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Metal Drum God Dave Lombardo on Life in Quarantine

As the world fights a pandemic, we’ve been reaching out to some of our favorite artists to get their takes on these unprecedented times. Here’s what the metal-and-beyond percussion legend — one of RS’ 100 Greatest Drummers of All Time, who’s currently playing with the reunited Misfits and Suicidal Tendencies, as well as the reunited Mr. Bungle and his own band Dead Cross — had to say in response to a few quarantine questions.

What have you been doing with your unexpected time at home?
Some unexpected projects. It’s odd — at a time where I thought, Well, that’s it; no more touring, and I was just going to work in my studio, get it all finished setting it up, all the mics and everything, ’cause I just moved into this house … I was asked to work on a more industrial project rather than an acoustic drum project. So I’ve been working with that. And I’m just focused on being creative. I personally like isolation to a certain extent, so it’s not surprising to me what it feels like to actually be in a type of a quarantine.

It is a little unnerving knowing that you can go out there and go to the store and possibly catch something that you can’t get rid of, but so far everything’s been pretty cool, and the numbers in my county are pretty low. Staying positive, you know?

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Can you say anything more about the industrial project you mentioned?
The name of it is Satanic Planet. It’s with Justin Pearson, who’s in Dead Cross as well. And Luke Henshaw, who he works with pretty closely. And Luke also worked on some of the remixes that we featured on our EP. And some of the vocals are done by the head of the Satanic Temple. This is through his affiliation with Justin, so they decided to create an album that’s kind of influenced by Anton LaVey’s early album that he recorded of one of his Black Masses. So we took influence from that. What was supposed to be one song ended up being the whole record. They liked what I did and so I’ve been tackling that nightly. I usually start around midnight and go till around three in the morning [laughs]. But yeah, it’s kind of cool; it’s fun. Like I said, it’s been keeping me busy. And other little odd-and-end jobs that I’ve been doing.

Did you have specific touring that’s already been moved or canceled?
Yes, I had a Misfits show in Mexico City. I had several shows out in Spain, I believe, at the end of May, and then a pretty extensive tour throughout Europe for, like, four weeks with Suicidal, as well. I think late June, July. So that was canceled. And then there were other tours happening later in the year, and those were canceled as well.

But with all that canceled, I had just recorded a Dead Cross record and a Mr. Bungle record so right now there are emails going around: listening to different mixes for both bands. So we’re just kind of staying busy even though things have slowed down. But yeah, it’s unfortunate that those tours and shows were canceled. I was looking forward to them. It’s been a while since I’ve been over to Europe, and I was looking forward to hitting the stage again on a more rigorous tour rather than these little one-offs that I’ve been doing lately. But all good; it hasn’t gotten to me yet.

We’ve also been asking people if there’s anything in particular they’ve been watching or listening to in quarantine. Anything come to mind there, as far as albums, TV, or movies?
Well, movies — it’s difficult to put me on a couch and have me watch a movie. My mind is just constantly in creative mode and it has to be a very special night in how I feel for me to sit down and watch a movie. I’ve watched half of that Exotic movie… what’s his name? Joe Exotic. Yeah, Tiger King — I’ve watched half of that and then of course my studio is always calling me so I just go upstairs and create. So I watched a little bit of that, but not much.

Before I started this industrial project, I was listening to Lustmord and tapping into old Laibach. Just random bands like that, and artists. So it’s been pretty mellow. Late at night sometimes when I’m not working — let’s say if I have a drink and I’m just chilling after dinner — I’ll put on some classic rap music kind of to express a little anger sometimes.

What do you think of Tiger King so far?
Well, characters like that … it just confirms that characters like that really do exist. And it’s an interesting story. They’re in their own world over there, and certainly different from anybody I’ve met. And I don’t think I ever want to meet anybody like that [laughs]. He’s a pretty strange fellow.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans right now?
Try to find comfort in knowing that we’re all in this together, and we’ll be back to normal in no time. And just stay creative, stretch, breathe … take a fucking shower [laughs]. I’m hearing people that are like, “Oh, I haven’t showered for a week,” and I’m like, “What?!”

We’re resilient, and hopefully most of us are optimistic and don’t let it get to us. It could drive some of us stir-crazy that are always hungry for attention. There’s people out there that are constantly on social media, constantly going out, pictures, and selfies. Well, you can’t do that anymore, so what do you have now? So that’s why I suggest people like that try to connect with your soul. Start at zero. It’s kind of like a human reset. So that’s all, basically. But definitely take a shower, man!

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