Brandon Marshall of Sonic Excess recently conducted an interview with drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott (HELLYEAH, PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Sonic Excess: "Stampede" is set to be released on July 12 in Europe and July 13 in the U.S. Do you enjoy the anticipation and build-up surrounding an album's release, or do you just want to get it out to the masses as quickly as possible? Vinnie Paul: We're definitely excited about the new record, and we are all very proud of it. We just can't wait for people to hear it, ya know? We went out on the road a couple of months ahead of time so we can re-familiarize the fans with the band, and it's been going great! The new songs have been doing awesome, everything that we've been playing. It's just exciting to have a new record come out. We are like a kid in a candy store. We've got a lot more songs to play live now.
Sonic Excess: There is also a limited edition CD of "Stampede" available on Hellyeah.com. Can you tell us about that, and will it be available in stores? Vinnie Paul: Nah, it just online. There is a unique bull skull that comes with it to give the fans a little bit more of collector's item to hold on to. Also, there is a limited-edition album cover and I don't think there has been anything like it! As you move it, the front of it changes to different images, and it's something for the collectors and fans to appreciate. Sonic Excess: When HELLYEAH went into the studio, did you have a vision of what the record would be, or was the recording process a bit more spontaneous? Vinnie Paul: Everything with HELLYEAH is spontaneous. The first record was almost like an experiment. We had just gotten to know each other, and we had great chemistry together. With "Stampede", we came into it with a lot more confidence. We knew what the band was all about and what we wanted to do with the music. Sonic Excess: HELLYEAH has a complex style with quite a few fusions elements. If you had to put a label on what style HELLYEAH is, what would it be? Vinnie Paul: We are everything from a balls-out metal band, like how we were with our previous bands, down to a southern-rock band. HELLYEAH is a combination of everything and it's just hard to pin it down. One of the things we really like about this band is that we are not pigeonholed, creating one style or sound. If I had to say anything, it probably would be a heavy, southern-rock band. Sonic Excess: Before going onstage, do you have any pre-show rituals or anything you do to get yourself psyched up? Vinnie Paul: Yeah, man. I like to have a couple shots of vodka to loosen me up, and the rest of the guys like to have a couple of beers. We just put on some old-school metal like SLAYER, old METALLICA, JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, IRON MAIDEN, all of that stuff we grew up on, and it pumps us up. If you can't get up for a show when you walk out on stage and hear the roar of the crowd, you have something fucking wrong with you. Sonic Excess: PANTERA's "Cowboys From Hell" is coming up on 20 years, and I understand there is going to be a re-release. Vinnie Paul: Yeah, Atlantic Records is re-releasing all the PANTERA stuff, but right now it's "Cowboys From Hell". Everything looks really great (layout and artwork), and everything is remastered up to date with modern sounds and tones. It has some new pictures. It's going to have some demos with it and some personal stores from the band, so it will definitely be a special collector's item for the fans. Sonic Excess: Now, when is that coming out? Vinnie Paul: I believe it's coming out at the end of the year. Sonic Excess: Any unreleased songs or live tracks? Vinnie Paul: Yeah, I believe there is going to be some live tracks and some stuff that people have never heard. Sonic Excess: Will you be re-releasing "Power Metal" or all of the early PANTERA albums? Vinnie Paul: I wouldn't mind reissuing them, but there are so many bootleg versions floating around. So it would be kind of pointless. Read the entire interview from Sonic Excess.