HellYeah is an American heavy metal supergroup, consisting of Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett, Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell, Damageplan bassist Bob Zilla, and former Pantera, Rebel Meets Rebel and Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. The idea to form a supergroup originated in 2001 on the Tattoo the Earth tour, although plans were constantly put on hold due to scheduling conflicts. The summer of 2006 allowed the band to take the project seriously and record its first album. During an interview for the January 2009 issue of Revolver magazine, Vocalist Chad Gray revealed there may be hint of HellYeah in the self-titled Mudvayne album, released December 22, 2009.
Recorded at Chasin' Jason studio in Dimebag Darrell Abbott's backyard, a self-titled album was completed in roughly one month. Released on April 10, 2007, the album entered the Billboard 200 at number 8, selling 45,000 copies. Allmusic reviewer William Ruhlmann stated the album is "a competent example of its genre" awarding the album three and a half stars. A week after the album's release, original bassist Jerry Montano left the band to what was described as "personal reasons on both sides". Damageplan bassist Zilla replaced him, and the band released a DVD titled Below the Belt on November 13, 2007.
Formation and early daysEdit
HellYeah's beginnings can be traced back to 2001 on the Tattoo the Earth tour featuring Mudvayne, Nothingface, Slayer, Slipknot and Sevendust. Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell became friends with Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray, and talked about the possibility of forming a supergroup. The following year, Nothingface toured with Mudvayne and talks to form a supergroup continued, although were constantly put on hold due to scheduling conflicts. At this time, Gray and Maxwell had brainstormed five band names.
Tribbett approached Maxwell "out of the blue" and wanted to join the band. Nothingface drummer Tommy Sickles originally helmed the drum kit for the band's demo, however, things did not work out and a search for a new drummer. The band knew former Pantera, Rebel Meets Rebel and Damageplan drummer Vinnie Paul, and tried to persuade him to join the band as the drummer. Originally, Paul was unsure if he will return to music after the murder of his brother, Dimebag Darrell and 18 month hiatus. The band's persistence paid off and Paul joined the project. Paul commented about joining the project; "Everybody had their head in the right place and that let's-tear-the-world-a-new-ass attitude".
In their previous bands, there had only been one guitarist, so having two was a new experience for all members. Paul felt two guitarists bring back the "old school Iron Maiden thing where they play two parts and give you a grinding rhythm part with a badass melody on top". In 2006, Mudvayne did not have any plans to tour and were taking most of the summer and fall off, while Nothingface were preparing to record their next album. The time over the summer allowed the band to pursue the project which had been talked about for years.
Gray flew into Baltimore to Nothingface's home studio to discuss the project further. The song "Waging War" was written in two days, followed by Maxwell tracking it the next day, and Gray completing vocals. During the summer of 2006, schedules were clear, which allowed members to take the time to record a studio album. The album was recorded at Paul's backyard studio, Chasin' Jason in Arlington, Texas. Filled with photos of his late brother Dimebag, Paul found it tough entering the studio where Damageplan, Rebel Meets Rebel, and Pantera recorded their last albums, but felt "the dark cloud that was there went away", due to everyone's positive energy. Maxwell and Tribbett were the primary writers of the album, and Paul was there to "steer them in the right direction", with Gray adding his opinion on musical arrangements.
Revolver Magazine was one of the first print publications to feature the band in March 2007. The self-titled track, "Hellyeah", started gaining satellite radio airplay in February 2007, and the first single "You Wouldn't Know" hit American radio airwaves the same month. "You Wouldn't Know" peaked at number 5 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks, and 35 on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks. The album's second single, "Alcohaulin' Ass" peaked at number 7 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks. The band's self-titled album, Hellyeah was released on April 10, 2007 via Epic Records. The album debuted at #9 on the Billboard 200 album charts, with sales of just under 45,000. The album peaked on the Top Hard Rock albums at number 15, and number 3 on the Top Rock Albums. As of October 18, 2007, the album has sold 204,000 copies.
Hellyeah received generally positive reviews. William Ruhlmann of Allmusic awarded the album three and a half stars out of five, commenting; "Their album is a competent example of its genre, in which Tribbett and Maxwell combine to create crushing riffs over the pummeling rhythm section of Paul, while Gray howls typically enraged, expletive-littered lyrics to songs". However, Ruhlmann believes Hellyeah is not a notable variation from members' previous bands. Blabbermouth.net reviewer Don Kaye awarded the album 7 out of 10, praising the track "Matter of Time" for its slashing main riff, and "One Thing" as it "marches to the finish line with a rumbling, crunching wall of guitars worthy of Dimebag himself". Kaye thought that Hellyeah's first studio effort was not equal to any of its members' main output. KNAC contributor Andrew Depedro stated "it's a set of good songs recorded by 5 accomplished musicians from diverse backgrounds not letting their pasts define them and those songs in one form or another speak to you in different ways".
Bassist Montano left Hellyeah a week after the album's release. The band's publicist stated his departure was due to "personal reasons on both sides" The band considered Damageplan bassist Bob Zilla as Paul thought; "It was kind hard to go ahead and commit to this band without Bob being part of it". Zilla was invited to audition and got the gig immediately.
Hellyeah embarked on their first tour on May 2007 titled Fire it Up, made an appearance at the Download Festival, and underwent Australian tour in July 2007. The Family Values Tour with Korn and Evanescence, saw the band start touring in late July, which also consisted playing with Alter Bridge in San Antonio before passing through thirty cities before ending in Washington, D.C. A DVD titled Below the Belt was released on November 13, 2007, and featured a documentary, music videos, performance footage from the making of the album, first studio sessions, coverage of the band's world tour, and personal interviews. It was produced by members of the band and Ryan Ziemba.
According to an online Rock music site, Hellyeah will be headlining a tour this spring with; Seether, Five Finger Death Punch, Drowning Pool and Lacuna Coil. The first date is May 11th, 2010 in Madison, Wi. They have also been confirmed to play the main stage at Download Festival 2010. "Cowboy Way" was released for free download via the band's website on April 21st, 2010. On 8th April 2010 it was announced that their new album would be called Stampede and would be released on July 13th 2010. The group has recently been confirmed to be playing the Rock Star Energy Drink Uproar festival along with other headliners Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, Stone Sour and Halestorm.
Paul described the band's sound as "a familiar groove, with a new sound". Blabbermouth.net reviewer Done Kaye commented "with little of the complexity of Mudvayne or angularity of Nothingface and much more of the full-on, pedal-to-the-metal style of Vinnie Paul's previous work". However, Kaye said the songs "Star" and "Thank You" border on musical cliché. Andrew Depedro of KNAC.com stated ""Alcohaulin' Ass" showcases Gray's hidden talent as an outlaw country and western-type crooner in the intro", although thought the band's lyrics were repetitive.
- Chad Gray (Mudvayne) – Vocals (2006-present)
- Greg Tribbett (Mudvayne) – Guitar (2006-present)
- Tom Maxwell (ex-Nothingface) – Guitar (2006-present)
- Vinnie Paul Abbott (ex-Pantera, ex-Rebel Meets Rebel, ex-Damageplan) – Drums (2006-present)
- Bob Zilla (ex-Damageplan) – Bass (2007-present)
- Jerry Montano (ex-Nothingface) – Bass (2006-2007)
- Below the Belt (2007)