Roy Mayorga spoke to "That Jamieson Show" about what it was like to join HELLYEAH as the replacement for PANTERA drum legend Vinnie Paul Abbott, who died nearly three years ago at his home in Las Vegas.
"I'm happy I was there to help the guys get through it and carry the torch for Vinnie," the 50-year-old drummer, who also plays in STONE SOUR, said (see video below). "He was a great guy. We love him and miss him. It's pretty heavy. Definitely honored to be the guy that they called to help them do that."
Mayorga went on to say that his friendship with Abbott "definitely had something to do with" why he was chosen to step in for Vinnie once HELLYEAH was ready to return to the road. "I've known all the guys for a long time," he said. "I've known Chad [Gray, HELLYEAH singer] even before he was in HELLYEAH and Tom [Maxwell, HELLYEAH guitarist] when he was in NOTHINGFACE. Kyle [Sanders, HELLYEAH bassist] I was in a band with, so I think that all made sense to them, I guess, to give me a call. And I was really good friends with Vinnie."
Elaborating what it's like to sit on a chair previously occupied by his longtime friend and drumming idol, Roy said: "While I'm playing the show, I'm not thinking about it, but it dawns on me every now and then, while I'm playing, that I'm, like, in his seat right now [and] there's his band [in front of me]. And it's just, like, a 'holy shit' moment. I get really upset just thinking about it — 'Oh my God. I can't believe this is reality.' And then the video montage comes on with Vinnie, and that's when it really hits.
"There's definitely some pressure there, man, 'cause I really wanna get his parts as close as possible," he explained. "'Cause his parts, they're not easy to play, especially the way he plays. He leads a lot with his left. That's kind of what I've realized when I was learning his parts. A lot of his footwork, he starts with his left foot, which I don't — I start with my right. He leads drum rolls with his left — some. It's weird how he plays. It's amazing. His style is just unbelievable. To me, he was like the John Bonham of metal — thrash metal, for sure."
Mayorga stepped in as Vinnie Paul's replacement for the touring activity in support of HELLYEAH's sixth album, "Welcome Home", which came out in September 2019.
Mayorga's addition to HELLYEAH was made official in May 2019. At the time, the band said Roy was the perfect guy to take Vinnie Paul's place. "These men had so much love and mutual respect for each other, this makes our transition so much easier," HELLYEAH said in a statement.
Mayorga previously played with Sanders in MEDICATION, the early 2000s outfit which also featured guitarist Logan Mader (MACHINE HEAD) and singer Whitfield Crane (UGLY KID JOE).
Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.
Not long before his death, Vinnie laid down the drum tracks for "Welcome Home".