scene, with Dave, guitarist Jeremy Nestler, and bassist Juan Perez grinding out the super heavy core sounds! DaveÕs goal with Kkleq Muzzil is to be the bandÕs producer; to mold them, to shape them into an entity that can entertain the ears. Where Grip, Inc.Õs music is very rhythmic, and very tribal, KKleq Muzzil relies on groove, very deep grooves, rooted grooves. The bass, guiatr, and drums are played in such a way that the groove takes on a real heavy life of its own. ItÕs greasy.

Time for some well-deserved time off. All this recording and touring, rehearsing and traveling. Time for a break. How about flying to Oakland, CA to rehearse and record with Testament? Sounds relaxing!!! Testament toured with Slayer during the Clash of the Titans tour. They opened up the show. Now Dave flies up to Oakland a week at a time, once a month, to write material for an album. ItÕll be out in June. The musicÕs metal, heavy and hardcore, done in an old school ÒtraditionalÓ way. Two guitars, bass, drums, and vocals make up Testament.

And after all this, it certainly is time for that well deserved break. Ahh, back to the espresso and a good book. NAHHHH!! Time to break new ground and perform with classical musicians in Mantova, Italy, in a brand new adaptation of the music of Vivaldi. The project is called Vivaldi: The Meeting (release date June 8, 1999 from Thirsty Ear Recordings). WhatÕs this all about? While Dave was recording with Grip, Inc. in Hagen, Germany, he was approached by the producer of this new classical music project. The influence for this project was a fictional story about a Cuban percussionist traveling to Italy, in the 17th Century. This percussionist met with the famed composers Vivaldi and Handel. After an evening spent at the opera, they decided to challenge each other to musical improvisations. The arrangers of this very musical adaptation of the story wanted to follow the thread of the story. They knew that Dave was born in Cuba (Havana, to be exact) and they wanted to introduce Dave to Vivaldi, in a modern classical music context! The Meeting involves Dave on drums, two operatic soloists, an oraganist, oboist and flautist. The band would jam in the afternoons, afterwards partaking in a daily ritual of beautiful lunches in a wonderful house. The whole Lombardo family was there, in an apartment above the studio. The whole vibe was taking the band back to the days of the sumptuous opulence of Venice. The band rehearsed, played and recorded seven Vivaldi songs, leaving Dave free to jam. DaveÕs drum parts were solely dictated by the music. Whatever the songs fed to him, he expressed through the drums. The vibe of the performers was very enthusiastic because this has never been done before. This was done in the raw form, the way it was done when people just got together and grooved and jammed. All the musicians were studied classical players. Dave Lombardo was, well, Dave Lombardo.

This production is getting a lot of attention in Europe. Hear it for yourself June 8th when the project is released. DaveÕs involved with percussion education as well. Power Grooves is DaveÕs addition to the world of drum education. Dave can show people some of what heÕs all about. ItÕs no mystery, itÕs just a different way of approaching the drums. A student of the drums can really learn something from this book and CD. Are there other ideas in the Lombardo pipeline? Dave has a high criteria for education projects and other musical productions. It has to be produced correctly, full of useful and practical information. Not lame. He donÕt care if the reviews are great, the project has got to really kick butt. A Lombardo video? Not out of reach at all. Dave says that you can really find so much to do by studying what you already know, expanding and creating on this foundation. ItÕs what DaveÕs done and continues to do. HeÕs show this in upcoming educational projects. So, there you have it. Dave LombardoÕs answer to Òwhat to do for the New MilleniumÓ. Be with the family, rehearse, record, play on groundbreaking projects, tour globally, smash drums and cymbals at every possible chance. Groove is King for Mr. Lombardo. Long may they both reign!