What happen if %cDamageplan%, %cPantera%, %cMudvayne% and %cNothingface% combine? You get %cHellyeah%! That's the proper way of describing the supergroup that ruled the Billboard chart at #9 the first week the self-titled album 'Hellyeah' was released. Selling 45,000 copies, the album was the only debut beside %cBright Eyes%' 'Cassadaga' to enter the Top 40 chart in that week, thanks to the brilliant sound of lead single 'You Wouldn't Know' that continuously climbed up the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart for more than 10 weeks and peaked at #10. Moreover, anticipating the empty slot of bassist after Jerry Montano departed from the band just weeks after the album's release, the band quickly filled it with Damageplan's ex-bassist Bob Zilla. These lots are just getting interesting.
Although officially formed in 2006, the heavy metal group's story came long before that. In 2003 Chad Gray from Mudvayne approached Nothingface's Jerry Montano and Tom Maxwell to do a work together. They had previously known each other through the tours that eventually created a bond among them. While Gray's band took a break post a tour, the vocalist traveled all the way to Baltimore, Maryland, which was Nothingface's base camp, to meet Montano and Maxwell. One chat and one writing process after, the threesome produced a track called 'Waging War'. Little did they know that this track would one day be included in Hellyeah's debut album. The mutual relationship had to stop temporarily, as Gray was indebted to do the work for Mudvayne's 'Lost and Found' (2005).
Few months after completing his task, Chad who was excited by the first collaboration couldn't help but contacted the two Nothingface members again but with a better idea this time. Tagging along his guitarist band mate Greg Tribbett, Chad had a band in mind. Four in the house, they needed a drummer to form a complete band. One name after another failed to impress them that they finally called an old friend Vinnie Paul Abbot who was at that time already parted ways with Pantera and Damageplan. Unfortunately, Vinnie was not ready to start a new band for his commitment at that moment was to his Big Vin Records. However, the offer kept coming in the back of his head. Paul recalled that moment saying, "Everybody had a killer attitude and any of the hardships and usual rock n' roll bullshit I'd been through with Pantera and Damageplan, didn't exist with these guys. Everybody was in the right frame of mind and we all wanted to go out and kick some ass." And thus, Vinnie joined the club.
During summer 2005, these people gathered in home studio that was located inside Vinnie's late brother's house in Texas. Upon their work, music was pouring out like they couldn't get enough. Gray described the moment as "so right and so good that all just wanted to throw down and do something that came from the heart and was all for fun and for the love of making music." Within a week, seven songs were ready but they couldn't rush into a record as each member had to juggle with previous commitments. So they worked extra hard to produce songs that lifted the weight of Tribbett and Maxwell's crushing riffs, Vinnie and Montano's solid rhythms and Gray's aggressive roar. As a result, bone chilling and mind frying metal sounds were heavily present in tracks "Hellyeah," "Goddamn," and "Rotten to the Core". These songs represented the band's mood, but they did not trap themselves in this genre. Tribbett was challenged to add a country vibe but couldn't pull it himself. He asked the help of Chad who eventually got to the chorus and finished the song in 20 minutes. The song was eventually titled 'Alcohaulin' Ass'. Meanwhile, there was still an attempt to 'soften' the selection of songs with the inclusion of power ballad 'Thank You', sentimental 'Star' and also instrumental 'In the Mood'. It was then that the songs were ready to be molded into a record.
In between the tight schedule making songs, the band had to start thinking about naming the band. They came up with few options but finally 'Hellyeah' that came upon a joke stole the spot. With the moniker the band set to release self-titled effort on April 10, 2007 before initially giving the first taste of their music through track 'Hellyeah' in February 2007. Sadly, the band had to go through a formation change just when the album started gaining attention. Citing personal problem, Montano announced his resignation from the band until the new member can be found. On April 19, the bassist void was finally given to Bob Zilla and substantially, the band was in high demand to perform the album live. Within their schedule are Download Festival on June 9 and Family Values Tour that starts July 20 in St Louis.