Dave Dishes It Out Again
CoC chats Grip Inc.'s Dave Lombardo
by: Adrian Bromley
Before we even get into this Chaotic Chat Session, I have to be perfectly honest with you. I was not really into or even impressed with Grip Inc.'s debut album, _The Power of Inner Strength_, when it came out in 1995. While the band was the new outfit for ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, I felt that the four-piece lacked something within their music. While it was intense and delivered solid thrusts of anger and strength at certain points of the record, the music seemed monotonous and rather stale. Needless to say, upon hearing of the second effort, _Nemesis_, surfacing, I was anticipating a somewhat similar outing. Man, was I wrong. The band's latest effort, _Nemesis_, is a ball-busting, hard-hitting ride of metal groove. The groove and variety of song structures, plus throw in vocalist Gus Chamber's rawness in his vocals, has taken the shape of an immense music machine. Sure, there seems to be more of a groove here than rip-roarin' metal riffs, but those who have heard _TPoIS_ and this new record will clearly see the difference in releases and be happier that Grip Inc. (now a three-piece with guitarist/producer Waldemar Sorychta rounding out the band) cleaned up and condensed their sound into something worth cranking. Chronicles of Chaos caught up with Grip Inc. founder/drummer Dave Lombardo to talk about _Nemesis_ and how life has been two years down the road for Grip Inc.

CoC: With all the press, touring, and work that came along with the first record, what kind of emphasis or work did you take into the recording of _Nemesis_?

Dave Lombardo: _TPoIS_ was such a heavy, aggressive, in-yer-face kind of record, and then we were in the studio thinking about what we were going to do with this record. I wanted to set the tone and try to make the new record more groove-oriented. A little bit funky but still heavy. I wanted the band to be heard as a band. And as it goes along we try to continue branching out. We already have two songs for the next record now and that is going to be a screwed up, dysfunctional record with lots of time changes but still sounding like Grip Inc. What we want to do is with every album to set a different tone. We just want to be able to play all the different material live and have all the styles take you through different mood swings.

CoC: From the critics point of view, some people enjoyed the work of Grip Inc. while others had their own opinions about the band, whether it be leaving Slayer to do this or the sound you had created for the band. What kind of response have you heard from fans, friends, musicians, or even the label, Metal Blade?

DL: Everything regarding the record has been great. People around the world are loving it. Europe has been great for us for the most part, too. Except England. In England they don't really like us and I think that has something to do with Gus leaving the country and trying to start a life in the United States. There are three major magazines over there: Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, and Terrorizer. We got a hell of a review in one of the underground magazines over there but in Kerrang! and Metal Hammer, they didn't have too many favorable things to say. I am gonna make toilet paper out of those reviews. I'm gonna let them know, 'I wipe my ass with what you say.' <laughs>

CoC: With your years of experience touring with Slayer and playing the last few years with Grip Inc., do you feel that your musicianship has changed?

DL: Definitely. My musicianship goes in cycles and constantly changes, and I like that because I am able to experiment with every different style. I am able to express the aggressive Dave Lombardo style with bits and pieces of music that I have picked up on. This process of listening to various types of music allows me to bring those ideas into Grip Inc. and make it its own thing.

CoC: Does music and song writing come a lot easier now?

DL: Grip Inc. is like a writing machine now. Waldemar and myself can get together at anytime to write music and it still is fresh and sounding like Grip Inc. Writing is more enjoyable now for us.

CoC: How has the last few years been for you with Grip Inc. and life in general?

DL: 1996 for me personally was the worst year of my life. A lot of things happened that year. We had recorded the record and we, as musicians, were learning to deal and communicate with each other. There was a lot of turmoil. Now in 1997, it seems much better for us and we are tighter. We are a close-knit family now. The three of us are the brains of the group and if something goes wrong, we are all to blame and not just one individual. We all work off each other, provide input, and other useful ideas to keep the band tight.

CoC: The thing that I think sets this album apart from the last record is the ability for all the musicians involved in the making of the record to be able to add their own input and ideas, and not be afraid to try or experiment. Do you agree?

DL: Yes. I find that when you try to keep a musician into a certain style or mold, they can only do so much, but if you sit back and let them take control of what they want to bring to a song or a project, their musical ideas start to flourish. That is what I wanted from both Gus and Waldemar. I wanted that. Anything that they felt we could bring to Grip Inc., I told them to bring it to the music.

CoC: When you started Grip Inc., a lot of people saw it as the 'ex-drummer' of Slayer's band, and that plagued you for your debut release and pretty much within the press. It has been a couple of years now since your departure from Slayer: Do you think with _Nemesis_ that you have severed completely any affiliation with Slayer?

DL: I believe strongly that we have done that. No one can say that this even remotely sounds like Slayer in any way. I mean, there are so many bands out there that sound closer to Slayer than Grip Inc. could ever be. People have to understand that I was their drummer and I have my own style, and I can't get away from that. The band, in a way, revolved around my drumming and that is maybe why people are placing comparisons on our music. I think we have dropped the comparisons with _Nemesis_.

CoC: A description of Grip Inc.'s _Nemesis_?

DL: This record is not a total metal record in my mind. I would call it power-rock or power-metal or even a little bit of speed metal. I think it is good, solid, tasteful music that anybody can appreciate a little bit no matter what scene or style they are into. This record can be like a door opening for someone who may not be into metal but may find it a stepping stone into getting interested into metal music. Who knows? I'm not trying to turn people off of metal with my music, rather trying to get more people interested with our style of music and metal itself.

(article submitted 9/4/1997)

1/16/1999 D Rocher Grip Inc.: Gripping With Style
3/14/1999 D Rocher 9.5 Grip Inc. - Solidify
2/4/1997 A Bromley 7 Grip Inc. - Nemesis
8/12/1995 A Gaudrault Morbid Angel / Grip Inc. Morbid Angel's Mayhem Unleashed!
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