Several weeks ago, Kyle Sanders, the bassist for Hellyeah, answered a few questions for me before he went to sound check. The band was originally formed in 2006 by Chad Gray, Tom Maxwell and Vinnie Paul. Sanders and guitarist Christian Brady have joined the group within the last two years.
The band has also been involved in the No More campaign, which is pretty awesome.
How long have you had the dreads?
It’s a commitment for sure.
On some of your concert pics, you have blood on your face. How does that happen?
I spit blood on Chad’s face every night right before we play “Blood for Blood” every night. That’s pretty exciting for me. And everyone else I guess.
It’s something to see.
Have you ever had a photographer ask you or the band to do anything ridiculous?
Not really. I don’t think anyone wants to ask me to do anything ridiculous.
How is the new lineup working out?
I think it’s perfect. It’s like a new band, you know. It’s a new fire. Everyone is excited. Everyone is happy to be here and be together, you know. I don’t think it’s been that way in the past. It’s a positive thing going on right now.
How long have you been in the band?
Since December of 2013.
Do you feel like the new album is different than previous albums?
I think it’s more mature than the others, which it’s supposed to be. It’s more focused. Overall, I think everyone would agree. It’s the best full record that the band has put out so far. It’s supposed to be getting better and better and be able to do different things and still be good.Everyone in the band is satisfied with it. New fans love it. Old fans love it.
Who are you listening to now?
I listen to pretty much every kind of music. I’m around heavy music all of the time. So I don’t listen to as much heavy music in my off time. I like psychedelic stuff, 70s rock a lot, acoustic singer-songwriter stuff too.
Do you have any upcoming tours planned for the summer?
We plan on taking this hopefully, through the rest of the year. This tour ends March 8. We’ll have an April-May run. We’ll have some dates with Godsmack and some radio shows in the U.S. W’re going to Europe in June and July. Hopefully, there will be more after that. I’m not sure what the plans are yet.
Have you guys found the fountain of youth? You guys don’t look or act your age.
I’ve seen pictures of the drummer was standing on the drum kit. That is awesome.
Every night, every night.
What motivates you guys to keep making music & touring?
Because it’s everyone’s passion. When we’re not playing then we’re miserable. All of the fan feedback is so appreciated. They’re appreciative that we’re there. We’re appreciative that they’re there.
Has it been difficult to balance touring with life at home? Do you have kids at home?
Yeah, I have a family back in Atlanta. It is difficult to balance. It makes you appreciate both sides better. When you’re on the road, you miss being home. When you’re home, you miss being on the road. So it’s all about keeping a good balance and not being gone for twelve months straight but not being home for twelve months straight either. Because then you miss playing. It’s not an easy thing to do but you have to make it happen.
Hellyeah was kind of formed on a whim, like a lot of bands I guess. Did you guys think you would be so successful and still together?
I think so. I think that’s the plan. It started out as kind of a side project because there were other members in other bands. I don’t think it was meant to be a one time thing. You’re in it for the long haul. Whether it works out that way or not is a different story. I always commit to one thing and stick with it.
Who writes most of your songs?
This past record was different because two members are gone. Tom Maxwell wrote the majority of the songs. He and Benny got together in a room and started nailing songs out. Tom is a riff master anyway. He’s got a million of them. So it was focused that way rather of different members writing different parts.
Hopefully, the next record will be different. Me and Tom plan on writing music together. Christian Brady is in the band so hopefully he’ll be writing some music with us to keep the group effort going.
What do you think of musical acts that don’t write their own music or play instruments?
I don’t know what to think of that. You’ve got to think of the person in the situation. Like maybe that was the way they were brought up, that’s all they know. I was brought up to play my own bass and write my own music. That’s just how it is. If you’re a young kid and you have all these people writing music for you and all of a sudden you’re famous and making a lot of money then if they’re happy with it then good for them. I’m not in a line to judge them but I’m not down with it at all.
I was looking up Tom Maxwell. Did you know that there is a different Tom Maxwell in a different band but it’s a swing band? The Squirrel Zippers.
No, I did not. I’ll have to look it up and show him.
On your Tom Maxwell’s Wikipedia, it links to the other Tom Maxwell
I had no idea. I’ll have to look into it.
P.S. Here is a side by side comparison of the Tom Maxwells
Tom Maxwell of Hellyeah
Tom Maxwell of Squirrel Nut Zippers.