Interview: Hellyeah Bassist Reveals Why Pantera Won’t Reunite

Hellyeah is a rock/metal supergroup consisting of vocalist Chad Gray (Mudvayne), guitarist Tom Maxwell (Nothingface), guitarist Christian Brady (Magna-Fi), bassist Kyle Sanders (MonstrO), and drummer Vinnie Paul (Pantera). The band is currently on the North American traveling Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. You can click here to view our recap and photos of the event. We spoke to bassist Kyle Sanders at the show. You can view the interview below.


We’re here at the first day of Mayhem Festival in San Diego along with headliners Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, and many more amazing bands. Who in this lineup do you think has had the biggest influence or affect on your band?

Kyle Sanders (bassist): I would say Slayer, personally. But there’s some huge King Diamond fans in our band. I’ve played a lot of shows with Slayer before but not a full run, just a couple festivals and off-shows with them. It’s going to be really cool with those guys everyday for the next five weeks.

Can you remember the first time you heard about them or a memorable moment you had of the band?

Kyle: Originally, when I was getting into metal, it was kind of scary. I started with Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, but then I got into Black Sabbath and Slayer and all that kind of stuff. So my first impression back then was different, but now I couldn’t imagine life without them.

What four bands would you predict or hope to be on next year’s lineup?

Kyle: Well, they don’t do bands twice in a row, so I can’t say my band. I’d like to see Deftones out here doing their thing. Mastodon should be on it next year; it’s been a few years since they’ve did it. I like how old-school this year’s lineup is so I’d like to have Iron Maiden. Judas Priest is still kicking ass too.

813qmcfzgfl-_sl1500_ Album artwork for ‘Blood for Blood’ released in 2014

It’s been a year since your last album, Blood for Blood, came out. Can you reflect back on that album?

Kyle: It came out in June of last year and we started touring in April. It’s been a pretty good cycle so far and there’s no end in sight. We’re going pretty strong for the next couple months. It’s the fourth record and you try to get better and better each time and I think it is definitely the best this band has put out. It’s kind of been like a new life and fire in the band. We’ve been playing it for a year and a half and we’re not sick of it. We’re still putting more songs from the record into the set and playing most of it. It’s been an awesome ride and hopefully we’ll get back into the studio and take it to the next level.

Are there any thoughts towards a follow-up yet?

Kyle: There are thoughts. We know the time is coming, so rather than be overwhelmed, we’re trying to gather ideas and little bits and pieces of stuff. After these next two tours, we’re going to try to do something at the end of the year. We’ll get something out and get back on tour at the beginning of next year.

Any plans towards a musical shift or experimentation for the next album?

Kyle: It’s going to start the exact same way as the last one. We’re not going to change anything. The whole chemistry of how Blood for Blood started was a good setup and just organically came together. We’ll see what new ideas and flavors come to it.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6ZScBMwmmQ]
Official music video for “Hush” single

The big thing you guys are currently doing is the #HushNoMore campaign. Can you talk about the events that led up to the single and the campaign?

Kyle: The song was actually written two years ago, so we didn’t write the song to be exclusive for a charity. It just came out naturally. The lyrics are really close to Chad Gray. If people understand it, then great, but if if they don’t get it, oh well. He’s not writing for that reason. You write for yourself. We were familiar with the charity organizers and they really loved the message. They pitched us the campaign and we were absolutely on board. It was just a really cool coming together of us both.

You’ve also had a cool history in other bands before Hellyeah. Can you talk about those bands and your relationship with them currently?

Kyle: Hellyeah started originally as an experiment. Pantera could only do their style and same with Mudvayne. So, this band was created so Chad and Vinnie and anyone else involved had the freedom to do something else. People always bring up the old bands, and of course we wouldn’t be where we are today without them, but the focus is Hellyeah. It’s cool where everyone came from because it brought us fans from those perspective bands and our younger fans learn about those old bands.


 Former Pantera guitarist, Dimebag Darrell, who was shot onstage in 2004

Are there any thoughts or rumors towards a reunion of Pantera, Mudvayne, or any other past bands of current Hellyeah members?

Kyle: People are always asking that and there’s always the offers, but Hellyeah is definitely the main focus. Pantera is not getting back together. And that’s because Pantera can’t get back together. They can do some sort of tribute, but it’s not a reunion without the full band. They’re not gonna reunite because it’s impossible. And Chad is always getting questions about Mudvayne and that’s just not his focus. We’re trying not to spread ourselves thin.

What’s coming up after this Mayhem tour?

Kyle: We have three days off after Mayhem and then a short headline run in the US with some festivals. Then we go straight to Japan, New Zealand, and Australia, which we haven’t gone to on this cycle yet. After that, we’re gonna start the new record. Mid-September, we’ll take a break and then get back in creative mode for writing and recording. The plan is to have the album done by the end of the year. I would imagine we’d release the album early next year and tour in the states and UK in promotion.

  • Shane99

    A reunited Pantera would be like Van Halen without Eddie. There’s no way.

    • Eddie Yarler

      I gotta admit I’m grateful some bands still have respect for their legacy. Imagine if Pantera “reunited”? They’d probably get Zak Wylde or somebody to be on guitar. Fans would bitch to other fans about how the band “has the right to move on” and “honor Dime’s legacy”. They’d release a really good album as the comeback, than release a half assed follow up, then they’d probably explore other projects or even worse do nothing but sit on their ass at home while the Pantera name brings in just a bit more revenue than it wouldn’t have without the name being active….. Doesn’t this sound really familiar? The sad thing is I’m not even referencing another band specifically, because so many of them do this.

      • Shane99

        Some bands I don’t mind doing it, but then others I think “No fucking way!”. I’m not sure what the difference is, but for AIC I didn’t really mind, even though Layne was my favorite singer. STP, I think I was surprised at first, then I didn’t care, now I feel like they should have changed the name.

        Pantera, right away, I think absolutely not! Maybe it was because of how Dime died, I guess.

        • Eddie Yarler

          I noticed your Layne picture so I’m gonna go out on a wild guess and assume you love Alice in Chains. With that being said I’ve always wanted to discuss this with someone.
          Do you think if it had been Jerry instead of Layne who died, and Layne decided to keep the AiC name going people would be more or less supportive?

          • http://Boom.com Boom

            Boom feel this way. Boom feel that the Layne would have died anyway regardless of the when. The fans would be the more supportive due to fact that the Staley be the frontman with the good singing, at end of day the Jerry just guitar player who does good harmonies but a lot of people could do the filling of that role. There be the nobody to fill the Staleys shoes. This just Booms opinion and felt like doing the sharing to question not asked to Boom.

            Boom out!!
            The Yarler. Go rock the fuck out to music of your choice. Boom choose the Stones Beggars Banquet.

          • Shane99

            For AIC’s signature sound, IMO, I feel that the band always needed Layne and Jerry. Sounds like I’m staying safe there, but I think it’s true. For most people, though, I think Layne’s voice would still be the major draw. I was VERY skeptical at first with William, but I saw them open for VR in Toronto once, and I was blown away. They were fantastic. On the other hand, I have not really enjoyed any of the studio albums with the new lineup. The sound I was obsessed with is gone, and there is something I no longer feel in the music. If it were Jerry that passed away, I think I would feel the same at this point, but would still love Layne’s voice. I will always see the current lineup when they come around, though, and I’m glad they are still going.

            Not really sure I made any sense there.

            They also lost a major talent in Mike Starr.

          • Eddie Yarler

            Yes. I’ve always believed the *true AiC sound was Layne, and Jerry. However, I think both contributed enough to Alice in Chains that one could continue without the other.
            I would think the biggest factor in people supporting a Layne without Jerry Alice in Chains would be if Layne was completely sober. I know many people were not happy with Jerry taking over but at least every performance is stellar. As far as live settings go they truly are in the same league as they were with Layne. I would think more people would also be cool with Layne minus Jerry because in all honesty the general public doesn’t give a shit about anyone besides the singer. I know this isn’t true for every band but I think its why AiC had so much backlash when they reunited, and why STP is brutally ripped apart on their Facebook currently.
            Another thing you should consider though as far as what you said about your spark being gone with new AiC music, is Alice in Chains would probably sound very, very, different if Layne was the primary songwriter. If anything they would probably be closer to their alternative/Grunge sound. If you notice the two new AiC albums are not so much alternative but more so very rock heavy, and that’s because the hard rock was what Jerry brought to the band, combined with Layne’s unique songwriting is what made Alice in Chains such a standout.

          • Shane99

            I think you are right about the new albums’ sound. I feel like these are basically Cantrell albums and not so AIC. They sound more Hard Rock to me. Not that its a bad thing, I like Cantrell’s solo albums.

            I like that you mentioned Travis Meeks above. This is an artist who I’ve been a fan of since the first DOTN album, I still spin that album to this day, and I was really excited when I heard about the Starr collaboration. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.

          • Eddie Yarler

            Dammit it all!!! I put spaces in my reply but its all jumbled together.
            No, you made perfect sense, and worded your reply very eloquently. I think its funny though that you like seeing new Alice live but don’t “feel” the albums because I’m the exact opposite. I love both new albums for the most part. I just wish Jerry would share writing credits with the other members, or I think they should contribute more creatively I don’t know if Jerry wants total creative control, or the other guys are just burned out.
            But for the life of me I can’t stand Duvall singing Layne’s songs. Everytime I hear him do Nutshell, Them Bones, or Man in the Box I cringe. Its not that he is a bad singer its just he sounds so different from Layne that its off to me. Like Chester in STP. Duvall is a wonderful lyricist (Phantom Limb was even more amazing when I found out what the phantom limb sensation was), a great guitarist, and I love his voice on the new albums but he doesn’t really have a role in the band. He sings and plays, and has a writing credit every now and then but he feels like a hired gun. I don’t know if he is an underutilized talent because Jerry wants total control, or a good musician who landed in a great band.

          • Eddie Yarler

            Yes Mike Starr’s death was a tragedy. He was working with Travis Meeks, who I consider to be one of the most underrated musicians of all time, before he died. Alice in Chains and Days of the New together.. Imagine what wonderful music we will never hear because of drugs.


    Talking about the click bait…

    • Shane99

      You did a good job not clicking, I see.

      • ITURBIDE

        I read all the articles in this site.

        Also, go fuck yourself.

        • Shane99

          So you click a lot and then bitch about it.

          Eat a dick.

          • ITURBIDE

            Yes I click a lot…your mama.

          • Shane99

            Even if that actually made sense, you would be the butt of that joke. My mother is 67.

          • ITURBIDE

            Yes….and she have a lot of experience.

          • Shane99

            Maybe, but only with men. So you don’t qualify.

          • ITURBIDE

            haha..good one.

    • http://Boom.com Boom

      You do the clicker and make the comment. So you are here just doing the bitching and not about music report article.

      Boom feel this way. No Pantera without the Dimebag, no comeback no reunion. Things left best alone.

      Boom out!!
      Now go rock the fuck out to the screaming Trees

      • ITURBIDE

        So, “Hellyeah bassist reveals why Pantera will never reunite”…”Yeah, they will never reunite because…the guitarist is like, mmm…you know…dead”….haha…No shit Einstein….Thats your headline? give me a break…What about all the interesting things he said in the interview?…”nah…nobody gives a fuck about Hellyeah…write a title with something relative to Pantera and an impossible reunion that everybody knows its never gonna happen because we need those clicks…”

        Anselmo and Brown just need to do the Audioslave…make a deal with Wylde, hire a famous drummer, make a record under a different name and go out on tour to play Pantera songs and the new ones. Its so easy.

        now go boom yourself.

        • http://Boom.com Boom

          Boom thanks you for support.

          Boom out!!

  • http://www.cuntcertfy.nut/ Whip

    Well, I would have loved to see a Pantera/Dime tribute… about 8 years ago, when Phil still had some semblance of his “Pantera voice” left. Of course, and he has already accepted any future offer, Zakk Wylde would take on the guitarist position. I don’t see any problem with that. An album? Now THAT would be absolutely absurd, but something like headlining a festival would’ve been perfect (5-8 years ago).

  • http://sleepstatus.bandcamp.com Sleep Status Official

    Sleep Status