Seattle Sound Live Exclusive: HELLYEAH’s TOM MAXWELL TELLS ALL

by Shanna Torp | June 22, 2015 4:24 pm

Hellyeah-Tom-Maxwell[1]The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival[2] has such a killer line up of musical talent with Slayer, HELLYEAH[3],  King DiamondThe Devil Wears Prada (band), Thy Art Is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sister Sin, Sworn In (band), Shattered Sun[4], Feed Her To The Sharks, Code Orange (band) & Kissing Candice will also be participating in the Rockstar Tour. The festival is slated for 26 stops[5] to run from June 26th through August 2nd. HELLYEAH, will be touring behind the Blood for Blood album released in 2014.

Seattle Sound Live has the exclusive interview with Tom Maxwell about his injury and a new album coming soon.

SSL – Hi Tom, Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and Seattle Sound Live, How are you doing?

Tom – Hey and no worries. I am good.

SSL – We are waiting patiently for you guys to arrive at Washington’s White River Amphitheatre for the 2015 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival on June 30th.

Tom – Unfortunately, I will still be in my cast.

SSL – Yeah, I heard about your foot.

Tom – Yeah, just got my stiches out a few days ago and the specialist here was blown away how well the surgeon in Germany stitched my foot up. Flawless work!

SSL – That’s good to hear.

Tom – Yeah, it’s cool, (chuckles) well, not really but, its good news that I can return back to the band, I will just be laid up a bit. 

SSL – I heard you had to jump off the Download festival. Can you elaborate on what happened?

Tom –   Yeah, I can, I mean, it’s kind of …

SSL –   Is it a wild story?

Tom – It’s crazy, was more crazier I guess after the incident,  it was at the end of the night, in Munich, Germany  hanging out with Ivan from Five Finger Death Punch, Vinnie and a couple of other people, Christian was also there  hanging out in VIP after watching KISS and 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 and 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 5 screws on one side and 6 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.

SSL – Yeah, I would be worried about the language barrier if it was me.

Tom – Right! Yeah, 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 3 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.

SSL – Yeah, I hear you, was it hard to take that time off from the band?

Tom – 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 4-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?

SSL – Right ! I do   (Christian Brady Rhythm Guitarist  (Magna-Fi) has been with HELLYEAH since early February 2014 replacing Greg Tribbett).

Tom – He really had to step up and showcase, and he did it. I felt really comfortable because I knew he could do it, 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. 

SSL – It would a good time to do an acoustic set about now? (hint hint)

Tom – (Laughing) yeah, actually, I think I will play a lot more meticulous and tedious with my leg, its picture perfect, standing and playing is completely different ball game than sitting down and playing. 

SSL – Right! Absolutely.

Tom – I sit down when I am writing songs or recording in the studio, instead when I am playing live, obviously, and the adrenaline, it is such a different expression but, if anything I will be sitting there and I am switching sides if the stage for now until I am completely healed up and I will be stage right with Kyle (bassist) and let Christian take stage left.

SSL – Right, makes sense, will it change your set list in any way?

Tom – HELL NO!!

SSL – That’s good.

Tom – We will be out there cruising it, playing most of Blood for Blood for Mayhem and maybe one song from the older albums.

SSL – Speaking of Blood for Blood, you must know I am one of your biggest fans (in my smooth tone voice)

Tom – Oh yeah? The biggest ever? (Chuckles)

SSL – HELLYEAH! So, I am kicking myself in the ass, I missed the last show in Spokane, Washington at the Knitting Factory and …

Tom – Spokane is awesome! Our home away from home. Well, we are coming back to Washington for the Seattle show (Mayhem)

SSL –Yeah, I am going to try to make it over there, not so sure if I can get the time off.

Tom – Oh bummer, well you might want to rethink that one because, after the summer tour we are going to be taking some time off, after Mayhem we are going to Australia and New Zealand and we think we are going start working on a new album.  

 There it is there for all you HELLYEAH lovers and diehard fans, a new album is on the horizon, please check their schedule and get to one of their shows this summer before it’s too late …you are welcome!

SSL – I was going to ask you about that (new album) I just didn’t want to dig too deep. I know you guys tour hard and looking at your schedule…it’s like dam you guys are non-stop.

Tom – Yeah, we have to, even thou its music and we are touring, and for most people going to a concert is so far from their normal life, this is our normal life, this is our day to day job, and we have to tour just like people have to go to work

SSL – From 8 to 5

Tom – It’s the same thing, we are working for a paycheck too. I don’t mind it, if you love what you do, you don’t really work. The hardest work is just tolerating being around your best friends 10 months out of the year EVERY day (Chuckles)

SSL – So, being the BIGGEST fan EVER, (laughing) I got word about this interview, I was thinking ahh shit, I ended up with 10 pages of notes and 7 pages of questions and…

Tom – Which ones are the most important? Those are the ones you should cover.

SSL – It was really hard and impossible to pick just a few questions for you, and the possibilities are endless. So, I decided to get some fan based questions.

Tom – Cool, let’s roll with it..

SSL – Okay, first off this is from Christine Gail Sussums from   Saskatchewan Canada, she asked if you would ever consider doing anymore writing or music with Nothing Face?

Tom – Umm, like getting my old band back together and writing another album? No, I put the nail in that box and buried it a long time ago.

SSL – I hear you and that makes sense.

Tom – It was a different time in my life. You know? I am in a different place now and it’s a different thing, there never has been a reason to go there, nothing is calling me to get back together with Mat Holt to make music again, I am just not interested in it.

SSL – I understand!

Tom – I am not the same Tom Maxwell that I was in that band, I have grown and matured in different ways and my life has turned in a different direction, unless it was for nostalgic reasons but, you know what I don’t fucking care.

SSL – I get it! Okay, I have to ask, let’s talk about that acoustic set again, (squeezing it in there as much as possible)

Tom – Since, you are one of our biggest fans, I will give you something to take back, we actually recorded acoustic versions of 3 songs from Blood for Blood  and we are going to release it eventually as soon as Chad finishes up the vocals but, it turned out “f u c k i n g”  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, first time we ever done anything like this.

SSL – HELLYEAH, That makes me so HAPPY! (in my smooth voice)

Tom – Yeah, 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.

SSL – That brings up another good question, I noticed in some of your previous interviews, that you shifted your writing style, from your “Alcohaulin‘ Ass” party songs to the more umm, well Blood for Blood  has some heavy songs on it and then you get the more mellow songs, more meaningful songs like “Moth” and “Hush

Tom – I guess they are definitely mellow and not abrasive or aggressive like the other stuff but, the context is emotionally fucking heavy in those songs, lyrically and plus if you hear these songs when you take the vocals off and you really listen to just the fill in music, you will hear a lot of things that you don’t hear on the normal record or what you are used to hearing. But, with Chad’s vocals that are so fucking great, you know what I mean? And that’s the main focus. For me, I was never happy with the fact of being labeled some party metal band, it’s not what I wanted to do from the very beginning. You know? I always wanted to be, well, when me and Chad first came up with the idea to do this band, we just wanted to be extreme as fuck, and that’s what Blood for Blood is, it’s all over the place and up there and somehow some way that first record probably, Alcohaulin Ass, it was that one song. If you took that song off it’s a heavy record and that one song pigeon holed us and the next record was some drunken haze from the last album, it took a while to shed that skin and for me it came when we did this last record. So, I am happy. We are doing the type of music I always wanted to make with this band and I think a lot of the fans have been waiting for this album too.

SSL – Yes, and it has a message based feel to it and its blended well, I mean, for example when you hear a song on the radio and one sentence or a lyric pops out at you and people interpret music differently and identify with their individual self.

Tom – For sure, Hellyeah!

SSL – For example on “Mothfailure isn’t an option but the options exist or on “HushIf this reminds you of home, You better know you’re not alone. The hush is all I need to hush the misery; The hush that belongs to me, like the hush inside a dream.

SSL – That’s the beauty in music, people can perceive the lyrics however they want and I really think it’s cool that you included songs like “Moth” and “Hush”, its reaching fans on a whole another level. It is also cool how the video came out in perfect timing for the #no more campaign.

On April 13, 2015, HELLYEAH released the official video for ‘Hush’, song from ‘Blood for Blood’ album in support of #NOMORE to help end domestic and family violence. Click here for more info:[6]

Hush Video


Tom – Yeah, you are right, something as simple as a sentence can hit you harder than anything, I think Chad has finally, I’m not downsizing or criticizing anything he has done in the past because he has done some amazing fucking stuff but, where he is now as a songwriter, a singer, and a lyricist, I think he has matured into a place and grown into something that is 10 times than what he was before. I mean I have never seen this guy on fire like this, this is the guy I fell in love with back in 2000 that first song on stage with Mudvayne, with the charisma and this talent and power that was like infectious and even after that, he has a lot more to say so, hopefully we will have a new record sometime next year.

SSL – That’s so cool, well I have taken so much of your time, it’s sweet to know and rest assured that HELLYEAH will kick some serious fucking ass at Mayhem[7].
(as a side note to the fans, Tom’s injury will not and should not be a deterrent to catch one of their shows).

Tom – Oh yeah, it’s going to be heavy on the Blood for Blood side of the set list with a few older songs from the past. It’s going to be great, I can’t wait to get Mayhem started.

SSL – Cool, we can’t wait to see you out there. Take it easy on that leg and Thank you for talking to Seattle Sound Live.

Tom – Thank you, it was a pleasure talking to you.

New Album – BLOOD FOR BLOOD out NOW |
Get it on iTunes:[8]

Looking for even more HELLYEAH[3]? Check out their Official Facebook Page[9] Get a complete Hellyeah tour schedule HERE[10]

For Everything Mayhem[11] Check out:[12]


  1. [Image]:
  2. The Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival:
  4. Shattered Sun:
  5. 26 stops:
  7. Mayhem:
  9. Official Facebook Page:
  10. HERE:
  11. Mayhem:



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