Dave Lombardo is an incredibly busy guy. The former Slayer drummer is currently an active member of Misfits, Mr. Bungle, Suicidal Tendencies, Dead Cross and a new grindcore act called Empire State Bastard, and on top of all that, he's gearing up to release his first-ever solo album next month. So yeah, the maestro has his hands full, and sadly, his packed schedule means that he'll have to put his involvement with Testament on the back-burner for the time being.
Last spring, Lombardo re-joined the Bay Area thrash vets as their new full-time drummer, replacing two-time drummer Gene Hoglan — who played with the group in the mid-Nineties and then again from 2011 onward. Lombardo previously played with Testament for a brief two-year stint in the Nineties, which included laying drums down on their 1999 opus, the Gathering.
As planned, Lombardo toured with Testament for all of 2022, and it seemed to fans that he was all set to play on Testament's next full-length, which the band have been tentatively teasing for a late 2023 release date. However, in a new interview with Blabbermouth, Lombardo revealed that he's actually sitting out all of Testament's 2023 tour plans, and his position within the band is currently up in the air.
"I'm focusing on the Misfits, Mr. Bungle, Empire State Bastard," Lombardo said of his 2023 touring plans. "And in 2022, when I was on tour with Testament, I had stuff lined up that was starting to build for 2023. With Testament, we were having several scheduling conflicts. I couldn't back out of them. I won't be joining them on their upcoming tours for 2023. My focus is on Bungle, who I've recorded an album with back in 2019 and we did a live album. Empire State Bastard, I recorded an album for them in 2020. That's going to finally see the light of day later this year."
One of Lombardo's other bands, the devilish industrial project Satanic Planet, recently announced a few shows, but Lombardo said he won't be joining the band for those. When pressed on his current position in Testament, Lombardo admitted that he's not sure if he'll continue to remain an official member.
"I don't know, because everything is starting to snowball with Mr. Bungle and Empire State Bastard and the Misfits," Lombardo said. "I've been with the Misfits since 2016. Testament is a well-oiled machine. They're always touring and releasing albums. To try to find that space or that time to release something … I don't know."
The interviewer asked if that means Lombardo's status in Testament is "uncertain," and the prolific drummer agreed with that characterization.
"Yes. It's wait-and-see. I can't guarantee anything because of my commitments. I did fulfill my contractual commitment for 2022, which was quite extensive. We did one of the longest tours I have done. It was like seven weeks in Europe, which was great. I really needed to get out there and build my chops after the pandemic. That was a lifesaver. We'll see.
"The relationship is good. The doors are open. The communication is there. I told them that I was seeing some clashes coming up. This was in the first week of January when I reached out to Eric [Peterson, guitarist] and told him. This has been brewing for a while. Actually, I saw it in November/December of last year. I started seeing, 'Oh no. This is going to happen. This is not going to happen.' It's very tricky."