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Australia and the Missing Drummer Epidemic

When I think about Australia, a few things come to mind. Amazing beaches, the Great Barrier Reef and a whole shitload of animals that were put on earth with the express intent of murdering humans. Seriously, how did all of that scary shit end up in one place?

That being said, one thing that always escapes my mind is just how goddamn far away Australia is from…..well…. everything. Especially for those of us here in North America. If we wanna go party down under, it’s a huge undertaking just to get there! That really sucks, because our distant Aussie neighbors have some pretty badass music festivals every year.

But it’s not only the “average Joe” that can’t make it down to Australia for the awesomeness. Even famous musicians are having a hard time getting down there these days. Especially drummers. In the past week, both Travis Barker (Blink-182) and Dave Lombardo (Slayer) announced that they wouldn’t be touring with their respective bands. Even though both are incredibly talented drummers, the similarities between their situations end there.

Four years ago, Travis Barker was involved in a plane crash in which he and one other person were the only people to escape with their lives. The crash caused Barker to develop a deep fear of flying (no shit) and he hasen’t been on a plane since. There was some initial hope that Barker would join Blink in Australia this year, but it just didn’t work out. Regarding his absence from Blink-182’s Australian tour, Travis Barker posted this to his Facebook account a few days back:

“I’m sorry to announce i won’t be joining Blink-182 on this Australian tour. I still haven’t gotten over the horrific events that took place the last time i flew when my plane crashed and 4 people were killed, two being my best friends. I gave the band my blessing to take another drummer if they still wanted to do the tour without me. I hope to come to Australia again some day perhaps by ship if need be. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a boat that worked with the schedule this time around. Once again I’m sorry to all the fans.”

Filling in for Barker on the Australian tour will be Bad Religion’s Brooks Wackerman (who has also done some awesome stuff with Tenecious D and Korn.) Although Barker is a rare talent, Brooks can no doubt keep up behind the kit. Check out this solo he did with Tenetious D:

Dave Lombardo’s absence from Slayer is a slightly more complicated (and definitely more depressing affair.) Like Travis, Dave took to his personal Facebook account to explain his absence from Slayer’s tour down under. He writes:

“I want to personally apologize to all of our fans in Australia who have bought tickets for the tour expecting to see me in my usual place on the drums.
So that you all know the truth, as of the end of the business day on February 14th, I was notified that I would not be drumming for the tour in Australia. I’m saddened, and to be honest I am shocked by the situation.
Last year, I discovered 90% 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% or less to split amongst the four of us. In my opinion, this is not the way a band’s business should operate. I tried rectifying it by letting my band mates know, and Tom and I hired auditors to figure out what happened, but I was denied access to detailed information and the necessary back up documents.
I spent the Christmas and New Year holidays realizing I had toured all over the world in 2012, but yet, had not been paid (except a small advance) or provided a proper accounting for a full year’s sweat and blood. On top of this, I was told that I would not be paid until I signed a long form 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.
Last Monday, I sat down with Kerry and Tom to rehearse for Australia and to propose a new business model that I felt was the best way forward for Slayer to confidently protect itself so we could do what we do best . . . play for the fans. Kerry made it clear he wasn’t interested in making changes and said if I wanted to argue the point, he would find another drummer. On Thursday, I arrived at rehearsals at 1 pm as scheduled, but Kerry did not show. Rather, at 6:24 pm I received an email from the lawyers saying I was being replaced for the Australian dates.
I remain hopeful that we can resolve our issues. But once again, I sincerely apologize to all of our fans in Australia who spent their money expecting to see the 3 of us original Slayer members. I look forward to seeing you in the future.

Sincerely, Dave Lombardo”

Slayer confirmed earlier today that Lombardo will not be touring with them in Australia saying that Jon Dette from Testament would instead be behind the kit. They also disputed any allegations of financial misgivings, but fail to expand on the situation further. Read the Slayer statement here.

I’m not too sure what this means for the future of Slayer, but it can’t be good. I honestly can’t imagine these guys continuing on much longer anyways, nevermind auditioning for a new drummer. I hate to say it, but I think we are seeing the end of Slayer. It really just goes to show that music is a business and money makes that world turn. Even if you are in Slayer. Fucking lame.

So what have we learned from all of this? Let’s see….Australia is far away and hates drummers, Travis doesn’t want to fly, Brooks is an awesome drummer, and old guys love to argue about money. My advice? If you are a drummer and plan on going to Australia anytime soon, you had better make sure you’ve got your shit together before you go. You just might not come back.

What do you think about Barker sitting out of the Blink tour? How about Lombardo getting the boot from Slayer? Leave me a comment below or let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

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About the author:
Has 290 Articles

I am absolutely and unabashedly in love with music. If I could eat a huge bowl of songs for breakfast every morning, I totally would. I'm obsessive about categorization (don't mess with my chronological or alphabetical) and can't stand an unorganized iTunes library. Outside of music and writing, I love baseball (go Rockies), coffee, corgi's and going on fun trips with my girlfriend!

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