HELLYEAH Guitarist Says This Is Not A One-Time Project

FMQB recently conducted an interview with HELLYEAH/NOTHINGFACE guitarist Tom Maxwell. A few excerpts from the chat follow:

FMQB: The news recently broke that Jerry Montano [bass] left [HELLYEAH]. What happened?

Tom: All I can say about it is that it's a real personal matter and we just had to move on.

FMQB: Do you have a replacement yet?

Tom: No, not yet. There are a few names in the mix, but I've been taking a step back and just trying to deal with everything as it is already. I have so much going on with making sure I'm ready for rehearsal and learning all of the songs inside and out, and it's hard juggling two bands when I'm still writing songs for NOTHINGFACE. It's a lot, but everything is amicable and everybody is moving ahead.

FMQB: Are you and Jerry still in NOTHINGFACE together?

Tom: NOTHINGFACE right now is in a period of finishing the music [for the next record], and we haven't even begun talking about anything like that yet.

FMQB: What was it like when you started working in Dimebag Darrell's home studio?

Tom: It was very emotional for Vince [Vinnie Paul Abbott, ex-PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN], especially the first day or two. That was the first time he had been in there to do work. For us, it was more like, "Wow," because the essence of his life is all over the place. Memorabilia, notes that he wrote, pictures of people with him. It was like walking into the realm of a band and a musician who shaped me as a writer. It's a strange feeling, but I felt honored and blessed to do that. Vince was ready to go and he got behind the kit, and we were the band that he choose to do that with. And there was no guarantee that it was going to be good. You can take multiple dudes from bands and put them together in one room, and they might be able to drink and barbecue together, but that doesn't mean they're going to write good songs. That was the most mind-blowing part, because the music was just happening. We weren't struggling to write, the music was writing itself. That's the most beautiful way to write because it's raw and authentic and completely honest. There is nothing contrived or premeditated about it.

FMQB: Is the tragedy that happened to Dime something you addressed in the lyrics?

Tom: No, but I think when Chad [Gray, MUDVAYNE/HELLYEAH frontman] wrote the lyrics for "Thank You", he did it with Dime in mind. He also did it with his own personal stuff and my stuff as well. But in general, he just wanted to write it for people that have suffered losses like that. Everybody that has lost something always wishes they had that last moment, that last conversation. That was Chad's way of wearing his emotions on his sleeve and opening himself up.

FMQB: Do you see this as being a one-time project or will it be a continuing band?

Tom: We're going to keep doing it. At first we just wanted to put together a record and go out and have some fun, but it's more than that now. We've really bonded as friends and the music speaks for itself. The beautiful part about it is that we get to do this, and we'll take it as far as the record will let us, and then we can put it to bed. Everybody will go back and do what they're doing with their other bands, and in a couple of years, when the time comes, we'll reconvene and put out another HELLYEAH record.

FMQB: Are you looking forward to getting out on the Family Values tour?

Tom: I can't wait to get on the road! It doesn't get any better than being out there with your friends. A lot of musicians will say it sucks, because you're traveling 18 hours a day and the only moment you have is the 45 minutes of glory on stage. That might be true for some people, but I love it. I'm with my friends, cruising around the country, throwing down every night. It's awesome — I can't wait to do it again. Some people say we should be playing Ozzfest or more of a metal festival, but no music is too good for anybody. If we're going to be playing in front of a totally different kind of crowd, whether it's the KORN crowd or the EVANESCENCE crowd, then bring it! We are what we are, and it's going to speak for itself. Some people will flip out over it and for others, it might not be their cup of tea. But we are all about this band and we don't care who loves it or hates it. It's going to be a lot of fun.

FMQB: What is the status of the next NOTHINGFACE album?

Tom: It's pretty much done. [Singer] Matt has been tracking, and I just got a new song that he did vocals for, and it's amazing! He's kicking ass. It's going to be a really strong NOTHINGFACE record when we drop it. Matt really gets to live with this stuff for a long time because it's not like we have a deadline, so as we're touring this summer, he's still going to be working on it. I don't know exactly when it will come out because we have to see what the HELLYEAH album does. I'm guessing that it will be around this time next year. But even though we've written tons of songs and have them demoed, we still have to re-record them for the album. Right now they're in demo form. It's going to be a little bit of time, but I can assure you, that next record is going to be sick.

Read the entire interview at www.fmqb.com.

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