And he admits his band don’t know when guitarist Jeff Hanneman will be able to return after being sidelined with a near-fatal spider bite.
When Ulrich was rushed to hospital ahead of the UK’s Download festival in 2004, Lombardo was one of the musicians who covered for him. The Metallica man later thanked him and called him “the best drummer in the world.”
Now the Slayer member has returned the kind words. He tells Metal Paths: “Me and Lars, we get along great. I don’t like people talking shit about Lars. They have to stop.
“There are a lot of fans out there who like to say a lot of bad things about him. He’s a very good friend of mine and I don’t like it.”
He adds that relations are strong between all of the Big 4 bands – who shared a stage for the first time together in 2010 – namechecking Metallica and Megadeth frontman James Hetfield and Dave Mustaine.
“I’m having a really nice time with Lars and James,” says Lombardo. “Dave visited us in our dressing room. I go visit them. It’s a very, very nice friendship and relationship.”
Slayer axeman Hanneman lost most of the flesh in his arm after contracting necrotising fasciitis from a spider in February 2011. His bandmates later revealed he’d been close to death.
Despite a guest appearance late last year his band have been touring with a stand-in. Their upcoming dates will be covered by Exodus man Gary Holt, who’s covered during most of Hanneman’s time off.
Lombardo says: “Gary is an amazing player. We love him and we really appreciate all the help he’s given us while Jeff is getting better.”
Asked when their own guitarist is expected to resume duties he replies: “I really don’t know. Nobody knows – until he feels better and the doctor says ‘go’.”
-Classic Rock Magazine