Black Collar Workers

Slayer Paid Dave Lombardo HOW MUCH in 2011?!?!


Lombardo and King

Update, 11:oo a.m.: According to  Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years, the new book by MetalSucks contributor D.X. Ferris, it’s unlikely that Lombardo only made $67k from touring in 2011. According to Ferris’ book, divorce papers filed after Lombardo split with his then-wife, Teresa, state that “Dave must continue to support Teresa at a level which she is accustomed to” — about $100,000 annually. The papers claim that Lombardo was averaging a salary of $200,000 per year towards the end of his tenure with Slayer. Writes Ferris: “Lombardo divorce records signed by Lombardo’s attorney (but not Lombardo) revealed that Slayer had owed Lombardo $194,027” for 2012. How much of this income was from touring as opposed to, say, merch (of which Lombardo was definitely getting a cut), but it seems fair to assume that Lombardo’s figures are off. Original story follows below.

Dave Lombardo continues to pull no punches when discussing his former bandmates in Slayer. His latest shot at the band? During a clinic in North Ireland last week (see video below), the legendary drummer alleged that in 2011, he only made $67,000, while Kerry King and Tom Araya each made $114,000. (In case you’re curious: according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income in the United States that year was $50,054.)

Let’s break it down a little further. According to Slayer fan site Slayerized, the band played sixty-two shows in 2011. So Lombardo made about $1,080 per show that year. Which would great… if he were the drummer for almost any metal band besides Slayer. ‘Cause Slayer are one of the biggest metal bands in the world. They played multiple Big Four shows in 2011. They use the merchandising scene from Spaceballs as their Bible. When they play an “intimate show,” it’s for 750 people who paid £35 — about fifty bucks — each. The smallest venue I can ever remember seeing the band play was the Hammerstein Ballroom, and the capacity there is 2,200. 

Now, maybe those sums just speak to the state of the music industry in general. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I would have guessed that the members of Slayer made way more than $114,000 each in 2011 anyway. (And apparently Lombardo thought so, too — he says that although Slayer made $4.4 million in 2011, the band members themselves only got $400,000. Even if you factor in fees for managers, lawyers, publicists, road crews, etc., that number seems off, doesn’t it?)

Nonetheless, one has to wonder why King and Araya were taking home almost twice as much as Lombardo… unless they considered him not an equal, but an employee. And, honestly, I don’t have a problem with treating bandmates as employees when the circumstances call for it! I assume Axl Rose makes way more per show than anyone else in the current incarnation of Guns N’ Roses, and that makes sense, because no one is forking over money to see Frank Ferrer and Chris Pitman. But surely, Lombardo should be considered more than an employee in the Slayer camp, shouldn’t he?

Here’s the complete transcription of what Lombardo said, courtesy of Lambgoat

“I did my best to try to keep it together, but I couldn’t go on, man. 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 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.”

…and here’s the video itself:


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