HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell has admitted to "The Brutally Delicious Podcast" that he and his bandmates were contemplating calling it quits immediately after getting the news that their drummer, Vinnie Paul Abbott, had died. "We didn't know what to do," he said. "We were, like, 'How [do we keep going]? How do we do this?' It's more than just a drummer — it's our best friend, our brother. And there was a lot of doubt and a lot of anxiety towards the thought of doing it again. I mean, we didn't have a finished record, and I think going in and finishing the album helped us kind of break that ice a little bit. And then, when we agreed to do the one-off show in [Las] Vegas [in May], it was either gonna be awesome, or it really wasn't gonna be awesome. And it turned out to be fantastic, and it really kind of cemented that we had to keep it going.
"I knew in the back of my mind that Vince would have been extremely disappointed and probably heartbroken if we didn't honor the record and honor what he would want us to do," Tom continued.
According to Maxwell, HELLYEAH hasn't made any long-term plans yet "because we're just not at that door yet. We're still trying to ease into getting back on the road," he explained. "We've done one tour so far, and it was great. It really broke a lot of the chains that were holding us back, I guess, to wanna keep [going].
"I was talking to a friend of mine who's a counselor," Tom continued. "And I was, like, 'You know, I've lost my mom, I've lost relatives, I've lost close, close people in my life, but this affects me so much different and hard.' And he's, like, 'Well, you've gotta look at it like this, man — it's like losing a spouse. You guys were living together for over a decade, touring the world, involved intimately in each other's lives every day.' And it made sense, and that little bit helped me understand that kind of pain and anxiety I was having."
Tom said that he was "panicking out" prior to the start of HELLYEAH's recent U.S. tour — the group's first with STONE SOUR's Roy Mayorga, who has stepped in as Vinnie Paul's replacement. "I remember the morning that we were about to leave, I was melting in emotions," he said. "But I'm glad we did it. I was stronger with every day that went by — we all were. The band was playing great, man. Roy just came in and just did us a solid and really pulled us together and made it fun.
"We know what's going on. We know that [Vinnie] is not back there anymore. But we're doing it one day at a time," he added.
HELLYEAH's sixth studio album, "Welcome Home", was released on September 27 via Eleven Seven Music.
Like the last two records, 2016's "Unden!able" and 2014's "Blood For Blood", "Welcome Home" was recorded at The Hideout Recording Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada with producer Kevin Churko.
Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 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.