HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell spoke to Australia's Hawkesbury Gazette about the band's fourth album, last year's "Blood For Blood", which was made after the departures of bassist Bob "Zilla" Kahaha and guitarist Greg Tribbett.
"We're really in love with this record," Maxwell said. "For us, it's our first album. It's the record we've always wanted to make and finally we were able to make it.
"The responsibility that we had to take on in one album cycle was pretty intense, and I think that most bands would have folded, but, if anything, it needed to happen. It was painful, the whole transition, and the last year and a half since we wrote and recorded the record, we've just matured and gone through so much, literally trying to break free of the skin that we were carrying around for the last two years. It was tough, and I thought this record really was our breakaway kind of album, and it's awesome."
Maxwell wrote all the music on "Blood For Blood", which sees HELLYEAH heading in a heavier, more aggressive direction than that on any of the group's previous efforts.
"This is the type of music that I like to play," he said. "This is who I am. These songs are comprised of just a reflection of me and the responsibility fell in my lap. I wasn't going to shy away or get apprehensive about it, I was, like, 'Fuck yeah! Let's do this, let's get in a gun fight with a knife'. This is the way it should have been."
He continued: "Me and [singer] Chad [Gray] put this band together; this was our baby. This is what we wanted to do. This is the type of music that we wanted to play. We wanted to be honest and transparent and emotional and angry and bitter and loving and compassionate. All of it, man. Just brutally beautiful. I think we're just getting started, to be honest."
Maxwell added: "Our other records were very one note. It just didn't have enough roots to it, and this record, we had the opportunity to really make a great record.
"I said to Chad when we were doing 'Blood For Blood': 'This has to be like it's the last record that you'll ever do in your life, so make it count.' And that's the way we did it, because you never know. You've got to make each one count."
The new members of HELLYEAH are bassist Kyle Sanders and guitarist Christian Brady.
"Blood For Blood" sold around 17,000 copies in its first week of release to land at No. 18 on the Billboard chart.