Empire State Bastard has revealed former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo was involved with his extreme metal band – and why they brought him to Greggs.
Empire State Bastard is the new extreme metal project created by Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil and former Oceansize frontman Mike Vennart, and features Lombardo on drums alongside Bitch Falcon bassist Naomi Macleod.
In a recent interview for NME’s In Conversation series, Neil revealed that the pair spent two weeks talking about drummers who could “play like Dave Lombardo” before one day during the pandemic they said: “Did we get the address fucking for Dave Lombardo and us. Will you send him an email?”
“Within 24 hours he was back, ‘This is fucking great, what were you thinking? We didn’t even know him, but we ended up having a phone relationship for a year or so, ” continues Neil.
“He understood perfectly what we wanted to do with this album and with this group. He’s very busy and they offer him a lot of things, but as soon as he came back and said: ‘Yes this is special, I’m going to do it, I. ‘I’m going to play with you and record the album’, That’s when we said, ‘Okay, this is fucking happening.
“We had to change gears, because if Dave Lombardo says it’s a good mix of songs, you know you’ve hit the nail on the head! We’ve been doing this for two decades, but he makes us want to do it for another two decades,” says Neil. “We’re not used to it yet, are we?”
“Not at all,” continued Vennart. “It’s one thing to be on stage, that’s quite tough, but you want to try to go to Greggs with it. It’s like, ‘What is this?'”
Neil added: “Mike was in every fucking supermarket in Todmorden where we practiced – Lidl, Aldi, Morrissons – looking for the fucking Brylcreem!”
The couple then revealed that they took Lombardo down the central aisle of Lidl. “He was like, ‘Wow, this place has everything! She dated an organ grinder,'” Vennart said before Neil added: “You can buy a wedding dress and some witches. Welcome to the Whales.” We wondered why there weren’t many fresh fruits and vegetables and we had to explain: Those days are long gone, Dave.”
Empire State Bastard is rounded out by Bitch Falcon’s Naomi Macleod on bass. “She is the glue of this organization,” Vennart told NME. “She’s absolutely amazing. She handles so well and plays so bad, man: so heavy, so strong, so brutal.”
Neil added: “Mike has known Naomi for a while and knew she was the perfect person to play these songs. We can be a bit lighthearted, but she has that stoicism that soothed us when we were nervous and the adrenaline was pumping. out after the concert she also did he was crying himself.”
“It also gives soul to the music, and that’s why I think this music is special,” he continued. “If you don’t listen to a lot of great music, you might have trouble finding your soul in it, but this record and the music we play is full of it. We’re lucky.”
Elsewhere in the interview, the pair discussed debut album “Rivers Of Heresy” and the future of the band, while Neil gave an update on his side projects Marmaduke Duke and Trippie Toe.
The band will play Glastonbury Festival next weekend as part of a European festival tour. Check out the dates below:
21-25 – United Kingdom, Glastonbury, Earache Takeover
07 – UK, 2000trees Festival
Empire State Bastard’s Biffy Side Project Playing Live With Slayer’s Dave Lombardo For The First Time
Watch the live video of Dave Lombardo’s Empire State Bastard ‘Harvest’: “Bastards in the Wild!”
21 – Norway, Malakoff Rockfestival
02 – 05 – Germany, Wacken Open Air
17 – United Kingdom, ArcTanGent