In a new in-depth interview with Outburn, HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell discussed the band’s future and how he sees the band in two parts, the original lineup and today’s lineup. Maxwell also talked about his struggle touring with the loss of drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott.
“My love affair with touring and being a part of the whole grind has suffered greatly from losing him. If we are evolving more emotionally and just trying to take those steps to heal, we want to be able to get back out on tour and be excited about it. The tour we just finished was our first in two years. It was our first tour without Vince ever, and I was emotionally crippled.
I was almost vomiting every morning leading into it just because of my nerves, anxiety, and fear levels were at extreme heights. I think down the road if and when we ever do another record, it’s gonna be completely different. That’s going to be the big test. Vince is not gonna be there. I’m not going to go in there and write songs and have somebody go, ‘What would Vinnie play?’ It can’t be that way. It would have to be an evolvement.”
During the chat he expressed how he felt detached from the second and third album and how the band has matured since the beginning.
“I look at this band as two parts now. The first part is us with the original lineup until the first record ‘HELLYEAH‘, the second record, ‘Stampede‘, and then the third record, ‘Band Of Brothers‘. That’s the first half of the band. I loved the first record, but I felt extremely detached from the second and third albums. The type of music we were playing wasn’t really my cup of tea. I think there’s good stuff.
There’s a couple of songs on those albums that get a hall pass from me, but I don’t think the band really became what we are now until our fourth album, ‘Blood For Blood, when we got our other guitar player, Christian [Brady] and our bass player, Kyle [Sanders]. I think that period was the biggest milestone catalyst. That’s really what I love about this band now. We’re writing and releasing the type of songs that I’ve always wanted to do with this band. We’ve become the band that I’ve always wanted us to become.
I think we’ve matured in a lot of ways. Not only musically, but also as people and as brothers. We started out wild, crazy, and alcohol fueled, not really giving a shit about tomorrow. We were just living in the moment. Over the years we’ve kind of pulled the reins back and really started tightening up everything. Now that Vince is gone, we really had to buckle down and pull ourselves and our emotions together to honor him and this record. That’s what our focus is right now.
We’re still very much brothers, but there’s a struggle there. We’re still trying to find our footing and trying to see if we can we can still do this without him. I mean, we know we can, but the emotional side of it is a big thing. I’m hoping that we can figure it out. I have faith that we will, but it’s going to be a long ride.”
When asked about what’s coming up next for HELLYEAH, he replied:
“The only thing we’re focusing on right now is honoring this record, touring it, and honoring Vince with every show that we play. Kyle said it best, ‘Whatever doors the universe puts in front of us, we’re gonna have to go through, whether it’s good or bad.’ So, we’re just gonna have to see. I can’t really forward think that far ahead.
Whether there’s ever going to be another record, I don’t know. Would I like to do one? Sure. Am I ready to do one? No. It’s too early to say anything. We’re just gonna take this one day, one tour, one song at a time right now. We’re just lucky enough that we found somebody that is a brother who is going to be there to help us and step into that drum world and help us get through. There’s no way we could have done it with anyone else. It’s kind of cosmic.”