STONE SOUR and HELLYEAH drummer Roy Mayorga has reflected on the passing of PANTERA drum legend Vinnie Paul Abbott, who died just over two years ago at his home in Las Vegas. Speaking to SEPULTURA frontman Derrick Green for the weekly "SepulQuarta" Internet series, Mayorga said (see video below): "[Vinnie's death] was a huge shock. Actually, I was on tour with STONE SOUR. I think we were somewhere in the middle of Europe — I think we were in Switzerland or something like that — and I got the text from Chad [Gray, HELLYEAH singer]. Fuck, man. I remember it big time. Everybody was pretty shocked and sad. I still am. I think about it every now and then, especially now being in his band [HELLYEAH]. I mean, it's a huge trip for me. There'll be times where I'm just completely shut off when I'm playing, but there'll be times in the middle of a show when I'm, like, 'I can't fucking believe this is a reality, that he's not here. I'm here.' I expect to see him just come walking around the corner, like, 'Hey, Mayorga!' He called me by last name. He never called me 'Roy.' And he always shouted my last name at the top of his lungs. It was the fucking coolest thing."
He continued: "I fucking miss that dude. The laugh that he did, it was so contagious. It was like a big, roaring gut laugh. It's fucking amazing, his laugh. And he was so cool and poised about everything when he said something. He was just a good dude, man… He was always loving and supportive and generous to everybody. All the times we've toured with them [HELLYEAH], when I was in STONE SOUR, he would always be setting up a barbecue outside their bus and cook for everyone. Fuck, man. He would spend thousands of dollars and just feed everybody."
Mayorga stepped in as Vinnie Paul's replacement for the touring activity in support of HELLYEAH's sixth album, "Welcome Home", which came out last September.
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).
Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.
Not long before his death, Vinnie laid down the drum tracks for "Welcome Home".