Talking Music With Chad Gray of Hellyeah

American rockers HellYeah have had a busy decade since releasing their self-titled debut album back in 2007. The supergroup comprising of vocalist Chad Gray, guitarist Tom Maxwell, drummer Vinnie Paul, Christian Brady (guitar) and Kyle Sanders (bass) have just released their fifth album UNDEN!ABLE. They are also back on UK ground with their European tour playing Bristol’s Thekla on April 14. Andy Howells recently put questions to Chad Gray from the band.

How did you first start out in music?
With a right-handed bass flipped over and restrung in my bedroom every day learning songs by ear. Metallica, Maiden, Sabbath, KISS.  I love all that stuff. I saw Cliff Burton on a live video from Day on the Green in California, it blew me away.  I saw that and knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

Who or what has inspired you most on your musical journey?
Like I said before Cliff Burton. Then I discovered Steve Harris and Geezer Butler.  Those guys inspired the hell out of me and made me into the player I am today. All finger players and super badasses!

Can you give us some background about your latest release – Unden!able?
It’s the 5th Hellyeah record and in my opinion the best.  Everyone got back to their roots and produced a heavy (musically and lyrically) record.  It all started demoing riffs at Vinnie’s house in Dallas and then we took it to Kevin Churko’s studio in Las Vegas.  Kevin produced Blood for Blood which is a great record… then we dug deep and took it to the next level with Unden!able. 

You’re touring shortly are you looking forward to that?
This band is at its best on the road.  We love it!  We’ve been touring this record since May of last year and are now in the middle of a full European tour.  HY just finished 4 weeks with KORN and now we head to the UK for a headline run for a couple of weeks before we head back home and tour the US in June and July.  We hope to hit Australia and Japan before the year is over and then get back to Europe early next year.

What can people expect from your forthcoming Bristol gig?
We really look forward to it. We only had a 30-minute set with KORN so we can’t wait to unleash a full headline set for Bristol.  Hellyeah loves the UK and hope to get back here at least once a year if not more.   

What are you enjoying listening to at the moment?
I’m always on the hunt for something new to get into.  I really dig this kick ass band from Alabama called Beitthemeans.  Been rocking the new Mastodon record Emperor of Sand of sand as well. 

What else have you got planned for the rest of the year?
Other than the touring plans I mentioned before we hope to hit the studio to record some new music.  Depending on the time we have we may do a few new songs at the very least and at best crank out a new Hellyeah record!

  • Photo of Hellyeah by David Jackson
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