HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott spoke with Loudwire about the band's recent dismissal of bassist Bob "Zilla" Kakaha and guitarist Greg Tribbett, the recruitment of bassist Kyle Sanders (former member of BLOODSIMPLE and the brother of MASTODON's Troy Sanders) and the recording of HELLYEAH's fourth album, "Blood For Blood". On the lineup change, Abbott said: "It really brought us together.
"We finished the Gigantour with MEGADETH and BLACK LABEL [SOCIETY], which was a fuckin' great tour. We really didn't want to take any time off, man. We felt like we had really got some momentum and the fans were really into where we were going and what we were doing musically and we got into the studio about three weeks after that tour was over and it just really became obvious to us that Greg and Zilla, they weren't really in the same head space as us. So, for us to make this record, we had to part company with those guys.
"I think Tom [Maxwell, guitar] really fuckin' stepped up to the plate and shined all the way through and same with Chad [Gray, vocals]. It really did pull all three of us together we focused on making the best record we could possibly make.
"Now that we finished that, we've got Kyle in the band, Kyle is a good friend. we've known him forever, he's an awesome bass player. He's awesome on stage.
"[We] really didn't want to go through any kind of auditions, we just knew that we wanted someone that was a bro that would fit right in and as soon as we called him before we could say, 'Do you want to do it?' he's like, 'Yeah I'm in.' That worked out perfect. We'll have a touring guitarist that's going to go out with us, we haven't announced that yet, we know who he is and he's a great player, great singer and a really good complement to Tom on guitar. You'll know about him in another week or so.
"Anyway, I think it'll be the best version of the band ever and we're really excited about getting back on the road and getting some touring going."
Regarding Kyle's addition to HELLYEAH and what he has brought to the band, Vinnie Paul said: "Chad had known him for a very long time. BLOODSIMPLE was on Chad's label. BLOODSIMPLE toured with HELLYEAH many times and MONSTRO had a couple of tours, always had an opportunity to see him play and he's a super-cool dude. He knows how to drink and have a good time like the rest of us, and like I said, when it was obvious that we were going to have to make some changes, he was the only guy that came to mind."
"Blood For Blood" will be released on June 10 via Eleven Seven Music. The CD was helmed by producer Kevin Churko at his The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Churko is the Canadian musician, sound engineer, songwriter and record producer who has previously worked with OZZY OSBOURNE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and IN THIS MOMENT, among other acts.
"We definitely felt like it was the most important record of our career," Vinnie Paul said about the new CD. "We knew that we had to deliver the very best record.
"After the first two previous HELLYEAH records, the first two were really directionally all over the place. We really enjoyed doing them, we did something outside what we had done in our previous bands, songs, like, any of them basically would not fly in PANTERA or MUDVAYNE. We really got an opportunity to get that out of our system. And with our last record, [2012's] 'Band Of Brothers', we really felt like got focused, got back to our metal roots, what we wanted to do with the record. With this record, it's a further extension of it. [It's] still a very metal record, but at the same time, [it has] probably the best songs we've ever written as a band. We really feel like, top to bottom, the record speaks for itself, man. It really came out great."