Mischievous Mel of Rockwell Unscene recently conducted an interview with HELLYEAH singer Chad Gray prior to the band's December 9 show at the Belasco theater in Los Angeles as the support act for IN FLAMES. You can watch the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the band's current tour with IN FLAMES:
Chad: "This one has been a grind. It's been a lot of long drives, many shows in a row, just what I do know every night is so hard to get… I wake up in the morning and I can't even talk. It's just that process throughout the day, just getting warmed up to be able to play. You want to be able to do your best. The thing is, I'm going to give you 100% of whatever I have. If I'm 100%, then I'm going to give you 100% of my 100%. But if I'm 60% of my normal 100%, I'm going to give you 100% of that 60%. It's just how I am. My instrument is internal, so it's about how you're feeling. If I feel great, then it's fucking on. But if I'm under the weather and road-haggard like day three or four, it just goes down. Every little thing I can do helps, and I do many."
On his pre-show preparations:
Chad: "I do warm-ups for probably about 30 minutes. I do a speech warm-up before I even get out of bed. That's the first thing I do when I open my eyes; it takes about ten minutes. It sets your voice up to where you're talking in the right spot. Talking is one of the worst things you can do for your voice. The only thing worse is whispering, which is worse than talking. When you talk, you have a lot of energy and emoting, and you're fluctuating constantly like excitement or laying back. Talking is really bad for your voice. I do that, and drink green tea. All through the day, I have little exercises I do and I can gauge where I am from that, like how it's going to be. The closer to the show I get, the more I'll start ramping that up and get a little more intense with it. Then I can gauge again where I'm at. I keep intensifying, then boom, I do my warm-up for 30 minutes. Then I sing about four or five of our songs. To me, there's a difference between warmed up and being warmed up to your music. It's just different. The main warm-up is more about technique, then I sing my own songs just so I can apply that technique and have it fresh in my mind for how I'm going to sing my songs."
On why HELLYEAH is still passionate about touring:
Chad: "That's what I want to do is be onstage. Literally, out here the way I am now in my head, it's like the other 23 hours a day just get in the way. I'm just trying moment to moment to get to that one hour, and there's something about being onstage. I feel like I'm fully immersed in my life. I'm completely letting go of everything. I feel like it's one way I try to live is to look at each moment, each second that you're alive, every moment of your life as a vertical moment versus a linear moment where time moves from here to there, young to old, and every moment just fires straight up to the stars. If you can embrace that — it's impossible to do that, but if you think like that, like 'I'm going to embrace this fucking moment,' what you want to do is create that ripple effect to where you got that one moment you're inside of it, you're living it for everything it's worth and now you got two, and now you got three, you string a few moments together and now you got a minute. You string a few minutes together living that way, now you got an hour. You string a few hours together living that way, now you got a day. It's so on and so on and so on.
"It's the release for personal relief, to find that I'm a very unsettled person by nature. You're a product of your past, so I'm an unsettled soul, but all of the time I'm trying to do my good work to try to settle myself and I figure, 'Fuck it, while I'm doing my work to try to settle myself, I might as well give other people an outlet as well to let go and release.' I think everybody deserves that, just as human beings and mankind, we hang on too tight and sometimes we don't even realize what we're hanging on to. I think that everybody deserves a break from life, so I think that everybody, when you come in a room and we're all there together as a metal community to let go of the problems and just fucking get right, get in the mosh pit, stand shoulder-to-shoulder, front-to-back with all of your friends. You might not know the other person who is standing next to you, but I say it all the time, 'All you need is one common denominator for a group of people to get together and jive together and create this great moment.' One common denominator, and that denominator is heavy metal music. It's a win-win. It's like I'm getting right, you're getting right, let go, let's take a break from life. Let's get nuts. Your problems will be there when you walk out the door. I think people are deserving of that time to just let go."
On how HELLYEAH has an impact on their audience:
Chad: "I want to inspire people to believe in themselves, and in doing that, I want you to believe in what you believe in. I don't judge. Who am I to judge somebody? Like I got all of the answers? I don't have all the answers; I make mistakes like everybody else, but I learn from them. You got to make mistakes in life. Unfortunately, that's how you learn how to live a better life. Talking about that whole 'moment experience,' when you're really trying to live inside that moment and look at life as fractals breaking down into moments, you are so much more aware, very clear and vigilant about everything that's going on around you. That's a good thing. You're not as apt to make a mistake. You're not as apt as to step in a hole if you're walking up to that hole looking at the hole. If you're like 'Fuck it, whatever.' You're going to step in the hole. You'll be like, 'Fuck, man! I got to remember to look down when I walk.' You just learn from a mistake, that you got to look down when you walk. It's just life."
HELLYEAH's new album, "Unden!able", was released on June 3 via Eleven Seven Music. The effort marks the first time HELLYEAH's current lineup — Chad Gray, guitarists Tom Maxwell and Christian Brady, Vinnie Paul Abbott and Kyle Sanders — has recorded together as a unit.