How has this tour with Buckcherry and All That Remains been doing so far?
It’s been great, you know? It’s ten days in so far and it obviously started in the west coast, San Diego, and I actually have a house in Las Vegas now, so I was just flying in and out for all of the shows. Today is the first day it really feels like we’ve been on tour because I get done and now I’ll sleep in my bunk, wake up in Kansas City tomorrow, and just roll from there. But all of the bands have been super, they’re all really great live bands, we all get along really good, and it’s just a really good variety of music for the fans who come to the show.
It’s a diverse lineup too, do you think it makes it difficult for the All That Remains fans and HELLYEAH fans to connect with Buckcherry?
Not really, like I mean, they’re a really entertaining live band, you know? And the way the economy’s gotten and the way the business has gotten, Europe’s been doing this kind of stuff for a long time, mixing up bills and putting all different kinds of bands together, and it tends to bring all kinds of different fans to shows, people that probably wouldn’t normally go to a Buckcherry show, are here to see us and All That Remains, then the vice-versa people that like Buckcherry, never heard of us or whatever, it’s an opportunity for them to see us, so it really brings everyone together, and gives everybody an opportunity to play to a lot of people that they normally wouldn’t.
Yeah. You guys just announced an Asian tour coming up–
Yeah, man. It’s going to be really cool, you know? As long as I’ve been doing this, all of the places I’ve ever toured, I’ve never been to Taiwan, I’ve never been to the Philippines. We’re going to get to play with Anthrax, who I’ve been friends with for years, all of them are like 30,000 seat festivals. And it’s just a great way to break the band in over there; never been there so, really excited about it and looking forward to it.
You guys released Stampeded last summer, how did everyone connect to that album versus your self-titled release, HELLYEAH?
The first record was almost like an experiment, we had just gotten together, we had just started to know each other, and luckily, we had some really good chemistry together and we wrote some really killer songs, and then after having a year or so to tour together, really get to know each other as friends, as a band and everything, we really knew what we wanted out of the second record, and I think we went into it with a lot more confidence and just we were able to build the HELLYEAH name through the music.
Do you think that with Stampede, you found your element?
Umm… I just think we knew more about what we were doing. Before, we had written 5 or 6 songs before we had come up with the name of the band. You know, it was– everything was in place this time around for it really gel and keep moving forward.
How did everything start to materialize and come together for Stampede when you were in the writing process?
Oh, I mean, it started back when Mudvayne was still on tour, you know, a year and a half ago, and they’d get a break and come to my place in Texas where we actually recorded the record. We’d record 2 or 3, maybe 4 songs, and then they’d go back on the road for six weeks and come back, and we’d record 3 or 4 more songs.
Around December last year, they finally finished the tour and we really got a chance to be serious about finishing the record and getting everything in place, and then all of a sudden, all the tours came together. We did the Uproar Tour, did a bunch of radio festivals before that. We went to Australia, Uproar Tour with Avenged [Sevenfold], Stone Sour. Then, we went to Europe, did all of Europe with Avenged and Stone Sour, then came back here, did a small headline run, then we’re on this [tour]. Then we got that Asian thing coming up, and then all the European festivals again. Then hopefully again another major summer tour too, in the United States. So, we plan on touring for two years non-stop for this record and we’re about a year in right now and we’re just going to keep going at it.
When you guys are writing your songs, when does everyone really know the right moment when the songs are ready to be recorded?
Well, we work really different, you know. This started with probably the last couple of Pantera records I was a part of. We always recorded everything as we went, that way you capture the moment, you capture the vibe, you capture the feeling of what’s going on at that time. A lot of bands get what’s called “demo-itis” you know. They’ll demo something out, they’ll get real happy with it, and then they’ll go try to re-record it and it doesn’t have the same vibe, it doesn’t have the same feel, it doesn’t have the, you know, what you were feeling that day, you know?
And so, we [Pantera] learned a long time ago, just record everything as we go. And we build it from there, we’re all producers, we all take turns having our input into everything, and we [HELLYEAH] all get along very great. So, that works out good and you know, we know they’re good, when they’re “comin’ done,” you know? We don’t don’t go back and redo them, we don’t do anything. What you hear is probably the first time we ever went through it. It’s just a vibe thing that we have.
How does everyone go about bringing “life” into the music for your albums?
Ah, it’s just five people that have really umm, charismatic personalities, and everybody in the band puts 100% of their effort into it. It’s a band deal, it’s not, you know, one guy’s the main dude and one guy doesn’t do anything; everybody puts their input into it, and on top of that, we all like to produce. I’m the executive producer. Chad [Gray, vocalist] and Greg [Tribbett, guitarist] come in and co-produced two and that’s a way of being more than just a drummer. You’ve got to get the big picture by the end of the day. You can help people with their hooks and lines, this and that, and what they might’ve missed on the other side of the control board and all that kind of stuff.
How does it differ between HELLYEAH, Pantera, and DAMAGEPLAN, or did it?
Umm… (pauses) You know… Here at this point, you know they were all pretty similar. Like I said, they adopted my recording style when we all got together, just recording things as we write them. That’s the way we did it with DAMAGEPLAN. With Dime, we’d just like to be very spontaneous. We wanted to capture that moment, you know? So, it’s not much different at all.
Did you derive any feeling or vibe from Pantera and incorporate into HELLYEAH?
I just think… (pauses) Probably, the biggest thing is just the Southern hospitality, we just wanted to really bring that to the table and the spirit of what it was about. We want to be heavy and we also want to have a good time, and that’s part of what we do. So, that would probably be the only things that came from that.
A lot of your songs on the new album [Stampede] kind of remind me some of the songs on The Great Southern Trend kill [Pantera] with the melodic songs and the heavy songs. How did you all write and put together your songs so that they had the melodic, slow, and heavy elements?
Umm… We just wanted a very diverse record, we wanted it to be like a roller coaster ride, man. You know, just be as heavy as anything we’ve ever done with any of our previous bands, but at times be more melodic, more Southern, more groove oriented, more rock n’ roll, you know? So, we incorporate all of those elements into our music.
How would you describe the way your own emotions come out through your music, especially over the years between Pantera to DAMAGEPLAN to HELLYEAH? And has that changed at all?
I would just say, I love playing drums. I’ve always loved playing drums, I’ve always loved being part of a band, the brotherhood, the camaraderie you get from it, and those are the most important things to me. I mean, I’m not a solo artist, I don’t want to go and do things by myself, you know? I like doing [things] as a band, as a crew; all of our crew guys are our family, they’re all apart of what we do. We consider them part of the band. And that’s just the main things I’ve enjoyed out of the most…
How do you believe your passion for metal, or music in general effects the way that your music turns out?
It’s just like anything, if you’re passionate about it and put your heart into it, you’re going to get your very best out, you know? If it’s something you’re doing just to go through the motions or to make a paycheck or something, you’re not going to get your very best, you know? So, you really, you have to love doing this otherwise, it’s fake, it’s not real, and it’s not good.
Do you feel that HELLYEAH has already impacted people similar to how Pantera affected and still affects many people?
Well, you know, Pantera came from a different era, a different time when people still bought CD’s, (laughs) cassettes even back then, stuff like that, you know. It made a huge impact, you know. We touched a lot of people. It was truly an international band and that was one of the goals with this band, on the second record was to take this band international.
We did really great in the United States with the first record, it nearly went gold, [it] did really good in Australia, but we never toured in places besides that. So, with this record, we’ve already been to Europe twice, we’ve been to Japan, Australia, we’re about to go to Asia, all those places there. So, we just are branching this thing out. It’s a different day and age, it’s just more difficult now than it used to be.
You mentioned earlier that there is a brotherhood in HELLYEAH, how would you describe the passion and connection you all have and how did your connection with Dimebag [Darrell] differ because you two were real brothers?
Yeah. Well, I mean the bond I had with my brother Dime, I will never be able to touch that again, it was– we did everything together since I was two years old. He was two years younger than me. So, we were like a machine, you know? The way we operated between the two of us, it was like I was the business guy and he was the fun party guy. (laughs) As long as he was throwing the party, I would take care of the business and vice-versa. Instead of having to be the dude that is the fun party guy and handles the business because it’s usually rock ‘n roll, you’re one or the other. And usually it’s the fun party guy, you know? So, he’s greatly missed and all that, you know?
It was one of those things that I didn’t think I’d be apart of this ever again without him and after about a year and a half had gone by, these guys called me up, Chad [Gray] and Tom [Maxwell], they were like, “We’re thinking about putting this band together, would you be into it?” First couple of times, I told them, “No, I don’t think I’m ready to do this yet.” And they just were real persistent, they kept calling me. And one night, I had been drinking some red wine and listening to some KISS on 12 [vinyl record] and I said, “You know what, lets take a shot at this, lets see what happens.”
They came down, and we all really liked each other, got along great, we did some barbequing, did a lot of drinking, and the next day we got up and wrote our first song together, which was Nausea, on the first record, and we wrote eight songs the first seven days we were together, and we were like, “Wow.” We came up with the band name and were like, “Lets fuckin’ do this! Lets do it man!” So that’s how it happened.
How important is it for newer artists/bands to have versatility in their music, like what I said earlier, Pantera had with The Great Southern Trendkill, and what HELLYEAH has, a mixture of different types of songs (melodic, heavy, etc)?
I like versatility, man. It’s just like Baskin Robins, there’s a reason why they got 31 flavors of ice cream, man. There’s a whole lot to choose from there, you know? And I feel that way about music. I really like peaks and valleys in music. There’s so many bands that, it’s just a fuckin’ freight train from start to finish, every song. It’s just like you don’t get a chance to breathe or to move, or have another emotion or anything else, you know? That’s one of the things I really like about HELLYEAH, like I said, it could be a metal band, it could be a rock ‘n roll band, it could be a Southern rock band, it could be a lot of different things, you know?
I have one more question… What is something that you truly want Dimebag to be remembered for by everybody, especially Pantera fans?
Well, I mean… (pauses) The bottom line with him was that he wanted to put a smile on people’s faces, period. It didn’t matter whether it was handing out a guitar pick, doing a shot with him, taking a minute to talk to him, whatever it was, he wanted to put a smile on people’s faces. And that’s what got him off. That made him tick, you know? And that’s something people may not have known about him. But he always gave everything he had, every day, and that was the thing I remember the most. It didn’t matter how hung over he was, how tired he was, whatever. If there was someone beating on the door of the bus, he would shake hands, sign an autograph, bullshit with them for a minute, and then make their day.
Those are all of my questions…
Unless you would like to add anything else?
Just thank all of the fans coming out supporting us, it’s been a great run so far and we’re looking forward to keep kicking ass on the Stampede album, and then getting back to the studio, my house so to speak, (laughs) and knocking on our third album, doing it all over again!