Nick Snelling of Australia's Beat magazine recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. A few excerpts follow:
On whether it feels good to be back on the drums after all this time:
"Hell yeah, man. It's somethin' that I've done all my life, but after everythin' that happened with us on onstage…with Dime, and all that…I didn't know if I'd ever be able to do it again or not, you know? But it's somethin' that I really missed and these guys helped bring me back to it, so I'm going to give it everythin' I got."
On the fact that the friendships formed remain the most rewarding aspect to his new band:
"I missed that part of being in a band — the brotherhood, the camaraderie, like you're part of an unstoppable army. The best friend that I ever had was Dime. We did everything together, we thought alike, we had the same mindset and everything, and I miss that a lot. Always will. These guys — they're all great people. When we made this record, they came down and lived with me here in Texas, we didn't put them up in a hotel or nothin'. We barbequed together, drank together, went to the strip-club together, and we all became great friends. One of the cool things about this record, was that there weren't any egos. As a consequence, we got the very best out of everybody musically."
On how his father, Jerry Abbott, the country producer, has gotten behind HELLYEAH all the way:
"At first, he was very leery of it all. But I just had to tell him, 'Dad, this is what I do. I've played music all my life, I love playin' drums and bein' onstage, I love tourin' and seein' other countries, and now I have this opportunity to do it again. And the thing is, I know Dime is tellin' me to go all the way with this thing. The last thing he would want is for me to curl up in a shell and quit. Or do somethin' stupid. This is the right thing for me to do. Yeah, man — my dad totally supports me on it."
On HELLYEAH's musical approach:
"Lookin' at where metal has gone, there's been a long time since there's been a record like this. It seems like metal has gone in a real technical direction — everythin' seems to get faster 'n' faster, more and more parts, more intensity. We wanted to make a record that had a) the best mother-fuckin' poundin' grooves we could come up with, and b) songs that people really relate to and sing along to — anthems, so to speak."
On how a metal drummer ends up owning a celebrated gentlemen's establishment, the Dallas stripclub The Clubhouse:
"Well, that's easy. I was spendin' all this time when I wasn't onstage at strip bars, so I figured, 'Hell, I might as well get my own and get some of my money back.' It's been one of the best investments I ever made — it's the coolest strip bar known to mankind, and everybody who tours here through Dallas, Texas has been here. It's a very, very famous place now, to the point that we're now looking at expanding operations and looking at some other places we can start up another one."
On how hard it is for Vinnie, in that the first, most natural thing for people to do is want to offer their condolences, but then how does he move on with such constant reminders:
"You got it, man. It just always sends me back to a dark place, you know? I know that people loved Dime and miss him. I understand that, but I got to move forward now. I just got to. I know that Dime will always be there with me, and he reminds me everyday whenever it turns 3.33 on the clock — 33 was his favourite number. I'll turn around to look at the time, and it'll be 3.33 in the afternoon or mornin' — that's his way of tellin' me, 'Hey man, I'm still here with you'. I accept it when it comes, but it's not something that people really have to tell me. I know it's there — it's always in the back of everyone's mind, but we all gotta keep moving on."