HELLYEAH Blood For Blood interview

hell yeah

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TOM MAXWELL

MWMS:  You guys excited to play Rocklahoma this year?

TOM:  Yeah!  We had a blast last time and it seems like the lineup is even bigger this time around!

MWMS:  It keeps getting bigger every year!  Tons of great bands and lots of crazy fun people!  So how are things going with HELLYEAH these days?  You guys just went through some major lineup changes.

TOM:  Yeah it’s been a crazy situation but it’s better than it has ever been!  You know what I mean?  It’s probably hard for people to wrap their heads around that.  The way the band was going just wasn’t working anymore.  There’s just a lot of damage to the infrastructure of the band.   This change was needed!  This all happened while we were writing the record, which was a very difficult time to do that.  To me, there were just times where it looked like we were imploding and it took everything I had to keep it together.  This new record really just saved us.  It was such a gift!

MWMS: Yeah man!  I love this album and I really really liked your first album!  I saw in one of your webisodes where you mentioned that you guys got pigeonholed into being a “party band” and I assumed it would come to a point where you guys wanted to do something different.

TOM:  I’m glad you brought that up man.  The first record had that one fuckin’ song “Alcohol’n Ass”, which was written on a beer run and then that all went into the second record as well.  It was all a drunken haze.   We became something I couldn’t be any further from.  I mean I have this cowboy hat, but that has been my look since 99!  We were all of a sudden this rootin tootin southern party band but that’s not what I wanted to do.  I feel the last record was the beginning of a turn around for us to get back where I wanted to be.  Chad really dug deep for this record!

MWMS:  That vocal performance on this record is the best I have ever heard from Chad and I think maybe it’s because it’s coming from an honest place?

TOM:  I’m glad you said that man because it is honest!  I didn’t think “Stampede” was an honest record.  “Band of Brothers” was getting there but I feel some stuff was dumbed down on there.  My bandmates might be mad at me for saying that but I’m just being honest.  Everything is just so real and honest on this album and it gets better with each listen!  Sure people have heard “Sangre” and “Cross To Bier” but that’s just scratching the surface.  Just wait until they hear “Moth”, “Demons in the Dirt” and “Soul Killer” and then “Hush” comes in and crushes them emotionally.  We are all just so high with positivity!  We brought in our friend Kyle to play bass who is killer!  Then we have our friend Brady coming out to play guitar.  There’s so much shit going on in this record that needs to be played live!  Brady is not known and that’s what’s so cool about it, he is a sick player and a great singer and Chad is so excited to have someone who can do great harmonies with him.

MWMS:  There is a little of everything on this record!  “Say When” is just a huge machine gun blast from Vinnie!  I haven’t heard him play drums like that in forever.

TOM:  And that’s because we are all so rejuvenated!   I’m not trying to throw people under the bus but things weren’t healthy and we needed to clean house.  In order to make this record we had to get rid of what was keeping it down, what was fucking it up.  Like if anything is wrong in your life, if it’s not working for you and it’s inhibiting you from doing what you need to do then you need to cut it out of your life and that’s what we did.  It was painful and gruesome but all of a sudden everyone is excited and happy now!  This is the record I have been trying to make since the beginning of this band.

MWMS:  My favorite track is “Black December”.

TOM:  That song is actually about 10 years old.  I wrote and recorded it years ago but it has since then been re-writen and changed up a little bit.  That song was sitting on a cd and I had forgotten about it until my wife found it.  She’s a big fan and listens to all of my music.  She was going through a bunch of my old shit one day and hands me the disc and said – track seven, you need to figure it out.  This track needs to be brought back to life – and that’s where that song came from.  Chad had the hardest time putting lyrics on it because musically it’s like a journey that takes you all over the place.  It was like his nemesis in the studio but he fucking crushed it!  His vocals are just amazing and the whole thought behind it about being Black December when a month of celebration is suppose to be this beautiful time but there is a lot of depression and a lot of dark shit that happens that brings the worst out in people.  Chad took it and made that twist on it and it turned out great!

MWMS:  I can tell this is straight up the band’s best album!

TOM:  The beautiful thing is, I wasn’t even done writing man!  I just had to give them what I had.  “Hush” is my favorite track on the record, it’s very personal to me.  It’s not a pit song, it’s emotional.  Me and Kevin wrote that in the studio.  I was scared to show it to the guys because the chorus has a pop element, it’s very upbeat.  I didn’t know if they’d like it or not!  Then we joke saying Shania Twain could sing on this song and then Chad did this beautiful vocal take on it!  He is just so identifiable.  Mudvayne was very metaphorical but this band gives him an avenue where he can be himself and be uninhibited.  We wanted him to sing on this album because on the last album he was just agro all the time but he brought this album to life.

MWMS:  To be honest, when I heard “Cross To Bier” and Chad’s vocal came in, I just wanted to start pushing everyone around me, it’s so killer!

TOM:  Yeah dude, when people get the full album and play through the whole thing it’s going to make believers out of a lot of haters and our hardcore fans just that much happier and I really think this is the best record we could have made in this point of our lives.  If I lost an arm yesterday and couldn’t play again, I could say I made this record and I am complete.  I really do appreciate you digging the record and seeing it for what it is.  It was a hard record to make, it’s very personal to all of us and hearing your opinion of it is exactly what we were hoping for.

MWMS:  That’s great man!  I can’t wait to see peoples reaction to this and I can’t wait to catch you guys at Rocklahoma!

TOM:  Thanks man!  Can’t wait for the Rocklahoma date!