In a brand new interview with U.K.'s Metal Hammer magazine, SLAYER's Kerry King and Tom Araya were asked if the tragic passing of the band's co-founding guitarist, Jeff Hanneman, in 2013, had any impact on their relationship with original SLAYER drummer Dave Lombardo.
"Nah," Kerry responded. "That's why I've never spoken about it in the press. All of the horseshit that's been said about me and Tom or whatever... for me not to respond to something, you've got to know that it's pretty asinine."
Added Tom: "I hate to say it, but it wasn't the first time [Dave had] put us in that position. In the end, he waited until we got on a plane to Australia [in February 2013, to play Soundwave], and then he's on the Internet, laying it all out for the world to see, when it was nobody's business but ours. We found out about it 16 hours after the fact. That should give you an idea of the personality involved. If it wasn't deliberate, it certainly came across that way."
Asked if the door is forever closed on SLAYER playing with Lombardo again, Kerry replied: "I would imagine. I've learned a lot ... [Laughs] I learn something new every day, let me tell you. But I never say never, because I thought that door had slammed shut the first time. But is it shut today? Yeah, that lock's on there pretty good."
Lombardo sat out SLAYER's Australian tour in February/March 2013 due to a contract dispute with the other members of the group. Filling in for him was Jon Dette (TESTAMENT, ANTHRAX). Dave has since been replaced in the band by Paul Bostaph, who was SLAYER's drummer from 1992 until 2001 and recorded four albums with the group.
Lombardo released a statement in February 2013 revealing that he "discovered 90 percent of SLAYER's tour income was being deducted as expenses, including the professional fees paid to management, costing the band millions of dollars and leaving 10 percent or less to split" among the four members of the group. He added: "In my opinion, this is not the way a band's business should operate. I tried rectifying it by letting my bandmates know, and Tom and I hired auditors to figure out what happened, but I was denied access to detailed information and the necessary backup documents. I was told that I would not be paid until I signed a longform contract which gave me no written assurance of how much or on what basis management would deduct commissions, nor did it provide me access to the financial budgets or records for review. It also forbade me to do interviews or make statements having to do with the band, in effect a gagging order."
In a November 2013 interview with Minneapolis City Pages, Araya stated about Lombardo: "Dave left the band originally in '91 or '92, After that, we brought in Jon Dette for two years and then we hooked up with Paul, who did four really great albums with us. Then he decided to move on. Our manager hooked us up with Dave again and when we were putting together [2006's] 'Christ Illusion', Dave offered to help out. We wanted to make things fair for him, so we offered him a contract with the band. Most recently, we were offered to tour Australia. When we were rehearsing, he seemed to do a 180 and said some things that kind of upset me and Kerry. Kerry just looked at him and said, 'If you feel that way, then why are we even rehearsing for this tour?' So we wrote him a letter and said, 'Listen, we need to know if you're going to do the shows in Australia. If you're not, we need to do something about that.' We didn't get a reply. We were put in a position where we had to do something, so we got Jon Dette to play with us again. After what happened with the Australia tour, we made the decision to move forward and make him aware that we no longer needed his services. He was really upset about that. He wrote a rant on Facebook. He said some things that he shouldn't have. It really upset us. And it upset me. I was fuming. I couldn't believe that he would throw that out in the court of public opinion. After that, Jeff, me and Kerry all got on the phone and talked about it. And Paul's name came up. It was a sure thing with Paul. He'd been in the band for over 12 years. So we gave him a call to see if he was interested and he was more than happy to. It was a no-brainer. He's an amazing drummer."