You probably know Dave Lombardo as the founding drummer of Slayer. What you likely didn’t know, is that he almost joined Megadeth after his first departure from Slayer in 1986.
“A funny story — I was going to join Megadeth when I left Slayer the first time in ’86… It was very much on the down low. And probably [Dave] Mustaine doesn’t remember this,” Lombardo revealed to the podcast Speak N Destroy.
He continued: “But they had opened up for Alice Cooper during the ‘Peace Sells’ tour. And I went to the Long Beach Arena, and I met with the guys.
“I believe that the main issue at that time was when I saw the guys, they didn’t look very healthy. I think it was a very dark period for them. And I had heard rumors of drugs and stuff like that. I was no saint, but I kept it in check, and they just didn’t look healthy to me. I didn’t see a healthy path for myself. Sure enough, Gar Samuelson died [in 1999], and he was an amazing drummer.”
Lombardo parted ways with Slayer after their first release, Reign in Blood, because he wasn’t benefitting financially from the band.
“I wasn’t making any money. I figured if we were gonna be doing this professionally, on a major label, I wanted my rent and utilities paid,” he said at the time.
It was during this period when Lombardo contemplated joining forces with Megadeth. However, health concerns aside, he was also worried about the close relationship the bands shared.
“Megadeth and Slayer played many times together, and so yeah, I just didn’t see things go well, and then I, of course, rethought my position, and with a little bit of coercion from Rick Rubin, I returned [to Slayer],” he shared in his interview with Speak N Destroy.
Lombardo departed the band again in 1992 so that he could be present for his child’s birth, before returning in 2001. However, he eventually parted ways again with Slayer in 2013 over an alleged pay and contract dispute.
Since then, Lombardo has joined a slew of other bands, such as Suicidal Tendencies and Misfits, for both one-off shows as well as to record entire albums.