As 2020 rolls around, we pause to mark the end of a decade and celebrate the arrival of a new one. Lest an old acquaintance be forgot in the melee of merry making, hard rock icons Hellyeah will be hosting a series of seasonally apropos events with a dual purpose.
Not only is the supergroup sharing material from their latest album, Welcome Home, which was released this past September, but they are commemorating the passing of metal god Vinnie Paul, who died of natural causes including heart disease in June of 2018.
“It’s been cathartic it’s definitely helped us get through everything but it’s also difficult cuz there’s a lot of emotions,” explains guitarist Christian Brady, who was one of the last people to see Vinnie alive, and is still processing the shock of his friend’s sudden death.
As a founding members of Pantera, Texas’ claim to thrash metal fame, Vinnie and his brother “Dimebag” Darrell achieved the status of living legends. Dimebag’s notoriety for partying harder than any other player on the scene left a gaping hole that Vinnie dutifully filled following the tragedy of Dimebag’s on-stage assassination in December of 2004.
Similarly charged with the daunting task of carrying on after the loss of a band member and mentor they had in Vinnie, Brady and the remaining members of Hellyeah — vocalist Chad Gray, guitarist Tom Maxwell and bassist Kyle Sanders — agreed they had to complete Vinnie’s final masterpiece and share it with his followers around the globe.
“The support is massive and right now we’re focused on ‘The Celebration’ and honouring our brother.”
“I know for a fact, if Vinnie’s drum parts hadn’t already been finished it would have been a very different story for the future of Hellyeah, but because those tracks were done we felt an obligation to finish the record. It’s his last piece of work, you know. It’s the last piece of his legacy and he put so much effort and care into what he did on the record to that point and the fans deserved to hear it.”
Ready to wreck the halls, with the support of incoming drummer and longtime friend Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour), Hellyeah will be crisscrossing Canada and the U.S. on their “A Celebration of Life Celebrating Vinnie Paul” tour. According to Brady seeing Welcome Home’s musical theatrics performed live is the perfect pitchfork to pry you brain out of its mid-winter slumber. So, get off the couch, put on a black T-shirt and ‘respect walk’ yourself down to the nearest Hellyeah show to tip a few in honour of mosh pits past.
“As far as the future of Hellyeah, we’re just taking it day by day. The support is massive and right now we’re focused on ‘The Celebration’ and honouring our brother. It’s so super important that we do that the right way and make sure it’s all about him. We want it to be done tastefully, we want it to be respectful and we want everybody to get a chance to show their love for Vinnie. He was a larger than life character and he loved to have a good time. He carried that flag after he lost his brother; he wanted everyone to have a great time. He valued all the fans so much and we knew we had to come out and celebrate, cuz that’s what he would want. So, that’s our mission. That’s all were trying to do – make our brother proud.”
Hellyeah perform Thursday Dec. 5 at the Palace Theatre (Calgary, AB), Friday Dec. 6 at Union Hall (Edmonton, AB) and Sunday Dec. 8 at The Imperial (Vancouver, BC) // TIX