[UPDATE] According to a post on MetalSucks, one of their contributors has written a book titled Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years and says Lombardo’s number might not be accurate. According to the author, D.X. Ferris, Lombardo had to support his ex-wife Teresa after their divorce with $100,000 annually, as he was apparently getting paid $200,000 a year before leaving Slayer. So it’s seeming more likely that Lombardo was off by a bit with his original statement.
It’s well-enough documented that Dave Lombardo left Slayer early last year by questioning theband’s business practices. While in North Ireland last week while hosting a drum clinic, Lombardo was asked about his split with Slayer. He revealed that he hired an accountant and confronted the band with an attorney, showing not just that he wasn’t making enough money, but the rest of the band wasn’t either.
“I did my best to try to keep it together, but I couldn’t go on, man,” Dave said (see video below). “I had to step out, because you can’t be shackled like that; nobody can take advantage of another person like that anymore. I did it for too many years, and I held my breath. Red flags kept going on in my books. It’s, like, ‘Really? I’m supposed to make more money? Why am I on the same salary? I’m making the exact same thing I’ve been making the past two years. And this is back in 2004. So I knew something was up. And I tried my best to work it out with the guys. I brought Tom into the picture. I had Tom in a hotel room with me talking to my attorney, and my attorney was telling him everything their management company had been doing to them for the past 30 freakin’ years. And we had an accountant, a forensic accountant, ready to go in there and look at the stuff.”
“Tom got bought out. Management flipped him over a couple of hundred grand — who knows how much? — and Kerry [King, guitar] as well, to keep quiet and go against Lombardo. So they turned their backs on me. And on the last day, when I’m at rehearsal with them — and I saved it all the way until the end — I said, ‘Guys, we need a new business plan. You guys have been on the same business plan after 30 years. Now I’m an income participant. In other words, I ‘m a percentage holder.’ So if you’re a percentage holder, you know, you have the right, and you’re contracted as a percentage holder, you have the right to see where all the expenses are going. Because here you are getting paid off of net, and then out of 4.4 million dollars, the band gets 400 thousand dollars. Where’s the four million? And that’s just 2011. [It goes to] lawyers, accountant and the manager.
For the past 30 years, they were doing that to the guys. And they took my information… I’ll never forget the day, I just said, ‘Guys, look at this. This came from your accountant.’ And it showed all the money. It wasn’t showing where the money was going, it was just showing ‘gross,’ ‘expenses,’ ‘net.’ And out of that net, I made, on tour, in 2011, 67 thousand dollars. Kerry and Tom, that was about 114 thousand dollars they made on tour. So if you did about 60 shows, divide that up between 60 shows… Anybody have a calculator? No, not 60… Let’s say about 90 shows per year: 30 in the spring, 30 in the summer and 30 shows in the winter, in the fall. So you break that up per show… Really? It’s disgusting. I’m not gonna… I bust my ass up there playing drums. I mean, I am just sweating, I’m beat. And for the guy in the Hollywood Hills, for his facials, his manicures… No, I’m not gonna play for that. No.
“So, guys, I did everything I could. All I can say, right now my schedule is open. I can do whatever I want whenever I want. I can go over to Europe, do some clinics, hang out with you guys.”
Wow. So as recently as 2011, Lombardo only made $67,000, and Kerry and Tom $114,000 each? That’s solid income for a mid-level touring band, but Slayer has been around for 30 years and consistently sells out midsize venues. That’s almost shockingly low for all parties involved, and if what Lombardo’s saying is true, that still seems pretty unfair for everyone. Dave made less than $1000 per show, and the other two only a little more than that. Again, this is Lombardo’s word against the band’s, but it seems like it’s coming more from disappointment than actually having an axe to grind against the band.