A week after the release of HELLYEAH's self titled debut, bassist Jerry Montano has left the band. A press release gave no specific reason for his departure and when contacted by Headbangers Ball Blog for comment, the group's publicist said "personal reasons on both sides" caused him to leave. A replacement has not yet been announced.
In addition to being tourmates and drinking buddies with HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul (ex-PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN),Montano was especially supportive to Paul in the weeks and months after December 2004, when Dimebag Darrell was killed onstage in Cleveland. "He'd just call out of the blue and be a fun voice to hear because he’s always so positive," Paul said. "He's really the whole reason this HELLYEAH thing came together."
HELLYEAH will have to find someone to replace Montano soon since they're scheduled to kick off a short U.S. tour on May 20 in Baltimore. One logical possibility is DAMAGEPLAN bassist Bob Zilla, of whom Paul has always spoken highly.
"I told Bob after [Dimebag was murdered] that no matter what happens, I'm gonna find a way to play in a band with him again because me and him are just bros," the drummer said in January. "It was kind hard to go ahead and commit to this band without Bob being part of it, but since Jerry was the bass player it was already set in place. And Bob's been really cool and understanding. And he's doing his tattoo shop in Texas right now. And some point in the future, we'll probably play together again."