HELLYEAH guitarist Tom Maxwell spoke to Seattle Sound Live about the injury that forced him to sit out the final dates of the band’s recent European tour.
“It was at the end of the night, in Munich, Germany hanging out with Ivan [Moody] from FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, Vinnie [Paul Abbott, HELLYEAH drummer] and a couple of other people. Christian [Brady, HELLYEAH guitarist] was also there hanging out in VIP after watching KISS. I left, walking towards the bus, and got picked up by one of those golf carts that you are always seeing running around that transport people backstage. I hopped on for a ride, and all I remember is a quick swerve. I don’t know if the driver was swerving to get out of the way or to avoid hitting something, but it was just enough for me to lose my balance and get thrown off. It wasn’t a violent throw, but enough that all my weight of my body concentrated on my right leg and I went into shock after that. I remember going to the hospital, being told I had to have surgery, with a variety of breaks and fractures one part of my ankle was in pieces. They had to put five screws on one side and six on the other and a plate to hold it together. I woke up the next day and the band descended to the next city because they had another show to do. So it was pretty terrifying being all alone in a foreign country.”
He continued: “Most of Germany and most of Europe speak English and multiple languages. It’s only in America that we are never interested in learning foreign languages, it’s like a lost art when people come here. I was lucky enough to have English-speaking nurses and even the ones that didn’t, you kind of know with human interaction and with hand signs and stuff like that. The doctors speak really good English. But it was just freaky, man, spending three days in the air. And, actually, that’s when I had a moment to breathe a sigh of relief — once I was on the plane and actually taking off, heading towards Baltimore.
Asked if it was hard to take that time off from HELLYEAH, Maxwell said: “Yeah, there was a lot of guilt, a lot of what-if s going on in my mind. The band was all of a sudden forced to play as a four-piece. I have to hand it to Christian, and that’s kind of a reassurance of how badass he is and that we made a right decision to get this guy, because he is so awesome and how he managed within a blink of an eye to convert a two-guitar band into one, you know what I mean?! He really had to step up and showcase, and he did it. I felt really comfortable because I knew he could do it. [I felt] just a sense of relief. Of course I wanted to be back but, I was kind of forced to take time off, I just couldn’t do it without doing more damage to my leg. Even right now, I still have at least 10 days left to rest easy before I get back on stage.”
Maxwell also revealed that HELLYEAH recently recorded acoustic versions of three songs from the band’s latest album, “Blood For Blood”. He explained: “We are going to release it eventually — as soon as Chad [Gray] finishes up the vocals — but it turned out fucking insane. We did ‘Blood For Blood’, we did ‘Moth’, the proper acoustic version of it, and then we took a different approach to ‘Say When’. We broke it down into some kind of psychotic nightmare version of the song and kind of tribal. Once it’s finished, and once Chad does the vocals, we will just have to figure out how to package it — maybe with the next record or something; maybe release it in between albums. I don’t know how we are going to do it, but I dug it and it came out fucking cool. [It was the] first time we’ve ever done anything like this.”
He added: “It just proves no matter how heavy you are, if you can apply your music in the right way, you can twist the songs to fit what you want them to do. It can work.”
“Blood For Blood”, was the band’s first release since parting ways with guitarist Greg Tribbett and bassist Bob “Zilla” Kahaha in 2013.
The new members of HELLYEAH are bassist Kyle Sanders and Christian Brady.
“Blood For Blood” sold around 17,000 copies in its first week of release to land at No. 18 on the Billboard chart.