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Divorce Papers Show that Dave Lombardo Made More Than $200,000 in 2011 — Most of it From Slayer

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Dave Lombardo Re-Tweets

Former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo made headlines yesterday when he alleged that in 2011, he only made $67,000 from touring with Slayer — despite the fact that Kerry King and Tom Araya each made $114,000. But a quick glance at D.X. Ferris’ excellent new book, Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years, suggested that Lombardo’s figure might very well be way off-base. Ferris, a former Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Reporter of the Year, was the first writer to uncover the public records from Dave Lombardo’s divorce. The files provided an unprecedented look into Slayer’s opaque business structure. And although Ferris quoted some of the most enlightening information in the new book, after Lombardo’s claim yesterday  — which, to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, is true from a certain perspective — Ferris re-opened his files again for MetalSucks, and provided some further details about Slayer’s controversial payroll to Lombardo.

The papers reveal that while Lombardo was not an equal partner in Slayer (which is to say that, yes, he was,  technically, a hired employee serving at Slayer’s pleasure),  he was being cut in on merch sales — an unusual accommodation for a musician who isn’t an equal partner. As Ferris says: “I’m sympathetic to Lombardo. He deserves more Slayer money. But he was making very good money with Slayer.”

Here are some of the specifics from the divorce papers:

-In 2010, Lombardo’s Federal 1040 form declared an adjusted gross income of $174,836.

-In 2011, Lombardo made a good bit more than $200,000. Most of it was Slayer money. Payouts from Slayer included:

  • $106,650.00 Global Merch Advance
  • $ 17,776.31 Adjusted Payment for South American Tour
  • $ 14,349.22 from a tour with Rob Zombie (a dozen dates in under 3 weeks)
  • $ 8,505.35 in other “Merch Royalties”
  • $ 7,405.23 for Australian Tour 2/23/2011-3/8/2011
  • $ 6,699.18 for the summer European Tour
  • $ 5,130.45 Retail Touring Merch Royalties
  • $ 8,315.88 as a payout listed under “Royalties” as “The Big 4 Show”

As well as additional payments.

Elsewhere, the records reveal that Slayer paid Lombardo $5,000 a week while on tour, plus all his expenses and travel costs. In 2011, Slayer spent at least 15 weeks on the road, plus appearances at assorted festivals like Fun Fun Fun, plus and two Big Four shows (one in NYC and one in California). That would suggest he made at least $75,000 touring with the band year.

The papers also reveal when Slayer was off the road, Lombardo was paid $4,000 per month as a retainer.

Because of the divorce, approximately half of Lombardo’s income went to his ex-wife, Teresa. This may account for the drummer’s lowball estimate of income received from touring in 2011.

Still, even if we take Lombardo at his word that he only made $67,000 from touring with Slayer in 2011, these documents make it clear that, overrall, Slayer were paying him far more.

I strongly encourage you to read Ferris’ Slayer 66 2/3: The Jeff & Dave Years for an even more detailed look at the history of the band and the eventual falling-out between Lombardo and the other members of Slayer. It is a must-read for all metal fans.

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