Dave Lombardo drummed for Slayer between 1981 and 1992, and then again between 2001 and 2013. Which means Lombardo spent a lot of years playing the same hits to massive audiences, which probably gets a little boring after a while.
In an interview with Conan Neutron's Protonic Reversal podcast, Lombardo said he used to change up his fills and how he played songs to entertain himself and have some fun on stage. Slayer's guitarists were apparently surprised by these deviations, but Lombardo said that was part of the fun – "to see if I could stump the guitar players, if I could mess with them."
"It was difficult to change the Slayer path. They really liked their niche market, and they didn't wanna stray too much. But in a live sense, I was able to be free when it came to some of the drum rolls and some of the changes. I used to throw the guys in the band for a loop when I would create a really bizarre drum roll. And it makes them turn around [and go], 'What the fuck is that?' And then I land on the 'one.' It's, like, 'There it is.'
"But I was getting creative, I think, because I knew the music so well. And so there was room for me to fuck around. It's, like, 'Why didn't I play this drum part when I recorded the album? It would have been so much better.' After you played something for so long…
"I read once that Mick Jagger said, 'God, I wish we would have written that song 'Satisfaction' a little better if I knew we were gonna play it for [almost 60] years.' I was going through a little bit of the same thing with my own drum parts. 'Ah, I'm gonna do this.' 'Oh, that double-bass section in 'Angel Of Death'. You know what? I'm gonna extend it a little longer.' Or 'I'm gonna add a snare roll in the middle of it.' So I was just having fun with it.
"And it was because I was, I guess, seasoned from the musicians I was working with in the past. And that kind of helped, I think — helped me personally — to enjoy the moments on stage. Because when you are on tour and playing the same songs month after month, year after year, it becomes a little redundant. So that kind of helped me entertain myself on stage, to see if I could stump the guitar players, if I could mess with them."