Former PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott spoke to Revolver magazine (web site) about the formation of HELLYEAH, his brand-new collaboration with members of MUDVAYNE and NOTHINGFACE.
Vinnie Paul had already turned down several offers to join a new band when an old friend, NOTHINGFACE bassist Jerry Montano, called him up and asked him if he'd like to jam with him, NOTHINGFACE guitarist Tom Maxwell, and MUDVAYNE vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribett. Again, Abbott declined, but Montano wouldn't take no for an answer.
"He called me over and over, and one night he caught me when I'd been drinking and listening to some music and I was in the right frame of mind," recalls Abbott. "So I said, 'You know what, man? I might as well at least give this thing a fucking shot and see what happens."
"Even I was blown away when he agreed to do it," Montano says with a chuckle. "I called Chad and Tom all cool-sounding and said, 'Hey, guys, we got a drummer.' And they were like, 'Okay, who?' And I go, 'Dude — [long pause] — Vinnie Paul."
With regards to the band's recently completed debut CD, which is scheduled for release in April, Vinnie Paul said, "It's a really diverse and fresh album. To me, it doesn't sound like PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN, NOTHINGFACE or MUDVAYNE. It's a new sound with a familiar groove, and having that kick-ass groove there was the most important thing. That's something music's been missing over the last couple of years. Everything's gotten so fast and intense, and the groove's kind of gone. So we wanted to bring that back."
While HELLYEAH was in the studio working on its debut album, the band's activities were kept under wraps like classified military secrets. If it weren't for a stray comment made by NOTHINGFACE singer Matt Holt to a member of the press, practically no one would have known of the band's existence.
"If we had come right out of the chute and said the five of us were getting together, everybody would have these preconceived notions of what it would be about, and all of a sudden there would be this pressure on us to fulfill what people expect," Abbott says of the decision to keep HELLYEAH under the radar. "So we just did it on our own, and that way we could do what we wanted with it. And the more we got into it, the stronger we all felt about it. We all think we've made a great record, something that's really going to leave a mark in music this year."
HELLYEAH's debut album is scheduled for release on April 10 via Epic Records. Two songs from the CD — "Hellyeah" and "Matter of Time" — are available for listening on the band's MySpace page. A two-minute video clip shot during the rehearsal/recording sessions for the upcoming CD can be viewed at this location.
Revolver's entire interview with HELLYEAH can be found in the magazine's March 2007 issue, which is set to hit newsstands this Monday, January 15.