Yesterday (21st Feb) it was announced that drummer Dave Lombardo would not be playing with Slayer on their 2013 Australian tour. The band's longtime on/off drummer had apparently been dismissed from the band over possible financial disputes. According to various sources on the web, his role on drums will be filled by Joe Dette, who has previously played for both Slayer and Testament.
Lombardo had been with the band since their early days, performing on their debut Show No Mercy, and follow up - Reign in Blood. He left the band in '86 during their 'Reign in Pain' tour, due to the band not making any money. After requests to rejoin the band, he returned in 1987, and recorded two more albums with Slayer - South of Heaven ('88) and Seasons in the Abyss ('90) - before leaving again, for personal reasons. In late 2001 Lombardo once again returned to Slayer and has currently released two more albums with the band - Christ Illusion (2006) and World Painted Blood (2009).
Dave Lombardo released a statement on his official Facebook page, regarding the Australian tour and the events leading up to his dismissal. The full statement is as follows:
''I want to personally apologize to all of our fans in Australia who have bought tickets for the tour expecting to see me in my usual place on the drums. So that you all know the truth, as of the end of the business day on February 14th, I was notified that I would not be drumming for the tour in Australia. I'm saddened, and to be honest I am shocked by the situation.
Last year, I discovered 90% of Slayer's tour income was being deducted as expenses including the professional fees paid to management, costing the band millions of dollars and leaving 10% or less to split amongst the four of us. In my opinion, this is not the way a band's business should operate. I tried rectifying it by letting my band mates know, and Tom and I hired auditors to figure out what happened, but I was denied access to detailed information and the necessary back up documents.
I spent the Christmas and New Year holidays realizing I had toured all over the world in 2012, but yet, had not been paid (except a small advance) or provided a proper accounting for a full year's sweat and blood. On top of this, I was told that I would not be paid until I signed a long form contract which gave me no written assurance of how much or on what basis management would deduct commissions, nor did it provide me access to the financial budgets or records for review. It also forbade me to do interviews or make statements having to do with the band, in effect a gagging order.
Last Monday, I sat down with Kerry and Tom to rehearse for Australia and to propose a new business model that I felt was the best way forward for Slayer to confidently protect itself so we could do what we do best... play for the fans. Kerry made it clear he wasn't interested in making changes and said if I wanted to argue the point, he would find another drummer. On Thursday, I arrived at rehearsals at 1 pm as scheduled, but Kerry did not show. Rather, at 6:24 pm I received an email from the lawyers saying I was being replaced for the Australian dates.
I remain hopeful that we can resolve our issues. But once again, I sincerely apologize to all of our fans in Australia who spent their money expecting to see the 3 of us original Slayer members. I look forward to seeing you in the future.
Sincerely, Dave Lombardo."
Later on in the day, as reported by Noise Creep, the band's long time publicist, Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald, released the following statement:
"Slayer confirms that Jon Dette (Testament) will drum for the band on its Australian tour that starts this Saturday, February 23 in Brisbane. As regards Dave Lombardo's Facebook post, Slayer does not agree with Mr. Lombardo's substance or the timeline of the events, except to acknowledge that Mr. Lombardo came to the band less than a week before their scheduled departure for Australia to present an entirely new set of terms for his engagement that were contrary to those that had been previously agreed upon. The band was unable to reach an agreement on these new demands in the short amount of time available prior to leaving for Australia. There is more to the account than what Mr. Lombardo has offered, but out of respect to him, Slayer will not be commenting further. Slayer is grateful to its Australian fans for their understanding of this unfortunate last-minute change, and very much looks forward to seeing them at these shows."
Currently, it is not known if Lombardo's dismissal is permanent, or how accurate his claims are.