download 2004 should have been regular Metallica festival gig. had only one problem Lars Ulrich Fell ill with an anxiety attack on the plane and was in the hospital. The good news: Lars will be fine. Bad news: Metallica was a drummer and the set looked like it wasn’t going to happen.
To enter Slayer drummer dave lombardowho together slipknot‘s Joy Jordison – Stepped in for Lars at the 11th hour to make sure the show goes ahead. We caught up with Lombardo nearly 20 years later to get back to memories of a Metallica show like no other.
Both Slayer and Metallica originated in Los Angeles in 1981. When did you first hear about them?
“I remember a live demo tape being passed over, and we’d hear that — we were blown away. Slayer actually got to play with Metallica at a club called The Woodstock in Orange County [on Oct 22, 1982], I remember standing between James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine, looking at them. It was an amazing experience.”
How did you end up playing Metallica after 22 years at the 2004 Download Festival?
“The Slayers played in the tent earlier in the evening, and I was somewhere behind the stage when management contacted me. They said, ‘Lars can’t make it, and Metallica was wondering if you’d be able to sit in?’ It was a bit of a shock. My first thought was, ‘Is lars ok?’ But he said, ‘He’s fine, he’s with the doctors, he’s only got a moment.’ That’s why I said that I will do whatever I can to help.”
Did they tie you up in the rehearsal room with other people to learn the songs?
“Yeah, that’s exactly what happened. I knew some of his songs very well, but I wasn’t quite aware of some of the other songs. So we agreed that I would do the first two, Battery And Four Horsemenya joi [Jordison] would jump, ’cause he’d be in a Metallica cover band and he knew all those songs on the inside.”
It’s five minutes before you get on the stage. What’s going on in your mind?
“Excitement. I like challenges: ‘Okay, let’s do it, we’ll solve it and get it done.’ I was thrilled to be there with them, but seeing James and Kirk and Rob in front of me was surreal. Like, ‘Is this really happening?’ But I couldn’t question that moment, ’cause there was something more important at stake, which was to help Lars and the band deliver these songs and put together a show for fans.
Did you see Joey playing?
“Yeah, he was awesome. He knew the lyrics from front to back, and he nailed it. I thought I was going to jump in and play a song during Joey’s segment, but they kept him for the rest of the set.” which was totally cool with me. It took my stress off, like, ‘I know this song, but I really don’t know it as much as Joey does.'”
Does stepping into the world of Metallica briefly give you a different perspective on what they do?
“Oh yeah, especially with live shows. They were headlining, so the energy there was just intense. I definitely had to keep my composure and think, ‘It’s going to be great, stay positive, let’s Rock.’ After it was all done, we all finally took a bow. They were really grateful – they appreciated the help.
How do you look back on it today?
“It was an honor for them to ask me too, and I’m very proud that I helped them when they needed it, and that’s been a small part of their history. Come on, I get to play Metallica!” ”
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