The following is an excerpt from the Hellyeah feature in the August/September issue of Revolver. Here, frontman Chad Gray discusses reunion rumors and the inclusion of a cover on the group’s latest, ’Unden!able,’ of Phil Collins’ 1983 Grammy-nominated single “I Don’t Care Anymore,” featuring a guitar track recorded by Paul’s brother, former Pantera/Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell, shortly before Dimebag’s death.
REVOLVER Why ‘Unden!able’?
CHAD GRAY As an artist—or whatever you do—you wanna be respected for your work. But even after all the records we’ve done, there’s still the stigma of Pantera and Mudvayne and everyone wanting the reunions and all this shit, so it was like, “Is what we’re doing not good enough?” I think it was this unspoken headspace that we had going into this new record, and when I was writing the song “Be Unden!able,” I came up with the line, “If you’re tired of being denied, be undeniable and dot your I’s on the bottom.” And dotting your I’s on the bottom is an exclamation point. So I think the name ‘Unden!able’ kind of validates what Hellyeah does.
Is it also meant to discourage all the calls for reunions?
Tragically, even if Vinnie [Paul, drummer] wanted to, Pantera can never do a reunion. You can’t do a reunion without a member of a band. I think that people forget the emotional aspect of this: Vinnie watched his brother get tragically murdered in front of him, and what’s on their mind? They wanna see a Pantera reunion. I’m not trying to call people out as assholes, but people are kind of assholes. They forget that he had to live this.
What about Mudvayne?
With Mudvayne, it is what it is. I’m tired of stringing people along. I still talk to the guys; we’re cool. But for many reasons, Mudvayne doesn’t exist anymore. Someone posted that “Mudvayne 201?” thing online [hinting at a possible Mudvayne reunion] and they shouldn’t have done that because it’s fucking with Mudvayne fans emotionally, which isn’t fair. I don’t want to wind people up, but who am I to say that can never happen again? But I’m certainly not gonna say that it can.
‘Unden!able’ includes a cover of Phil Collins’ “I Don’t Care Anymore” with a guitar track that Dimebag originally recorded for a potential Damageplan cover not long before he was killed in 2004. How did that come together?
Dude, this is crazy. We were in the studio when Christian Brady [guitarist] suggested we do that cover and Vinnie goes, “Me and my brother did a recording of that 14 years ago!” And we were like, “What?” It took a while to dig up the track and convert it to a usable format because it was recorded on a system that was made by a company that went out of business. The day we recorded vocals I was sick, but once we got through the first few lines, Kevin [Churko, producer] said, “Dude, this is gonna be insane. You’re gonna be singing this song for the rest of your life.”
How did it feel singing over a long lost Dimebag track?
For me and Vinnie, to play on this track with his brother 10 years after Dimebag’s death…I can’t even describe to you the magnitude of the magic and beauty and overwhelmingness of it. Dimebag was somebody that I looked up to as a god of music—not only the way that he played and approached music but the way that he approached life and the way he treated people and was humble and had humility. Dimebag for me was a hero, and I’m not even a guitar player.