Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott was interviewed on the May 11-13 edition of Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show. You can now listen to the chat using the audio player below.
To see a full list of stations carrying the program and when it airs, go to FullMetalJackieRadio.com.
Full Metal Jackie: You recently came back from doing some shows in Japan, so I’d love to hear about your experience there.
Vinnie Paul: It’s the first time we ever played in Jakarta [Indonesia] with any band I’ve ever been in and that was just absolutely amazing. Luckily for us, ANTHRAX took us over there and it was killer. And then Japan is the best I ever remembered it being. There were some serious pits; they were really really into the band, it was only our second time over there and it was just a great experience all the way around. A lot of flying, though.
Full Metal Jackie: They love their metal out in Japan.
Vinnie Paul: Oh, they know everything about you, man. They know what school you went to and they don’t have those schools over there. [Laughs]
Full Metal Jackie: I’ve always thought it was amazing about how music fans, even if they don’t speak the language, they know words to songs, they sing along to songs.
Vinnie Paul: It’s the universal language — music — and it doesn’t matter if I played in Brazil or Germany or wherever, whether they know the language or not, they get the vibe of the music and they’re just totally into it.
Full Metal Jackie: There’s a bit of a PANTERA vibe to the guitars in [the new HELLYEAH song] “War In Me” when that sound creeps in. Are you cool with it?
Vinnie Paul: You know, the first two records were almost an experiment for us; we really wanted to step out of the box and do something different than MUDVAYNE, PANTERA, NOTHINGFACE and all that, and I really think we did accomplish doing some things outside the box. For [the third HEALLYEAH album, “Band Of Brothers”], we decided, “Let’s get back to our metal roots, let’s do what we all do best, Vinnie Paul goes back to his trademark drum sound.” Chad [Gray, vocals] and Greg [Tribbett, guitar] and everybody just does their thing as usual and I think that’s what people kind of expected from HELLYEAH in the first place, so I’m really proud of this record. I think it’s an in-your-face, balls-out metal record from start to finish and I don’t think we could do a better one, man. I love it.
Full Metal Jackie: Musically, the band isn’t really painted into a corner; you can pretty much go in different directions. So, musically, what did you feel a need to really touch upon in this record?
Vinnie Paul: I just think that, like a said a minute ago, just gettin’ back to our roots and doing what we all do best, and not worrying about whether somebody says, “Well, that kinda has a little bit of a MUDVAYNE vibe or a little PANTERA.” That’s what we do. You put us all together and you come out with “Band Of Brothers”; that’s all there is to it.
Full Metal Jackie: Just talking about the overall sound and where you’ve come from and where you’re going now, HELLYEAH wasn’t together too long before your first album. So the first album is completely new, second album you’re getting an idea about your sound. Is it fair to say that this new album is closest to what this band is all about?
Vinnie Paul: Oh yeah, this is where we’re at right now. We had to go through those other two records to get to this point. When we got together with this band, it was supposed to be completely different. It’s grown back into what people expected from us in the first place — a metal band.
Full Metal Jackie: The band’s lifestyle is kind of a Texas thing but you’re the only guy that’s actually from Texas, who’s really picked up that whole vibe?
Vinnie Paul: I think we all have embraced it. The cool thing about the band is you got me from Texas, you got Tom [Maxwell] from the East Coast — Baltimore — Chad Gray from the Midwest — llinois — and [Bob] Zilla‘s an L.A. cat, so we got the whole nation covered, so, to me, HELLYEAH is the United States. We all kind of bring our different things to the table and it makes a really good melting pot.
Full Metal Jackie: You’ve got a lot of touring coming up in the upcoming months. What are you most looking forward to about doing these upcoming tours in the States?
Vinnie Paul: Gettin’ to play the new songs, man, and the old ones are staples now. People know ’em, and so when they come up in the set people get excited and sing along to ’em, this, that and the other, but always playing the new songs. Just being on the road in general is such a lifestyle for us and all of us really embrace it and enjoy it and it’s fun to be together — we are truly a “band of brothers.”