HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell spoke to the Edmonton Journal about the band's decision to perform covers of PANTERA's "I'm Broken" and "Walk" during its recent tour as a tribute to HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott (formerly of PANTERA), who passed away a year and a half ago. "We've never done anything like that except for the Phil Collins cover ['I Don't Care Anymore'] or a New Year's Eve where we played a KISS track," he said. "For the show, we have a video wall showing some memories of Vinnie that we play 'Skyy And Water' [from HELLYEAH's latest album, 'Welcome Home'] to. It kind of narrates the video, and then we'll play 'I'm Broken' and 'Walk' by PANTERA, but the set is primarily made up of songs from the last three HELLYEAH records. We do cover as many bases as we can, though."
Maxwell admitted that it's difficult being on the road without his longtime friend and bandmate.
"We have our ups and downs," he said. "The weather isn't helping, of course, and we get a little sad when Vinnie's right-hand man Bridog comes around to hang out. We do our best to comfort each other. It's easier than a year ago, but I still miss him, not just because of the music but because we were best friends. We're all best friends and we've been in each other's lives for the last 13 years. It's like losing a spouse in a way; there have been a lot of people in my life, but losing Vinnie was hard."
Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 at the age of 54 in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. The official cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease.
"Welcome Home" was released in September via Eleven Seven Music.
Like the previous two records, 2016's "Unden!able" and 2014's "Blood For Blood", "Welcome Home" was recorded at The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada with producer Kevin Churko.
HELLYEAH's May 11 concert in Las Vegas marked the first time the band took the stage since Vinnie's passing and the debut of STONE SOUR member Roy Mayorga as Vinnie's replacement.