Five minutes alone with Hellyeah's Vinnie Paul

A press shot of Vinnie Paul pointing at the camera

Hey Vinnie. So what’s new in Hellyeah?

“We’ve never been better. We’ve really come together since Kyle [Sanders, bass] and Christian [Brady, guitar] joined the band [in 2014]. It’s become a band of brothers. We’re playing some of the best shows we’ve ever played. We’re coming to the UK in April after we finish up touring Europe with Korn. We can’t wait to get back to the UK.”

There seems to be a newfound purpose and drive in the band. Where has that come from?

“That came from before we made Blood For Blood. Up to then we had been all over the map with our direction. When we started it was a real deviation from Pantera, Mudvayne and Nothingface; we wanted to be experimental. When we made Band Of Brothers we went more to our metal roots and then we had to get rid of the cancer in the band, which was Greg [Tribbett, ex-guitar] and Bob Zilla [ex-bass]. It had to happen. It felt like they were just along for the ride and weren’t bringing anything to the table. We then wrote the best songs we’d ever written, which became Blood For Blood, and that’s when we turned the corner. Undeniable is an extension of Blood For Blood but I think it’s even more extreme.”

How is life in Hellyeah in 2017 compared to the heyday of Pantera?

“The getting-onstage part is the same but so many other things are different. It’s just not quite as fun anymore. A lot of bands now aren’t really bands, they’re corporations – they don’t hang out together, they don’t drink together, they don’t party together, they just do it to get paid, it’s like a business. It’s sad. I’d give anything to go back to how the industry was in 1994, that was the shit.”

The business has moved on a lot since then, though

“Yeah, times change and we’ve got to roll with it. It’s much more difficult to be successful now. Back in the day you had to sell a platinum record in the first week or the label would drop you. Now if you sell 50,000 units people think you’re the greatest band since Led Zeppelin, it’s crazy. This band is finally starting to become very successful in the US and we’re hoping to achieve that in the UK and Europe. It’s been a battle for us. Just because I was in Pantera that doesn’t mean that this band is going to sell out arenas.”

Do you feel protective of Pantera’s legacy?

“I don’t think I’m real protective over it. Obviously I miss my brother every day. He was an amazing part of it and that is why Pantera will never happen again.”

So you still have no interest in a Pantera reunion?

“I get offers through the door. They’re for unbelievable money. I just say the reason they call it a reunion is because it’s the getting together of the original people. This would not be a reunion. I’m not going to do it. If you live in the past, you have no future. Pantera was great, we had 14 amazing years together but it’s time for everybody to move on.”

What did you think of Phil Anselmo’s outburst last year?

“I just have my focus on what I’m doing with Hellyeah. I don’t pay any attention to what’s going on with him.”

Does it hurt when people say their love of Pantera is compromised because of that stuff?

“I can’t control it so it is what it is. I can’t control what that dude does. The Pantera legacy stands on its own.”


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Rich Chamberlain

Rich Chamberlain has written for Classic Rock,, Total Guitar, Nuts, FourFourTwo, Billboard, Classic Rock Presents The Blues and Classic Rock Presents Country.