DAVE LOMBARDO, WITH DEAD CROSS, SET TO PERFORM ALONG WITH WHISKEY & KNIVES AND HARTER ATTACK
By Noe Gutierrez
Distinguished drummer Dave Lombardo has performed at Coachella twice; once with The Locust and again with Fantomas and Mike Patton. He performed at the Empire Polo Grounds with Slayer as part of The Big Four show with Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax in 2011. His former band PHILM performed at Schmidy’s Tavern in early 2014. If you ask Lombardo, he will tell you he has few ties to the Coachella Valley. We believe otherwise. Lombardo has had a huge influence on desert musicians and metal heads throughout his career. Coachella Valley Weekly spoke with Lombardo via telephone from his home in North Hollywood to discuss his new band Dead Cross and their show on Saturday 1/16/16 at Schmidy’s Tavern 72-286 Highway 111 in Palm Desert, CA. Entry fee is $15.
The show will honor the late drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor of Motorhead. With the recent loss of rock icon Lemmy Kilmister, this show has taken on an extra special meaning for all the musicians involved. As Lombardo puts it, “I’ve been greatly influenced by Motorhead.” Dead Cross will be supported by Whiskey and Knives and Harter Attack.
Dead Cross is Lombardo on drums, Justin Pearson (THE LOCUST, RETOX) on bass, Gabe Serbian (THE LOCUST, RETOX, ex-CATTLE DECAPITATION) on vocals, one of Lombardo’s favorite drummers, and Michael Crain (RETOX) on guitar. In describing the music, Lombardo is direct and makes it clear cut. “It’s brutal music. It’s hardcore, it’s a mixture of thrash punk and there’s a little bit of grind core in there. It’s very fast and very much in the original Dave Lombardo style. Thrash was born from punk. Anybody that knows thrash knows that it came from that style.” In listening to some live footage, the band is enraged with the status quo and their music spells it out clearly.
“Oh fuck yeah, we’re pissed. When shit went down with Paris it hit home. That could have been any of my friends. Although I didn’t know the guys in Eagles of Death Metal, it pisses me off the way shit is in the world. There’s no better way to express my anger than to put together a punk band.”
“I went ahead full-force and I started a new band with the help of producer Ross Robinson (KORN, DEFTONES, SEPULTURA). It all came together at the perfect time. It wasn’t planned and it wasn’t calculated. It was something that happened out of urgency. PHILM requested a hiatus. It (PHILM) was a lot of fun and I was happy and proud to have produced two albums with the title of producer. I had shows booked with PHILM and when we weren’t able to commit these guys (DEAD CROSS) stepped up. We wrote music and kicked ass. I’m very happy and looking forward to releasing this album…and yes it’s angry.” The band continues to record and will release a single as soon as possible, likely in the next couple of weeks. The album should follow with a possible mid-May 2016 release.
Lombardo is of Cuban descent and pays homage to his upbringing. “I came to this country when I was two years old. I consider myself full American. In the home I was raised it was full-on Cuban. The culture inside the home was Cuban; the lifestyle, the food and the drink. I have a Cuban mother and father. I was able to listen to music influenced by Cuban drumming and percussion. One brother enjoyed rock music the other rhythm and blues. It influenced me greatly. I believe all of that shaped my drumming style and my approach to music.”
Lombardo plans to be fully entrenched in the National Association of Music Merchants (N.A.M.M.) weekend 1/21 to 1/24 and is performing at Bonzo Bash Jamm, a tribute to Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, at M3 LIVE on 1/22. The NAMM Show is a trade-only event that draws more than 95,000 members of the music products industry. Lombardo is endorsed by some of the most prominent drum gear companies. “I’ve been with Paiste cymbals since the beginning of my professional career. I released a signature ride cymbal developed from the cymbal used to record “Reign in Blood.” I use Promark drum sticks and Evans drum heads. I recently celebrated my one year anniversary of my return to Tama drums. Prior to the last year they supported me for many years before I defected for one year. Lastly, I also endorse coffee.”
Dead Cross has a free show at The Slidebar Rock N Roll Kitchen in Fullerton, CA on Thursday 1/21/16.
Whiskey and Knives
The desert rock band Whiskey and Knives is a warning. The band shared that a former guitarist came up with the name during a camping trip where the question was posed, “What if a bear tries to attack us? We have nothing to protect ourselves except for this bottle of whiskey and some knives.” From that day in 2007 the band was conceived. Its line-up consists of Jon Arnold on guitar and background vocals, Jason Baseley on lead vocals, Mike Smith on bass and Alfredo Hernandez on drums. Coachella Valley Weekly recently visited the band in their rehearsal space in Thousand Palms to talk about their unique music release plans and to listen to their new music.
This is their third time performing alongside a Dave Lombardo-led project. Hernandez reveals, “To me, Dave is one of the baddest drummers around!” Hernandez also praises the impact Motorhead has had on musicians. “Motorhead was another level where people got influenced. For me, growing up, it was The Ramones, Devo and Motorhead.” Whiskey and Knives will be performing the Motorhead classic “Tear You Down” as a tribute to Philthy Phil and Lemmy.
Each member of Whiskey and Knives pointed to Baseley when asked about the bands origin and its nucleus. Baseley initially began writing songs for the band during its inception. If any older songs are performed they are strictly ones penned by Baseley. Enter Smith.
Smith reached out to Baseley through an advertisement posted at Musicians Outlet in Palm Desert. Smith shared about his preparation, “I learned from Uncle Paul in Desert Hot Springs. I was the kid (Mowgli) from the Jungle Book in how I learned how to play the bass. I also learned a lot when I was in a band called Traces.”
Before Arnold joined there were two guitarists in the mix. Once Arnold merged, it was quickly realized that only he would be needed by virtue of his guitar skills and prowess. Arnold and his band members joked about “taming the tiger” given his credentials in speed and thrash metal. After watching their rehearsal it is evident that Arnold has a grasp on when and where to infuse his background. Arnold and Hernandez were band mates in Family Butcher for 15 years. According to Arnold, he and Hernandez were born on the same day. Hernandez would not confirm or deny this. They hold each other in high regard. Arnold stated about Hernandez, “He’s better than a drum machine!”
When the band was looking for a drummer, Arnold called Hernandez, who had this to say, “I saw them at J. Dees Landing one night. I really liked Jason’s singing. It reminded me of the early punk bands. I liked Mike’s bass playing. When Jon joined, it was easy. I’m gonna go where I’m familiar. We played in Butcher for so many years. If he’s in, I’m gonna check it out.”
Whiskey and Knives plan to release the first of four EPs entitled Volume IV in the spring of 2016. They will release a total of four EPs in the next two years. Recorded at Scott Reeder’s The Sanctuary recording studio, the four EPs include the unequivocal punk metal, mixed with hard, melodic, slow, heavy, fast and progressive sound that is Whiskey and Knives. Each EP will include five songs. Artwork for the album is in the works as well as a video for the song “Sancha Mirage” that will be shot at the private bowl “The Yard” in Palm Springs courtesy of Jeremiah Risk.
During rehearsal it is visible that the band is cohesive and has developed a tight musical unit. Hernandez proclaims, “The chemistry is finally there and all four volumes have been written.” They continue to write songs organically during rehearsal. Baseley has a knack for riffs, although he acknowledges that he is better off focusing on his vocals. Even Smith has written his first song. “I wish we recorded the last one we came up with. Every time I say, hey man, that’s the baddest song I’ve ever heard. And then we come up with another one and I didn’t think we could top the previous one.”
The Reeder Connection
Reeder and Hernandez’ collaborations in Across the River and Kyuss are well documented. Hernandez is cognizant that he had not played with Reeder in 20 years. He admitted that he didn’t think too much about it but was aware of their history. “I’m happy to have recorded again with my friend.” Reeder graciously performed on three songs. Recently Arnold, Hernandez and Reeder participated in a 45 minute improvisational psychedelic blues jam for a documentary to be featured on the History Channel.
Hernandez is looking forward to touring with Whiskey and Knives. “Once the EP comes out we’ll do a west coast tour from San Diego to Seattle. In the summer we’ll mix and master the 2nd EP at Reeder’s to release before the end of 2016.” Arnold jokingly states, “By the time we’re done with all four EPs we can do a greatest hits album and then a ‘Best Of” ha ha!”
If you haven’t met Arnold, we implore you to have a conversation with him to see how much fun he is having with this band. We’ll leave you with a gem from the accomplished axe man. “If you give ‘em all you got and then everyone knows everything you got, you don’t got nothing else to give, so just give a little bit and let ‘em want more, more and more and you can stretch that shit out. That’s my plan.”
Originally from New Jersey, Rich Harter is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Harter Attack. He has been in California for eight years and has collaborated with members of Anthrax and Megadeth. Joining him in Harter Attack are Sharlene Ayestaran on lead/rhythm guitar, lead/backgound vocals, Alfredo Hernandez on drums and Brenden Boeger on bass. Harter describes their sound as modern metal with a splash of thrash. “I have a unique way of playing guitar that is extreme, fast, and accurate. Visualize a Flamenco guitarist on electric going nuts playing thrash.” Their newest album will be released in the next two months.