CHAD GRAY Says There Are 'Two Or Three' Unreleased HELLYEAH Songs With VINNIE PAUL's Drums
April 28, 2022
Chad Gray says that there is "talk" about HELLYEAH writing and recording new music.
HELLYEAH has been inactive since early 2020 when its U.S. tour was canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, Gray has reunited with his previous band MUDVAYNE, which recently played its first two shows in 12 years, with plans to continue touring in 2022.
A few months before the pandemic hit, HELLYEAH had completed a couple of U.S. tours in honor of its drummer, Vinnie Paul Abbott, who passed away in June 2018 at the age of 54 in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. The official cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease.
The former PANTERA drummer recorded a total of six albums with HELLYEAH over a decade, including its latest, "Welcome Home", for which he laid down his drum tracks before his passing.
During an appearance on "Drinks With Johnny", the Internet TV show hosted by AVENGED SEVENFOLD bassist Johnny Christ, Chad said that no long-term plans for HELLYEAH have yet been made as the band continues to be in a holding pattern.
"When we lost Vinnie, I was just thinking about, 'We have to do the same thing that we did for Dime for Vinnie now," he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET),referencing Vinnie's brother, late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, who was shot and killed onstage in December 2004 while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. "We have to keep going to keep carrying the flag for Vince.' It's been tough. And I've talked to Tom [Maxwell, HELLYEAH guitarist] a little bit, I've talked to members and shit like that, and we've talked about to keep writing some music. We don't know what the touring plans would be ever — maybe ever again — but we could still release music. And there's actually — I think there are, like, two or three songs that Vinnie actually tracked drums to that we didn't end up [finishing] for whatever reason. So there is a potential for us to write maybe a couple of more songs with Vinnie's drums added on."
STONE SOUR drummer Roy Mayorga stepped in as Vinnie Paul's replacement for the touring activity in support of "Welcome Home", which came out in September 2019.
"HELLYEAH was obviously an emotional situation, although I don't think we could have gotten a better drummer to fill in than Roy Mayorga," Chad told "Drinks With Johnny". "He's fucking phenomenal and he's just such a genuinely kind and sweet person. And anybody who knew Vinnie, he was very warm, very giving, very loving, very just fucking cool and fun. And that was what Roy was. So Roy, for us, was a round peg, round hole. But it was still emotional… But you feel like you've gotta embrace your brothers and continue on for yourselves and for your fans. That's what I felt like we had to do, because Vinnie was so much of a supporter or music — all levels of music."
Gray went on to say that he thinks about Vinnie Paul every day. "I think about him and Dime," he said. "And it's kind of what sucked about just everything being pulled back with HELLYEAH. And that's kind of where the MUDVAYNE [reunion] came from too — we just kind of felt like everybody was emotionally exhausted from going out and trying to carry the flag for Vin and doing the 'Celebration Of Life' tours. We did two legs of that. But it was highly fucking emotional, man."
In September 2020, Maxwell told "The Ex-Man" podcast that he wasn't sure there would be a follow-up album to "Welcome Home".
"When [Vinnie Paul] died — I'm not gonna lie — my passion, my love affair died as well with him," Tom said. "I don't even know if I wanna make another HELLYEAH record without him.
Mayorga's addition to HELLYEAH was made official in May 2019. At the time, the band said Roy was the perfect guy to take Vinnie Paul's place. "These men had so much love and mutual respect for each other, this makes our transition so much easier," HELLYEAH said in a statement.
Mayorga previously played with HELLYEAH bassist Kyle Sanders in MEDICATION, the early 2000s outfit which also featured guitarist Logan Mader (MACHINE HEAD) and singer Whitfield Crane (UGLY KID JOE).