Chad Gray Talks ‘Hush’ Single, ‘No More’ Campaign, the State of Hellyeah + More
In March, Hellyeah released the song “Hush” as a single to coincide with “No More Week,” a campaign designed to bring awareness to domestic violence and sexual assault. Loudwire Nights host Full Metal Jackie recently caught up with vocalist Chad Gray. In the interview, the singer talks about “Hush,” teaming up with the domestic violence charity "No More," the state of Hellyeah + more. Check out the interview below:
In the new song “Hush,” Hellyeah tackles the very serious issue of domestic violence. How has being so open about something so personal changed the way that fans relate you and the band?
I have no idea how they are going to relate to me. That is part of what I've always been telling them. I believe in wearing my heart on my sleeve. I didn't have all of the lists in the works when I wrote it. I got the riff it just rolled from there, the coupling with “No More [Week]” really helped to raise a lot of awareness. It is awesome to be a part of it. I didn't know anything about it. I am a big football fan. I just learned about “No More” through the season with the whole Ray Rice incident and stuff like that. “No More” started running those ads and our publicist sent it over to “No More” and I think it touched something in her. They got the song and they got the lyrics. I think they realized how real that song really is. It comes from a very real place. Sometimes you write from there and I wrestle with myself all the time in the studio. ‘Do you really want you put this out there, man?’ I usually end up doing it.
It starts with me, you know what I mean. It starts with me using music as a tool to kind of exercise some demons from my past. I have always written that way. That was really my only real agenda when it started. I am really happy with where it has gone because I am a big advocate for putting an end to that. With the domestic side of it, not a part of my own situations or whatever, it is whatever is going on, on that other side of the wall to the person you love. It is really heavy the way that it affects you and you might not be the one where the blows are being landed. You can hear it; you can feel it that there is that tension in the air. It’s a very uncomfortable place but it beats being over there. It is a heavy topic, but I think it was a story that I needed to tell. Again, I never had any agenda for it to go this far but I am happy to see that it has.
“Hush” was released as a single in conjunction with “No More Week,” what lead to that partnership coming together?
I don't know the ins and outs of exactly how it happened. I think our publicist felt the power in that song and ran it by the people at “No More” and they felt the power and honesty of that song and realized that, it is all kind of really helpless. There is a level of understanding that as humans we adapt to our environment and that was held to the house where I was raised there was that moment of understanding where it is 'this is what it is' and you've just got to try to get through it. I think that might have been the vibe that they picked up on. It is a bit helpless, but there is an empowering level to it. Like I said it is a great thing. We've gotten so much feedback, direct messages on Facebook and stuff… just long-winded stories that are just unbelievable. It is really amazing how this song has touched people. It completely validates me from a lyrical standpoint. The band did such a great job and just basically handed me this composition and I felt like this story needed to be told. They used this to help me get past that. “No More” has been absolutely amazing.
Like I said in my statement, I'm not sitting around twisting my goatee trying to figure out a way for us to be involved in “No More” to exploit it or anything like that. It is something I believe very strongly in. I think the people need to think twice before they react and maybe this song will get some people to raise their voice. I think the people are very protective of family, they don't want to disrupt the family and by speaking out about it. That intervention can't happen if no one knows. You have to tell someone about that particular situation that you may find yourself in. You have to tell people and talk it up to get people to rally around it. Nobody wants to come in and destroy the family but maybe if you can get that person who is the abuser to sit down and maybe take a step back to think about a better way to handle their anger. I think that is what they are trying to do is just to raise the awareness that there is a choice and that doesn't have to be the answer.
Hellyeah is sharing the main stage on Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with Slayer and King Diamond. In terms of keeping metal a strong community what makes those two bands, along with Hellyeah and The Devil Wears Prada at the top of the bill on such a prominent tour, so important?
This is unbelievable to me. Slayer is my favorite band, they were one of those bands that got me through those dark times that I think about. It is so powerful and to be able to stand up there. I tell people all the time that this is the heavy metal community of this area. Even though there is a level of mosh pitting violence, I fully believe that heavy metal music is a metalhead's therapy. It is the psychological, psychiatrist therapy session. People throw money at that and buy concert tickets. I think it is a way for us to work through all of the baggage that life piles up on us. It's like, ‘Man, I need a show,’ and what show are you going to see to unload some of that baggage, it may as well be Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah and Devil Wears Prada. I think it keeps us tighter. Music in heavy metal is so important, it is just so important to youth. There are metal kids all this time when I was younger I never quite fit in. I am always trying to get my footing and then I heard Motley Crue's “Too Fast for Love” and I went, ‘Oh, ok. I get it.’
This is why I don't fit in because I don't belong with these people. I just went over there and from there I was into Metallica and Slayer, and the Big Four and on and on and on. I love the passion of metal kids. First generation, second generation, third generation, fourth generation, it doesn't matter where you came from or how old you are, you are always a metal kid. I remember the first time that I heard [Motley Crue's] “Live Wire.” It takes me right back to that moment. Heavy metal music got me through so much. I think that this tour is going to be very, very awesome. I think it is going to be awesome to share the stage with Slayer and King Diamond. They are two of my favorite bands growing up. I saw King Diamond about a year ago in Belgium. He sounds amazing, I was listening to the record and it was phenomenal… to be on this tour is going to be fantastic. I am really, really excited.
Hellyeah was on shaky ground before and during the making of Blood for Blood. What is the overall state of Hellyeah now? How will that affect what the band does while touring this album is done?
It is awesome right now. I feel like we were just handed the beast bass player in Kyle [Sanders]. I have known Kyle for 10 years. We've got a lot of history, I have known him a long time. It is just like getting a brother in the band for me. Then here comes Christian Brady, he is a fantastic musician, totally a pro-player but not a touring player. It just took everything that we did in the studio, and it was shaky in the beginning. I wasn't even sure if I was going to go through with it. I kind of had to talk to myself into the truck to drive back up there to do the record. Tom called me and said I need you and it went a long way with me and really resonated inside of me and made me relight that fire like a brotherhood.
We started this, we talked about this in 2000 when we were touring on Tattoo the Earth with this band and it has come as far as it has come now. You got to get through those are times and Greg [Tribbett] was ready to go. It was just that simple and I wish him all the best. We are in a really, really good place right now. We are not worried about where the next record is going to be and where we are going with that. I think we definitely dug our footing and poured the foundation for what Hellyeah is to come and I will just deal with that when I get there. Right now I am just going to live inside this vertical moment and just enjoy getting on stage with these buys, it is a lot of fun. We have a blast up there. Everybody is extremely passionate about what we are doing. It is about as f---ing real as you can get. Sorry about that. It's real, man. We are bleeding it. It has been awesome.
Hellyeah is a part of the Mayhem Festival this summer. When Hellyeah started some people saw it as secondary to Mudvayne, but not so much anymore. How is the importance of Hellyeah evolved and changed for you?
I think that when we started Hellyeah, I was doing Mudvayne simultaneously. I was doing them both and going back and forth from one to the other. I was recording a Mudvayne record and finishing a Hellyeah record then I went and toured. It was nuts, like that whole sleep when you are dead theory. I was just constantly working. I felt like I had to wear two skins, not just two hats, but two completely different skins. I just took myself out of the Mudvayne scan and just was upon the Hellyeah scan. You want to do everything you can to segregate it and keep them separate because you don't want them crossing over to hurt each other. I think that we started making that turn away from more of a hard rock band in the beginning for the first couple records and I think I decided that I was in a band with one of my favorite heavy metal drummers of all time and one of my favorite heavy metal guitar players of all time. I want to write a heavy record, I wanted to get back into metal. So, we did Band of Brothers and started to turn it around to get it back to where we are now. I think that Blood for Blood is a very clear example of us being fully me not sharing that skin anymore. Not having to unzip myself and step out of one and into the other one. I am just being me.
That is the only way I ever knew how to write was the way that I wrote in Mudvayne. Like I said being a rock band didn't really equate. I need to make sense to write that way. I did it to see if I could do it but now I am back to being just Chad and Vinnie is back to being Vinnie. Nobody has bailed behind something else, it is just 'hi' here we are. I think that Blood for Blood is the example of what we all can really be together, full face, here way are: this is Chad, this is Vinny, this is Tom, this is Christian, this is Kyle. It has been a lot of fun. It has been awesome to watch the crowd s and to see the turn. I don't really pay attention to the social media stuff that much. I started to see that ebb. That tide is turning back. I think people that closed their eyes on Hellyeah in the past have opened their eyes and giving us another shot. People are seeing that sincerity and honesty in what we are doing. I think that they are giving us the chance and I am very thankful for that. We are here to help and do what metal does for so many people, like it did for us.
Many thanks to Chad Gray for the interview. To learn more about “No More” click here. Tune in to Loudwire Nights With Full Metal Jackie and Tony LaBrie Monday through Friday at 7PM through midnight online or on the radio. To see which stations and websites air ‘Loudwire Nights,’ click here.
Watch the Video for Hellyeah's 'Hush'
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