Slayer icon Dave Lombardo recalled the time he was asked to record a drum solo with a colony of bees in the studio – and how he worried that the insects would think the act of playing his kit was a threat.
Filmmaker, sculptor and photographer Matthew Barney arranged the shoot as part of his Cremaster Cycle movie project in 1999 (clip available below). In a recent interview with Stereogum, Lombardo said it turned out to be an enjoyable experience.
“Matthew Barney is this amazing artist, visionary, and so there was this scene where it involved bees,” he explained. “We had a beekeeper come in and fill the entire studio with bees, and he let a queen bee in a vocal booth with the microphone. He set the queen bee there, and all the bees came around and started swarming around the microphone.”
He added: “[E]verybody in the studio had bee suits on. I was the only one [without one]. At that time, I was looking like I stepped out of an ’80s metal documentary. The warning from the beekeeper was, ‘Whatever you do, just don’t swat at the bees.’ I think to myself, ‘I don’t have a bee protection suit. How are the bees supposed to know that I’m hitting drums, I’m not swatting at the bees?'”
Lombardo was able to complete the session without being stung – but an innocent party was less fortunate. “[W]e were in Studio A, but Jonathan Davis from Korn was recording some solo music in Studio B. Well, a bee goes through the door and ends up stinging the engineer in that project…stings him in the neck, and he has this huge welt, and out of everybody that was on that production crew, including myself, he was the only one who got stung. None of us.”
He reflected: “It was so funny. But man, it was quite the experience. I really enjoyed that.”
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