Australia's The Rockpit recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Rockpit: HELLYEAH's latest album, "Blood For Blood", came out about a year ago but how have you found the reception from the fans so far?
Vinnie: It's been the best recieved HELLYEAH record yet, man. It's a record that really has grabbed a lot of people, and anybody that is on the fence about HELLYEAH, they really have come onboard with us. We got nothing but great tours from the record. We started off in April over a year ago with AVENGED SEVENFOLD all over America. We got a tour with FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and VOLBEAT, which was absolutely amazing. We've just had nothing but great tours, man. The record really has elevated our level, so to speak.
The Rockpit: It sounds like you kinda went into... and not that HELLYEAH has never not been heavy... but more of a heavier approach on this album.
Vinnie: Well, we started that with the last record, "Band Of Brothers". The first two records were very experimental for us. We really wanted to do a lot of things that we couldn't in our previous bands. So we touched on southern rock, almost country at times, bluesy stuff, rock 'n' roll. Heavy metal was mixed in there, but it was a lot of different things, and we got that out of our system. And with "Band Of Brothers", we went back to our heavy metal roots and really started going back to being more of a metal band, and with this record, it was a continuation of that. Just really focused on the songwriting and writing the best songs that we could.
The Rockpit: With four albums in now, do you feel that supergroup tag that you were labeled with in the beginning is worn out now?
Vinnie: Yeah, the supergroup thing only came along because of our past. It wasn't anything that we set up or wanted to present ourselves with, but was something the media picked up on, and probably our label pushed it a lot. And, really, when we started out, people were, like "Oh it's the guy from PANTERA," or "It's the guy from MUDVAYNE," so that's how the supergroup thing started. But now that HELLYEAH is really established, people really do look at it and go, "Yeah, it's HELLYEAH!" So that's what we've been working towards, and we've really established that with four albums and it will only continue to grow with the more records and the more time that passes.
The Rockpit: Now one of things that I've been a big fan of for years is your drum sound, and on this new album, your drum sound is absolutely phenomenal. But I remember years ago when you were in PANTERA that you were trying to find that perfect drum sound, so I guess the question is: have you ever found it?
Vinnie: I think the sound that I have had on all the records that I've been a part of have been important and special. It always has to have that attack and everything, but with this record, it's 2015, recording is much more current and up to date and everything. I really enjoyed working with [producer] Kevin Churko; he really got the best out of me, and it was a different drum sound for me, but also at the same time a much cooler drum sound, which was something I was really looking for. Really wanting to keep that attack and bite, but wanting more body and I think we got that on this record.
The Rockpit: How important do you think is it to get a good drum sound for an album?
Vinnie: Oh, it's very important! It's the base, the foundation that the house is built on. There are numerous different kinds of drum sounds — some are more ambient and roomy and this that and the other, the John Bonham kind of thing. Then there's kinda what I did with PANTERA, which was much more attacky, and then with what I did for "Blood For Blood" on the HELLYEAH record is kind of a combination of all of that.
Read the entire interview at The Rockpit.