Interview with Chad Gray of Hellheah/Mudvane

In late December of 2007 we  had a chance too sitdown with lead singer of Hellyeah/Mudvane Chad Gray to discuss the current state of Mudvane, Hellyeah's debut and tour among many other topics of disscussion 

Brandon Marshall: I'm here with Chad Gray from Hellyeah and Mudvayne. So 2007 has been a productive year for you, 2 CD releases, a DVD and a few tours. We have three weeks left in the year, what else do you have for us?

Chad Gray: Umm, I'm gonna go home and paint my house.

BM: Are you looking forward to some time off?

CG: Yes! I'm looking forward to going home and just chilling out for a bit.

BM: Now Mudvayne just released By the People, For the People, why don't you tell us about the concept behind it and how it came about.

CG: We just had a ton of music archived that was just basically sitting around so that was what inspired us to have the fans pick the tracks and we determined what version we would pick, we had live versions of stuff, we had demo versions of everything. This is for the hardcore Mudvayne fans, it's not just put out to sell copies and it's for the hardcore fans to just see what it's like, where the songs come from. It works out cool because it seems like the fans get that much closer to us and us kind of surrendering ourselves. It's not sonically perfect, there demos and live versions. As far as the artwork goes we had the fans pick that too. We had tons and tons of stock piled stuff like photos and stuff that kids would draw for us so that worked out. One of the biggest headaches for a record is just getting the artwork together. The kids were taking the time to do this so it was another good way for us to give back to our fans. We ran a contest for the cover and we found the cover that we wanted and everything else was up to the fans, everything. It was just a big collage of stuff from over the years.

BM: Wow, that's the ultimate fan appreciation letting them design and pick a CD like that. Really cool.

CG: Thanks, and I hope people realize that our people are more then fans, they are friends all over the world. I have met people on tour in 2001 that come to shows and I still talk to, so this is kind of our gift to them because we really appreciate everything that they have done for us.

BM: Now is Mudvayne going to do a proper release in '08?

CG: Yes! It's recorded, mixed and ready to go. We got gotta sit down and talk.

BM: Hellyeah debuted just over six months ago and have been going strong ever since. Was it a high pressure situation organizing, or because everyone already knew everyone was it more like friends hanging out?

CG: There was no pressure at all. We went in and wrote a record and we had no label support. We got together and there was some decent magic there and if it would have sucked then we would have not put it out.

BM: Speaking of record labels how come you didn't sign with Vinnie Paul's (Drummer for Hellyeah) label?

CG: We can't do that.

BM: Why is that, ethics?

CG: I'm still signed with Epic so we can't do that, but if we had it would have been great, we would have made all  the money.

             

BM: So was it tough to try to get everybody in the same room at the same time?

C G: Yeah, we have been talking about this since 2002. We where supporting Disturbed when we where playing in Nothingface and Mudvayne and we just started talking about it drunk in New Orleans one night, shit faced and joking around, next thing we knew we woke up the next day and shook off the hangover and it still sounded like a cool idea but when do you do it, you know? We first tried in I think '04 and we wrote one song but I got so busy with Mudvayne I just didn't have time for it. We have a window of opportunity in the summer of '06 I believe and I just looked at Greg and said look dude I'm doing this and I'm taking a break from Mudvayne one way or another. I have been touring with them non-stop for 7 or 8 years and we never had a break, so I said I'm taking this summer off and I was talking to Tom (Hellyeah's guitar player) and I said we are getting together and he said 'fuck yeah man'. We look at it like we can go home and watch TV sitting on our asses or we can make music with other people and explore ourselves artistically and at first he said 'No', but I have a 15 minute conversation with him then I got on a plane and flew to Dallas and here we are. We wrote and recorded the record in under a month and it was mixed in under a week and a half.

BM: Sounds like something was in the air when it was flowing that smoothly. Did you view it as friends jamming and have fun or did you look at it from more of a professional view?

CG: And that was just it, we didn't want to look at it from that perspective and we don't want any pressure on the next record and just go in and do it. I think it's just more honest that way and just more spontaneous and more dangerous and it's just raw, you know what I mean? That's the way it has to be and that's how music should be written, we were writing as we were recording so there is no getting what we call 'demo-itis' where we just demo everything and then we go and retrack literally everything, but when you write as you record you're just done with the song. We did some overdubs and I would come and I would do the vocals and that was it, that would be the song! We had Vinnie Paul mix it; he is a fucking ridiculous producer. He's a really smart tech guy too and he's just a smart guy when it comes to shit. You see produced by Vinnie Paul on the Pantera records and you wonder how real that is, you know what I mean? You see executive producers on shit like that with everybody, I have been an executive producer on a record and I didn't do shit on it. When you see it on something it's whatever, but when you go in and see it, it's like ok, this isn't bullshit and he knows what he's doing. He's getting the tones, he's mincing things up and he's editing the record and mixing it.

BM: We are going to play a word association game. I feel bad for you guys answering the same questions 85 times a day so I want you to give me the first thought that comes to your mind

BM:Castle Donnington '07?

CG: Beer !

BM: J´┐Żgermeister?

CG: Beer!

BM: Guitar Hero?

CG: Beer !

BM: Black Sabbath?

CG: FUCKING METAL!!!

BM: What do you want to drink right now?

CG: Beer !

BM: What kind of Beer?

CG: Coors Light!

BM: I'm going to wrap this up but do you have any last words for you're fans and what can they expect from Hellyeah and Mudvayne in '08?

CG: Mudvayne is coming, and beer!

Interview and photos by: Brandon Marshall |