HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell has penned an open letter to Vinnie Paul Abbott on the first anniversary of the drummer's death.
Maxwell wrote: "Vince, in the blink of an eye, everything changed. I'm writing you this letter to tell you how much I miss and love you. Never could I have imagined you not being here with us anymore.
"There's so much all of us lost when you left us. Your smile, your infectious laugh, your always steadfast care of all those around you. Everything has changed now. Our family is just shards of what it used to be. It seemed like every day was harder than the one before it. It's hard just knowing that you're not here to lift everyone up and make everything better with just the simplest things you always used to do. It's hard waking up and trying to navigate through such murky waters. We're doing our best, some better than others, some not so much. Grief is just love with no place to go and that's how I feel sometimes.
"Our record is coming out soon and I know you would be hella proud of it. We've committed to represent the record and honor your memory and what you would have wanted us to do. But it's not easy. Passions have been diluted and almost lost to certain degrees, but in the end, I just think about how disappointed you would be if we didn't move on. To what eventual extent, I do not know.
"I go for days/weeks sometimes without even looking at a guitar. My desire and hunger for all of it suffers greatly, but I know that it's temporary. Or at least I hope so. Maybe going back on the road and surrounding myself with the HELLYEAH family will help resurrect my love affair with music and playing. I know you would want that from me and everyone else. You were always so positive and not one to dwell in negativity. I'm trying; we're all trying.
"We love you, Vince, and we miss you terribly. I'm going to put my hat back on, lace up my Chucks, put on my guitar and deliver/destroy and represent HELLYEAH the best best way I can.
"Thank you for always being there for me. Thank you for encouraging me, letting me into your life and most of all, being my dear friend. I miss you and hope that we get to see each other again someday on the other side. Until then. Your friend, Maxwell"
Vinnie Paul died at the age of 54 in his sleep at his home in Las Vegas. The official cause of death was dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease.
Vinnie was buried on June 30, 2018, next to his brother, PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, and their mother, Carolyn, at Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas.
Two years after the 2004 death of his brother, Vinnie returned to music with HELLYEAH, which also featured members of MUDVAYNE and NOTHINGFACE. Vinnie recorded a total of six albums with the band over the past decade, including the upcoming "Welcome Home", for which he laid down his drum tracks before his death.
HELLYEAH has recruited Roy Mayorga (STONE SOUR) to sit behind the kit for all shows in support of "Welcome Home".