I just woke up to the awful news that Vinnie Paul, the legendary and highly influential metal drummer for Pantera, Damageplan and Hellyeah, passed away in Las Vegas. The cause of death has not yet been released. He was 54.
A statement posted on Pantera’s Facebook confirmed Vinnie’s passing: “Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away. Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah. No further details are available at this time. The family requests you please respect their privacy during this time.”
Eight years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Vinnie and Hellyeah bandmates Chad Gray (Mudvayne), Greg Tribbett (Mudvayne), Tom Maxwell (Nothingface), and Bobzilla (Damageplan).
At the time I was running LimeWire’s music blog. I somehow convinced their publicist that it would be a good idea for the band to come to the company’s office in NYC’s SoHo, fire up the barbecue on the roof deck and chat about their just released second album, Stampede. The previous night I saw them tear the roof off Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
I’ll never forget Hellyeah inadvertently disrupting an all-hands company meeting as they climbed the staircase to the roof with their entire road crew in tow. The memory of seeing heads swivel in unison in the band’s direction and hearing someone yell “Pantera’s here!” is etched in my mind.
As you’ll see in the videos below the band and crew had a blast, grilling, chilling and drinking beer just like they do back home in Texas. Vinnie knew his way around the grill and was prepping the release of a cook book, Drumming Up An Appetite with Vinnie Paul, which was released later in the year.
After the video shoot was over the band and crew hung on the roof. They soaked in the beautiful day before heading out on the road to their next gig.
Before they left I told Vinnie how much Pantera’s music meant to me and how much I admired his brother Dimebag Darrell, who was murdered on stage in 2004. Vinnie gave me a big hug and thanked me for the kind words.
I’m really grateful that I had the opportunity to spend time with Vinnie and his band.
The band cooking salt-and-pepper burgers and stuffed jalapenos.
Vinnie and Chad chatting about Stampede.
Here’s Vinnie talking about his book, Drumming Up An Appetite with Vinnie Paul.