So Hellyeah have an Aussie tour coming up. Nice. The Sonic Sensory got on the line with Hellyeah front man and vocalist Chad to discuss all things to do with the band and that upcoming list of shows.
Michael: Hey Chad, how you doing?
Chad: Great. How are you?
Michael: Great, it’s a pleasure to interview you. Mate, it’s been five years since you’ve been in the country, what have you been up to?
Chad: Ah, the shorter list is, what haven’t I been up to? We’re just going for it man, working hard, keep writing records, staying on the road, keep spreading the gospel. So yeah, that’s what’s up. I’m very “sleep when you’re dead”.
Michael: A very typical rockstar attitude, that’s great. So, how many times have you been in Australia now?
Chad: With Mudvayne and HellYeah, several, I don’t even know. We sort of look at it (Australia) as a home away from home. We love it down there, we’ve got a lot of family down there, as far as what we consider our fans, friends and we’re really excited about getting back.
Michael: What do you like the most about Australia?
Chad: It’s a beautiful country man, just beautiful. The people are so cool, sometimes being in America, and other countries, you’re not so welcome, but in Australia it’s always very welcoming. People down there are really gracious, it’s awesome to be there and share the energy that is music. People really celebrate when bands do make the trip, so we’re happy to make it because we always have a great response and a great turnout. We have a lot of fun down there. Landscape wise it’s beautiful as well, it’s awesome.
Michael: How long are you spending here when you come down this time around?
Chad: We’re playing 8 shows, not all in Australia, we’ll be in New Zealand for 4 and then we’ll be there for total 11 days.
Michael: Do you have much time for sight-seeing or is it simply all work?
Chad: It’s pretty much work, work, work. I do try to get out and check stuff out. I’ve been going there for a long time, I’ve been there several times. One time I was down there with Mudvayne, we had like 2 weeks off, the whole tour was like 3 weeks and we only played like 6 shows. We had 4 days off in Melbourne and 3 days off in Sydney. It was really relaxed, so we got to see a lot. I’ve been on a couple of tours like that where you really get to go check stuff out. It’s always been a lot of fun man. The scenery is amazing on many levels.
Michael: That’s good. If you were to pick one of your band members that annoyed you the most on tour, who would it be?
Chad: Haha, that’s funny, I would probably have to say Tom, he and I are a lot alike. So it’s kind of what it’s like to live with me, which is hard. He would probably say the same thing. Definitely Tom. It’s like arguing with myself, you’re never going to win.
Michael: Arguing with yourself and having someone argue back, that’s good. Who would you say your favorite band is to travel with?
Chad: Man, I don’t really have a favorite, We get along with anybody.
Michael: Is there a band that you haven’t had a good experience with on the road?
Chad: Not really, anybody that would be like that, you just keep to yourself. I don’t personally think anybody, we’ll tour with anyone. Everybody we’ve ever toured with we’ve had a blast so, I don’t think that there’s anybody I could say. We’re pretty easy going man, we just like to have fun and keep playing music. We just want to exchange our energy with our friends, family and fans. That’s pretty much it. We’re just kind of rolling around.
Michael: That’s definitely one of the greatest qualities of seeing you guys live, seeing how much fun you have and how into it you are. You were quoted saying “This isn’t a rock concert, we’re in this together, we’re a fucking family.” Would you like to talk about that?
Chad: Sure. I think there’s a more psychological element to metal than just (screams), heavy music and being pissed off, shit like that. It’s like we’re all in this together, I didn’t ask for my life, I didn’t ask to be born. A lot of lives are turbulent and it’s hard, it’s a struggle everyday. You hit a point in your life where you appreciate “A day older a day wiser” and you appreciate that day for making you a day wiser. Life’s always throwing curve balls. I think as a metal community of people, when we play a show and everybody is standing in front of me, I feel like nobodies more important than anybody in the crowd. We’re sharing something together, I’m giving something and I’m getting something back. It’s a back and forth, sharing of energy and the people in the crowd might not know each other, but the common denominator is that we’re all there for a reason. We need to be there. As a metal kid I needed music, I needed metal. So, as metal kids, they need metal. We’re there to help each other. So that’s what I mean, we’re all in this together and we do what we can to help each other get through the day. Whether it’s you listening to me on a CD, on your iPod or if you’re standing in front of me at a show. I write that way, I believe I’m very honest in what I write, cause I believe that if it’s important enough to write about for me, it’s probably important to somebody else, they probably feel the same way. I believe in the truth that is music & metal. I really do think that we help each other out. We help each other get through the hard times. Music was always there for me. No matter what I was going through in my life… Turbulence in the home, girlfriends, wives or whatever. When you’re at your lowest low, that is the one solid that’s always right there. It’s always got your back. I believe in that. I think that’s what fuels me. The same music that inspired me still inspires me. I say this to people all the time. I don’t care if you’re a heavy metal kid, I don’t care how old you are. It just doesn’t matter how old you are. You’re always into heavy metal. When you hear that song, or that chord that was struck that just makes you go “oh shit” and makes your heckles stand up, it takes you right back to that time. I just live that existence, always feeling youthful in that way. Every bit angsty and angry, pissed off as I ever was, but also hopeless and vulnerable. Heavy metal runs of human emotion. I think that’s why I gravitated to it as much as I do.
Michael: Awesome. There must be something special about having a whole crowd, 50,000 kids screaming the words that you’ve written. How do you feel at a moment like that?
Chad: I don’t think I’ve ever seen 50,000 screaming what I wrote, but I’ve seen a lot. It’s the truest sense of something you’ve created, music is art and when something I create touches somebody enough or has touched somebody enough to learn the words, to learn the guitars, to learn the drum beats, it’s very fulfilling to see that. Because of that I’m very appreciative of everybody that is in front of me. That’s why I believe that we’re all equal. I don’t put myself above anyone. I’m very humbled, it makes me feel good, and it also makes me feel very real. It validates what I do. That validation keeps me going I guess.
Michael: I’ve seen that you guys have basically been touring flat out recently, well, for a long time now, do you guys work on new material on the road or save it for the studio?
Chad: Everybody works it differently. We don’t get together and jam and work on actual albums on the road. I’m always paying attention to life, I have a whole heap of different notes that’s just line after line after line, different lyrics and different things, whatever thoughts come into my head. I’m a harvester of that sort of thing and I’ll go through it every once in a while & be like ‘what the hell was I thinking there?’ I keep it though, cause everything that’s in there is worth something you know. If I can go back through what I’ve written and remember the moment, then that’s a good one, cause it’ll take me back to that moment. The other guys will sort of mess around with riffs a bit, and Vinnie just kinda goes with it, that’s how I am too, though. I don’t wanna write, I mean I have lines and things like that, phrases and ideas that I had, just stuff that’s come into my mind. Not until I hear the composition, I wanna write kind of what the song wants to be written about. You know, you’re not gonna write a love song over a blast beat.
Michael So would you say the songs just about finished before its brought to you and you write lyrics over the top?
Chad: I’m there during the process, but we definitely don’t do it on the road. I’m in the room when stuffs going on, I’ll get melodies instantly, and that’ll give me an idea of what will come from that riff that I hear. That to me is like catching lightning in a bottle. I’ll hear them play a riff then Vinnie comes over the top with a drum beat and just like that I’ve got a melody to come with it. Obviously then I’ll sit alone and think about it, process it and then write it.
Michael: What country would you say has the best food in the world?
Chad: Aw, man. We got some pretty damn good food in America, there’s food everywhere, I’ve had amazing food there, very amazing food. Some of my favorite dinners I’ve had there, I tried abalone for the first time there, which was awesome. I went to this big beer garden in Germany, maybe the largest beer garden in Germany, it could hold 8 or 9 thousand people, ridiculously huge. It wasn’t Oktoberfest or anything so it wasn’t like crazy people there, so we went there for lunch and had amazing food there. England has amazing food. I’ve had amazing food everywhere.
Michael: Have you tried kangaroo in Australia yet?
Chad: I don’t believe I have. I don’t think I have, I may have eaten it somewhere.
Michael: This is the only country where you can eat the national emblem. Well, just to finish up now, if you could associate one word wiith Australia what would it be Chad: Awesome. I didn’t even have to think about it. I love it there, I love it. We can’t wait to be down there.
Michael: We’re looking forward to having you down here as well. Thanks very much for your time Chad.
Chad: You’re welcome, thank you.
So there we go friends that is the 20 minutes I spent with Chad Grey. I hope you enjoyed it!