Exactly where are you with Hellyeah’s third album?
Vinnie: The record is done. I’ve been mixing it for last week in Las Vegas. On our first two records, we were a new band. We really wanted to branch out and expand and experiment with all different styles. We all come from traditional metal bands and backgrounds, so it was a great breath of fresh air to play in a band that was rock ‘n’ roll, blues and Southern rock. We got that out of our system and got really focused on going back to our metal roots. It’s heavy, focused, groove-oriented and I’m excited about it.
Has that bluesy, Southern rawk element been abandoned altogether? Or is it still there somewhat, just in lesser form?
Vinnie: There is some of that in there, but when we started writing, we thought, ‘Let’s take this to a place we haven’t been all the way yet.’ We’ve been super diverse, from songs like ‘Alcohaulin’ Ass’ to ‘Better Man,’ but this one honks from start to finish!
Honks, huh? I like that.
Vinnie: It’s about getting your groove on — that’s what we used to do. The first two records were the chance to breathe and expand and do something we hadn’t done in our past and in our other bands. When you meld guys from Pantera, Mudvayne and Nothingface, this is what you get. It just honks.
Can you tell us anything else, like the title?
Vinnie: The record is done, but we have to come up with a title. We’ve been arguing over it for a few months. We’ll figure out sooner or later.
Is that process of figuring the title out democratic? Why not put it in the fans hands this time out?
Vinnie: They’ve made some great suggestions. We’ll come to agreement. When it hits us, we’ll all know.
What’s planned for Hellyeah’s immediate future?
Vinnie: We’re playing the Soundwave Festival in Australia. I’ve never been a part of any Australian festivals; we only played arenas in Pantera. Then we will do a headline run in April and hopefully have the album out at the end of May.
Now that you’re about to launch the third Hellyeah album, how do you think Pantera fans truly feel about Hellyeah? You once told me that it is the band that made you want to make music again, after the tragedy of losing your brother Dime, which is a big deal for someone of your stature.
Vinnie: Without a doubt. Some Pantera fans are on the fence and I understand that. Pantera is a marquee band, with the most diehard fans. We sold over 20 million records without MTV or radio. For some people, that’s the only band they’ll do. But then again, a whole lot of them understand this and have followed Hellyeah and have been in line with us. Hellyeah have great fans. We’re a beer-drinking, hell-raising band that kicks ass live. I love both the records. It’s a good release, to play songs that are not full throttle 2-4-7. But this new one is a great combo of what we previously did, with more metal.
You are a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan … are you making any bets on the Super Bowl for or against the Giants?
Vinnie: I didn’t buy a house in [Las] Vegas for nothing. I love to gamble! I haven’t done great in the playoffs this year, though. I did win on the New York Giants, even though I am a Cowboys fan. I think Tom Brady is the best QB in the NFL and they are America’s Team, Part II. Despite all that, Eli Manning has finally proven he is everything his brother is and then some. He is playing at the ultimate level right now.
It must be hard to say that about your NFC East rivals and their QB!
Vinnie: The NFC East really is the best division. We are always right there in the playoffs and one of us is almost always close to the Super Bowl. I’ll tell you this — the Patriots only beat one winning team all year, so they have their work cut out for them. Yes, I was crying silver and blue when the Giants beats the Cowboys, though.