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New Album “Will Be Done Before Christmas”

Posted on Friday, August 23, 2013 at 18:48:56

By Aaron Small

HELLYEAH, featuring drummer Vinnie Paul (PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN), were an integral part of the recently wrapped-up Gigantour that also featured MEGADETH, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, DEVICE, NEWSTED, and DEATH DIVISION. At each of the eight Canadian stops, Hellyeah was flying three Canadian flags onstage during their set. “We almost feel like Hellyeah was built for Canada,” says Vinnie backstage at The Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto. “I don’t know what it is, but the people up here really love us and we love them back; showing some respect is always a good thing.”

Ready to embark on album number four, Hellyeah has enlisted a rather prominent Canadian to oversee the entire process as Regina, Saskatchewan’s Kevin Churko has been named producer. Previously, the three time Juno Award winner, and double Grammy Award nominee, has worked with OZZY OSBOURNE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, and IN THIS MOMENT – all very relevant metal bands. However, Churko’s also produced SHANIA TWAIN, BRITNEY SPEARS, and CELINE DION. “I’ve become really good friends with Kevin,” says Vinnie. “He lives out in Vegas now; his studio is a mile and a half from my house. I’m a huge fan of his work; he worked with the mighty Mutt Lange. Everything he’s ever done is great. I feel like he really made Ozzy sound fresh again, Black Rain especially. Sonically, his records are unbeatable, and he gets the best out of every band. We produced our last three albums ourselves, and we really feel like we did a good job on all that. But we feel it’s time to have an outside ear, somebody to give us an extra opinion; to be the sixth member of the band so to speak. That extra dude that drags everything out of you; I think he will and we’re really excited about working with him. I really like him a lot, and how convenient; all the guys will just stay with me. We start in October and the record will be done before Christmas. That means it’ll be out around March or April next year, and we get to come back and tour all over again.”

Vinnie revealed online that Hellyeah has already been writing and working on ideas for their next full-length. “It’s going to continue in the direction of Band Of Brothers. We feel like we really found our home with that. The first two records were pretty experimental for us. We really stepped outside of the box and did a lot of things that we couldn’t do in PANTERA or MUDVAYNE or NOTHINGFACE, songs like ‘Alcohaulin’ Ass’ just wouldn’t fly in those bands. It was really liberating to be able to do that, and touch on some rock ‘n roll, some blues, almost country southern rock, stuff like that. But with Band Of Brothers, we really wanted to get back to our roots and felt like it was time for all of us to bring the different things we brought to our previous bands into Hellyeah, and not be afraid of it.”

It seems that Las Vegas is the new home of rock ‘n roll. It used to be The Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, but those clubs are closing their doors one by one, and everybody seems to be moving to Sin City. “I moved there just because I love entertainment,” exclaims Vinnie. “I still have my house in Texas, don’t get me wrong. I share my time back and forth between the two places. Once I moved to Vegas, I ran into people that have been in rock ‘n roll forever: Ron Keel, Paul Shortino, John from SYSTEM OF A DOWN lives out there, Vince Neil, there’s a pretty big list of rockers. DJ Ashba lives there, and now Axl Rose is buying a house there. First of all, you get the land dirt cheap; you get the houses for free basically. They just give ‘em to you if you really want one. I put $100,000 pool in my house that smokes the Playboy Mansion! I got two acres of land three miles off the strip. It feels like I’m in the country, but I’m right there, and every night there’s something to do. Whether it’s Carrot Top, Amazing Jonathon, Frankie Marino, one of the Cirque shows, a strip bar, of course gambling. It’s an entertainment driven town, that’s why I like it and I think that’s why other people like it too.”

Speaking of strip bars, Vinnie owns The Clubhouse in Dallas which is “going strong as ever.” But don’t expect to see a sister establishment pop up in Vegas “I have another string of strip bars called Chicas Bonitas, which are Latino strip bars. I have one of those in Vegas, and Vegas is such a competitive market with strip bars that they’re pretty watered down. So for me to put one out there would be a pretty serious adventure to really get it going. My newest thing I just bought is a music complex in Fort Worth, back home in Texas. We have a comedy club in there; we also have a 1,000 seat music venue. Our first national act was LOS LOBOS and they sold it out. It also has a karaoke room and a piano bar inside of it; so I’m really excited about that. And I have another sports bar over in Dallas called The Back Nine which is really good. It’s all about the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Stars, the Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers man.”

The Dallas Cowboys 2013 season starts September 8th at home against the New York Giants; Vinnie offers his outlook on this year’s squad. “I think that our chances are better than they’ve been in a long time. I like the changes we’ve made at coaching; hopefully the 4-3 defense – I like 4-3 better anyways. That’ll bring a way of stopping these teams from coming back on us. ‘Cause we had the lead in nine out of ten games last year that we lost; we went eight and eight, but we just kept losing at the end. It was the defense. I think we’re going to be much better. I think (quarterback Tony) Romo’s going to have his best year yet. I think we’re going to do a lot more with the running/hitting game with Bill Callahan being our offensive co-ordinator, which’ll take some pressure off of Romo; ‘cause that’s when he fucks up, when he’s under pressure. I hate the Giants! Zakk (Wylde) is flying to Dallas and we’re going to the game together. He’s the biggest Giants fan in the world, so I’m praying that Dallas beats them.”

It’s no secret that Vinnie loves to cook. His Gigantour cohort Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) has a line of BBQ and hot sauces, so does Joe Perry (AEROSMITH), Michael Anthony (VAN HALEN), Chris Caffery (TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA), as well as LYNYRD SKYNYRD and KISS. When will we see a Vinnie Paul line of sauces? “I’ll tell you what you’re getting from me, the Vinnie Paul cookbook. It’s nearly done and I’m going to try to get it out by Christmas, it’s called Drumming Up An Appetite With Vinnie Paul.”

Now that Gigantour 2013 has come to a close, will there be an official live DVD release? “I know they did some filming on several of the dates, of course it’ll be up to MEGADETH if they decide to put it out. I thought the whole tour was a blast! All the bands really got along great; there’s so much respect out here. And there’s a lot of history out here. It was a great reunion for me with Dave (Mustaine) again because we did a major tour in Europe together in 1992, and I really haven’t had the chance to see the guy a whole lot since then. Despite what people have to say about him being hard to work with, he’s been awesome this whole tour!”

Returning to the forthcoming Hellyeah album, Vinnie weighs in on vocalist Chad Gray and the words he will be singing. “Lyrics are really personal you know. I give Chad ideas, we all do. He writes about things that have happened to us collectively, or to him. As far as ever handing him a song and saying, here dude; that doesn’t happen. It’s got to come from him so he can feel it when he’s singing it. But I definitely have a whole notebook full of ideas, topics, things for him to think about… and he’ll take them into consideration. I’m always really good at helping here and there with some hooks; there’s my producer hat coming back on. And I think having Kevin (Churko) a part of it is really going to drag those out this time around.”