Metal supergroup Hellyeah pays tribute to late drummer Vinne Paul at Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on July 30
From a press release:
It was announced today that heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah will celebrate the life of the band’s legendary late drummer, Vinne Paul of Pantera and Damageplan fame, on a national tour that stops at the Sherman Theater in Stroudsburg on Tuesday, July 30 at 8 p.m.
This news comes just two days after the band played a sold-out “Celebration of the Life of Vinnie Paul” at the House of Blues in Las Vegas with Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga, who will also join them on this upcoming tour. They played new songs and favorites from Hellyeah as well as covers of Pantera classics “Walk” and “I’m Broken.”
Tickets for the Stroudsburg show, which are $30 in advance or $33 the day of the show, go on sale this Friday, May 17 at 10 a.m. and will be available through the Sherman Theater box office (524 Main St., Stroudsburg) and online at shermantheater.com and Ticketfly. VIP boxes and sky boxes are available for this show and include eight tickets (VIP box) or 12 tickets (sky box) and waitstaff. To purchase box seats, call the theater at 570-420-2808.
Sadly, the terms “supergroup” and “short-lived” are invariably synonymous. Here’s the all-too-familiar tale: talented individuals from different bands join forces to a huge fanfare of hype and all is well. But then, a mere album/tour cycle or two later, the so-called “supergroup” implodes and disappears. History has proven this irrefutable truth time and time again.
Thankfully, every rule has an exception, and Hellyeah is a truly remarkable one… to the tune of 12 years, six albums, tireless touring, and a genuine brotherhood that’s as palpable off-stage as it is on. Unfortunately, the band’s story took a tragic twist on June 22, 2018, when world-renowned drummer, Vinnie Paul Abbott, left this mortal coil to once more be reunited with his beloved brother, Dimebag Darrell. Dauntless, the heartbroken Hellyeah soldiered on to complete the album Abbott had already recorded his drum parts for – the outfit’s sixth offering, “Welcome Home,” due out Sept. 27 via Eleven Seven Music.
“The world deserves to hear Vinnie’s last piece of work,” lead guitarist Christian Brady stated. “He was so proud of it. There was definitely a huge sense of responsibility to honor his legacy.”
Hellyeah is the brainchild of Mudvayne frontman Chad Gray and Nothingface founder Tom Maxwell. It became a reality in 2006 when the pair successfully convinced Vinnie Paul, the legendary drummer of Pantera and Damageplan, to pick up his sticks again after the tragic loss of his equally legendary brother.
“The first few times Chad and Tom asked me, my answer was ‘No,’” Abbott said before adding his usual trademark grin. “But they were real persistent and also had a really infectious, positive attitude, so I eventually decided to give it a go.”
Hard rock and metal fans all over the globe joyously celebrated his return, and Hellyeah was immediately dubbed “a heavy metal supergroup” by press and public alike.
The band’s self-titled debut hit the streets in 2007, entering the Billboard 200 album chart at No. 9. 2010’s “Stampede” hit No. 8 on the same prestigious chart, and 2012’s “Band of Brothers” proved that Hellyeah was in it for the long haul.
“I honestly feel that Vinnie found something with us that gave him that passion again,” Maxwell said. “Hellyeah reignited his fire and made him love getting back on stage again. That’s what’s kept us all going for so long – our genuine love for what we do.”
For the band’s ever-growing legion of fans, 2014’s “Blood for Blood” was the “bar-setting” release they’d been anxiously anticipating since day one. This critically acclaimed album deservedly debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Rock Album chart. It also saw the group’s membership stabilize in rock-solid fashion with the introduction of Christian Brady on lead guitar and Kyle Sanders on bass.
As a result of the burgeoning success of “Blood for Blood,” Hellyeah toured the globe for 18 grueling yet glorious months. Then, after a mere two-week break, the boys started working on album five. The resulting release, 2016’s metal masterpiece, “Unden!able,” continued the brutal bombast of its predecessor.
“As well as being one of the best drummers of all time, Vinnie also knew his way around songs really well,” Maxwell revealed. “His input was always really positive, and he taught me how to harness hooks and really focus on riffs while not being busy or disjointed. His philosophy, especially since ‘Blood for Blood,’ was to write songs that were so musically good that you could listen to them without vocals and they’d still take you for a ride. We really reigned in on that art on this new album, ‘Welcome Home.'”
In late 2017, after another successful bout of touring, Hellyeah started work on album six with their producer from “Blood for Blood,” Kevin Churko.
“Kevin is a huge part of the Hellyeah family,” Brady noted. “He’s brought a lot of things out of this band.”
All was going well – really well – until June 22, when the heart-wrenching news of Vinnie Paul’s sudden and unexpected passing due to a heart condition, quite literally stunned the hard rock world into silence. He was 54 years young.
“We were so far ahead with the music that we decided to take a little breather, to give Chad some time to work on his melody lines and lyrics,” Sanders said. “We all left the studio that Thursday evening, Tom and myself flew home on Friday, and Vinnie passed that night.”
The fact that Abbott had not only completed recording his drums on Hellyeah’s new album, but was truly delighted with both his performance and the material, is perhaps the only slight glimmer of possible solace regarding his tragic passing.
“Once a song was completed to Vinnie’s satisfaction, he’d put his stamp of approval on it and move on to the next one,” Abbott’s bass playing partner, Sanders, recounts. “He did that for every single song on this album.”
Despite their unimaginable feelings of both loss and pain, the four remaining Hellyeah members regrouped to do what they knew Abbott would want them to do – finish what he’d started. And driven by their love, loyalty, reverence, and respect for their fallen brother, they did exactly that. The result is “Welcome Home,” a truly stunning album that does both Abbott’s memory and groundbreaking legacy proud.
“I was in the studio working with Kevin [Churko] when I got the call… and everything just went blank,” Gray recalled. “It was as if something just reached in and ripped out my soul, my life, my motor skills, my everything. But, the day after Vinnie passed, I was sitting on a bed and I had a conversation with him just like I’m talking to you now – out loud. And I said, ‘Brother, it would be so easy for me to open my hand, blow, and just walk away from this, but I will not do that. I’m gonna make you a promise right now – I’m gonna finish this because I love you, I respect you, and this is your last work; I have to finish this. As hard as it’s gonna be, I’m gonna finish this.’ At that point, Vinnie became my muse – he was my fire. He was my sun. He was my everything to get me through this.”
“We all felt Vinnie’s presence and energy in the studio,” Maxwell confirmed. “His spirit was definitely there, and it gave us the fire to finish ‘Welcome Home’ in the way we felt was right and also honorable to him. Chad’s vocals and lyrics speak volumes too – he really dug deep on this one.”
In addition to the nine cuts Vinnie played on, an extra song, “Skyy and Water,” was added.
“I wrote the music the day after Vinnie died,” Maxwell revealed. “It’s a very bitter, emotionally draining piece for me. I wanted the sorrow and loss I was feeling to come out in the music, and Chad’s lyrics said exactly what I was feeling. The first time I heard them, it broke me in half. That song is our heartfelt ‘goodbye and thank you’ note to Vinnie.”
Hellyeah unleashed “333,” the first fiery song from “Welcome Home,” on March 14. The official video surpassed 590,000 YouTube views in less than three weeks.
“My biggest regret is him not being with us to hear the finished album,” Maxwell added. “I can picture it now – Vinnie Paul cruising down Las Vegas Boulevard in his Escalade, cranking ‘Welcome Home’ to 11 with that famous smile on his face.”
On May 11, the band performed live at the Las Vegas House of Blues to celebrate Vinnie Paul’s legendary life and game-changing legacy. A portion of the proceeds from this sold-out concert were donated to the American Heart Association.
“While Vinnie Paul is obviously irreplaceable, one thing we can’t not do is tour. As easy as it would be to say we’re not going on the road, we have to,” Sanders said. “Vinnie would be extremely disappointed in us if we didn’t promote this record properly. He’d be pissed off at all of us for putting all this work into finishing the record and then just letting it sit there on the shelf while we put a couple of songs to radio and whatever… and we know that.”
This post was compiled by the staff of NEPA Scene.