Decades after leaving Cuba for the United States, acrobatic former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo finally got the opportunity to play in his homeland when Suicidal Tendencies performed two shows in Cuba earlier this month.

When he was a toddler, Lombardo emigrated to Southern California with his parents and grew up as a Los Angeles. metalhead, launching Slayer in 1982 with vocalist and bassist Tom Araya and guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King. Lombardo left the band in 2013 due to money disputes and joined crossover metal pioneers Suicidal Tendencies in 2016, replacing Eric Moore.

The first show Lombardo played with Suicidal in the land of his birth was May 7 at the Centro Cultural Club Bariay in Holguin. He also performed on May 11 at Salon Rosado De La Tropical in Havana.

The gigs were a long time coming. In 2014, Lombardo spoke to music journalist Mitch Lafon about how he would "love to go back" to Cuba "one day. I think it would be awesome. I [would] probably see some distant cousins and whatnot, and would love to play and just absorb the culture, something I've been longing for."

In 2012, Lombardo told Noisecreep that he first acquired the bug to be a professional musician as a youngster when he attended social events with his mom and saw the bands that performed there.

"My mom would try and get me to go out and dance to the big live bands that would perform these parties at the social club," he said. "But I would be backstage, sitting on a piano stool and staring at the musicians in the band. That's where my fascination with being a musician started. My mom would get so mad and say, 'Come on, Dave! There are some pretty girls out there that want to dance.' But I was more interested in watching the band performing."

Last Thursday, Suicidal Tendencies posted a message on their Facebook, thanking fans and congratulating Lombardo for finally being able to return to Cuba. "We had the greatest time in Cuba. As a band, we couldn't be more honored with the opportunity of going and playing two shows for all the wonderful people we met there, and as bandmates we couldn't be happier for witnessing all the love our brother Dave Lombardo received from his people. Suicidal and proud... We are family! Stay cyco!"

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